Restaurants, other businesses develop creative ways to stay afloat amid pandemic
As businesses continue their efforts to stay afloat during this pandemic, many of them are getting creative to make changes or additions to their operations to bring in more revenue.
In Patchogue, Long Island, The Better Man Distilling Company is now running a virtual farmers market.
"We have everything from fresh produce to eggs, milk, homemade nut butters, jams, coffee, baked goods, everything," head of operations Abby Gruppuso said. "It's a fully well-rounded shopping experience; it's really cool."
The market features products from small businesses in Patchogue, and other locations throughout Long Island.
Customers can place their online orders Friday through Monday to be picked up or delivered the following Thursday.
Gruppuso said, "I just want to be a central point for all these local vendors to sell their products, as opposed to people having to go seek them out individually."
Participating vendors say they’re getting extra sales, and a big increase in exposure by being involved in the market.
"It's really important to remember to keep supporting local even after things are opening up again, because small businesses take longer to recover than large businesses," Gruppuso said.
In the Prospect Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn, the owners of Olmsted and Maison Yaki have turned their fine dining establishments into a grocery store called the Olmsted Trading Post.
Chef and co-owner Greg Baxtrom said, "Honestly it's been a lot of fun seeing that people want to buy snails, and want to buy dog treats that I make."
The store features more than 120 items, and more are being added daily.
Available items include some of Olmsted’s classic sauces and condiments, a wide variety of meats, eggs, produce, fresh baked breads & pastries, and more.
"The response has been overwhelming, and the workload has been overwhelming," Baxtrom said.
The owners say this model made much more sense than doing takeout and delivery meals.
Co-owner Max Katzenberg said, "[The grocery store] is more affordable to operate, and it's exceeding our expectations a little bit. It's been so supported, and it changes and gets better every day."
Plant-based Mexican restaurant JaJaJa is officially ready for summer.
At their West Village location, they’ve launched a pop-up outdoor tiki bar serving food and cocktails just in time for Memorial Day.
Co-owner Nima Garos said, "We're really looking forward to that, we did it really last second. It came together really cool, actually."
The tiki bar is just one of several new and creative initiatives launched by JaJaJa during the pandemic, such as cocktails to go and DIY cooking kits.
Garos said, "Financially, it's good to stay afloat. I think it's also good to stay relevant, stay in the conversation, stay fun."
They say they’ve been lucky to have customer support every step of the way.
Co-owner Koorosh Bakhtiar said, "We've seen a lot of love coming from our our regulars and guests that we've seen for years."
All of these businesses say now more than ever, being flexible to pivot to different ways of doing business is essential.