“We were at a point where we had to ramp up our takeout business ... all of that has, in hindsight, helped us with what’s going on now,” he said.
Business slowed to a grinding halt earlier this week when spread of the coronavirus led government officials to put in place restrictions meant to discourage people from socializing. The restaurant industry, which relies heavily on social gatherings, has been particularly hard-hit.
So far at Industrial, no one has been let go, Newsom said. However, he has chosen to temporarily suspend lunch and catering service since many workplaces have closed.
“That’s where we’ve certainly seen a dip,” he said.
Industrial is a counter-service operation, so most of its front-of-house employees have easily transitioned to the takeout-only format, Newsom said.
Other restaurants have not been so lucky. Across town at Shady's Burgers & Brewhaha, staff has been slashed to a skeleton crew of only three or four workers, co-owner Greg Cooney said.
“I’m sure morale for those folks is doom and gloom since no one knows what the end looks like,” he said.
Cooney said he and his partners are doing their best to ramp up curbside service so they can bring back furloughed workers. As of March 18, both Shady’s and sister restaurant The Fifth: Fireside Patio and Bar are also offering free, local delivery within a two-mile radius. The Fifth also offers family meals.
On the first day of the ban on dine-in service, revenue at Shady’s and The Fifth was down by about 65%, Cooney said. The ability to include alcohol on to-go or delivery orders should help those margins, he said.
Cooney and his partners have also spoken with other local business owners, including Newsom, about how they can support each other through this time. Strategies include sharing inventory and cross-promoting each other's services, Newsom said.
“There are many things we can do to help each other,” he said. “This is not a time to compete with one another.”
The support of other businesses goes a long way, but restaurants need customers to survive, Cooney said. Each year, Shady’s donates thousands of dollars to local schools, Cooney said, and now Shady’s is asking the community to pay it forward.
“We really need them right now; we need support,” he said. “We are pricing our food so that our kitchen staff and the folks that are serving it can stay employed."
Here’s a breakdown of what Shady’s, The Fifth and Industrial Pizza + Brew offer:
Shady's Burgers & Brewhaha is offering curbside pickup and free, local delivery service within a two-mile radius. Bottles of wine and beer can also be delivered.
The Fifth: Fireside Patio and Bar is offering curbside and free, local delivery within a 2-mile radius. Bottles of wine can also be delivered. The business is also offering family-style meals.
Industrial Pizza + Brew is offering 50% off canned beer and 25% off bottles of wine. The restaurant has changed its hours and is open for dinner service only. Guests can opt for curbside pickup if they prefer not to enter the restaurant.
For updates on other businesses in Richardson, visit this link.