CASA GRANDE — With efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus entering another week, area restaurants are adjusting their businesses to stay afloat and continue serving customers.
At Eva’s Fine Mexican Food, the north side of the parking lot is now equipped to serve customers’ take-out orders curbside.
While the indoor dining room at L’Grande Cafe is closed, the outdoor patio is open and take-out business has been brisk.
Comfort food mobile eatery Sauce Boss is now accepting Zelle payments rather than credit cards and serving customers drive-thru style.
And at BeDillon’s Restaurant, where the dining room is generally packed with diners on an average weekend, the restaurant reportedly served 67 take-out meals for its customers on Friday night.
Some area restaurant owners said that staying open and being there for their customers is a service they must continue to provide.
“Food is a comfort to people,” said Andrea Dearing of Sauce Boss. “At Sauce Boss, we have a passion for making the foods that make people feel good and right now, I think our customers need us. The community has always been there for us and we want to be there for them.”
The food truck has reduced its service to lunch and dinner two or three times a week. To eliminate the need for customers to touch a point-of-service payment device, customers are asked to pre-order and prepay. Those paying in cash drop their payment into a jar.
“Things are changing rapidly, and we’re adjusting as best as we can,” Dearing said. “When we opened for a day last week, we sold out in two hours, but I’ve had several customers thank us for staying open.”
At Eva’s restaurant in downtown Casa Grande, the dining room is closed and 90% of the staff has been laid off.
But customers can still pre-order their favorite foods from the menu and have their order packed to go.
“The full menu is still available seven days a week except breakfast,” owner Fernando Cornejo said.
But with the dining room and bar closed, he said revenue is down dramatically at the restaurant, which has served the area community a repertoire of its family recipes for decades.
Cornejo said he hopes business is back to normal soon.
“I wish there was a way to hold on to our employees during this time, but with no dining room service, there’s no way,” he said. “Our employees are an important part of our community. I hope people think about the small businesses during this time and do all they can to support them. Everybody is really scared right now, and there’s nothing to indicate how long this will last.”
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At L’Grande Cafe, owner Tom McGill said that maintaining a sense of normal has been important to his customers.
“We are open normal hours, and we’re trying to keep everything as normal as possible for our customers,” McGill said. “All orders are packed for takeout and people can eat outside on the patio.”
He said he’s ordered extra eggs and items needed to continue providing customers with the regular menu items they expect when they visit the cafe, including crepes.
The interior of the restaurant has been thoroughly disinfected and hand sanitizer has been placed near the checkout station.
“We will be open as we’re allowed to stay open,” McGill said. “I think our customers appreciate that, and it’s been nice weather for eating outside on the patio.”
Some area restaurants have decided to temporarily close their doors.
On Friday, Boston’s Restaurant and Sports Bar closed its Casa Grande doors, saying it hopes to re-open as soon as possible.
“This will also include our take-out and delivery options,” the restaurant posted on Facebook.
And while small business advocates are encouraging diners to support restaurants by using take-out, curbside and delivery options, Dearing said she’s using this time to help the community.
“I’ve been trying to help people out by picking up extra things like rice and beans for people who are having trouble getting to the store,” she said. “I also hope to eventually start getting out into the community to provide meals for kids in need. This is a scary time and people are feeling a lot of insecurity, but every tragedy is also an opportunity.”