BUFFALO, N.Y. — Restaurant owners are adapting to what seems like a constantly changing situation, as the state acts to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced restaurants and bars would be takeout and delivery only for the time being.
"We spent all day yesterday trying to figure out what we were gonna do," said Patrick Ryan, the owner of Fat Bob's Smokehouse.
The owner of The Quarter, Brandon Carr, told to on Your Side, "My very first thought is how do I get my employees paid."
The situation is forcing many restaurant owners to make painful decisions they never would have anticipated. However, several businesses are already showing resilience.
Fat Bob's is operating with a smaller staff and minimal hand-to-hand contact, now serving customers through curbside pickup.
"So far it's been great and at the end of the day, it's not about the profitability per se. It's helping us try to find normalcy in this chaos and that's what we're trying to establish as best we can," Ryan said.
Ryan is encouraging customers to order food online. When their order is ready, they'll get a text message letting them know. They can then pull up outside the restaurant and an employee will come out to deliver the meal.
"We're fortunate. We've been here for 20 years. We've built a lot of brand loyalty," Ryan said. "That's what you're seeing here and people genuinely want to support us. We're gonna be stronger people when this is all over."
The Quarter — Buffalo's New Orleans Kitchen, down the street from Fat Bob's, is still in business as well.
Carr, the owner, told 2 on Your Side he's making all the deliveries himself. He said there's no delivery charge and every tip that comes in, he's giving it right back to the staff.
Carr explained, "I want to set the example. I want to work hard for my staff as they work hard for me every single day. So I will do everything I can for them."
He added that "day one" went well.
"This is the City of Buffalo. It's who we are and it's what we do," Carr said. "We always take care of each other. I can't say enough how thankful I am for the great people of Buffalo for supporting everything we're doing."
There are lots of creative ideas out there.
Take Lloyd Taco Factory for example. At both factory locations, there are green markers on the ground for customers to stand on. The markers read, "Please stand six feet apart while waiting for your food."
Moving forward, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told reporters the city will work with businesses to help establish on-street drive-thrus or parking zones for pickups and deliveries.
Business owners can contact the city's parking department if they're interested.
"We have heard from many restaurants throughout the City of Buffalo and we are here to try to help in any way that we can," Brown said.
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