When requested about how the pandemic has impacted her enterprise, Julie Slicing, proprietor and government chef of Cure Restaurant in Portsmouth, struggled to search out the phrases.
“Let me put myself again into that second of March 13, (2020),” she stated, pausing.
Slicing opened Treatment in January 2014, offering upscale consolation meals to the Seacoast area. Earlier than the pandemic, she had about 20 on her employees. When her daughter was born two years in the past, Slicing moved out of the kitchen and spent extra time managing and internet hosting the restaurant than getting ready meals. She was in a superb routine, till the pandemic turned it the other way up.
“The restaurant was at a degree the place it might run itself,” Slicing stated. “Then you definitely’re again to attempting to throw issues in opposition to the wall to see what is going to stick to maintain you within the inexperienced.”
At first, the restaurant switched to takeout solely, however Slicing quickly realized the enterprise can be higher off if she closed in the course of the stay-at-home order. Slicing needed to lay off most of her employees, however she, her husband and the top chef stayed to finish tasks like portray the restaurant and reconfiguring the eating room.
“We at all times saved it going and didn’t go right into a hibernation state,” Slicing stated.
When the stay-at-home order lifted, Treatment was prepared. Town of Portsmouth agreed to permit sidewalk eating. As well as, Treatment already had a patio space related to the restaurant with French doorways. Using these two sections, Slicing had extra seats accessible than earlier than the pandemic. With extra individuals staying house this summer season, the restaurant full of locals. Though gross sales had been down about 7% in contrast with the summer season earlier than, Slicing was pleased with how Treatment was faring.
“The summer season was excellent for us,” Slicing stated. “Come into fall, it was a special story.”
Throughout some weeks in November, gross sales had been down as a lot as 69% in comparison with 2019. Slicing had introduced again about three-quarters of her employees however, with gross sales plummeting, she was going through the prospect of laying one-quarter of them off once more.
Slicing had tried to open seven days every week, however the demand simply wasn’t there. She determined to shut the doorways on Mondays and Tuesdays. She invested in a high-quality tent that enables her to make use of the patio house even now, within the coldest portion of the New Hampshire winter. Though it took sources, she’s assured that the tent pays for itself by making patio seating a continuing.
“That tent goes to be worthwhile for me for years to return,” she stated.
Slicing’s greatest shift was emphasizing and selling takeout. Earlier than the pandemic she had by no means thought of takeout, however she realized that her menu gadgets had been well-suited to go. She examined alternative ways of packaging and presenting meals in order that company had the identical high-quality eating expertise at house that they might have within the restaurant.
“I be sure that it has the identical worth at house as it might for those who had been on the desk,” Slicing stated.
Her clientele responded: Some weekdays, takeout makes up about 45% of gross sales on the restaurant.
“With the outside house and the takeout, we’re barely within the inexperienced proper now,” Slicing stated.
The previous yr has been difficult for Slicing, however she stated that it’s allowed her to run her enterprise higher and extra effectively. Though sanitization has at all times been a precedence within the restaurant, it’s now at an entire new degree, Slicing stated. Now, along with fascinated about ordering substances and liquor, Slicing is maintaining with the most recent well being tips and understanding what her prospects need from the restaurant.
“I actually have to make use of a special a part of my mind than in the course of the day-to-day,” she stated. “I needed to get artistic and widen [the] enterprise mannequin.”
Almost a yr into these changes, Slicing is pleased together with her response.
“I’m actually pleased with the efforts we’ve put in, and that the neighborhood can nonetheless rely on us to be right here to have fun a birthday or anniversary,” she stated. “We’re altering our marketing strategy to adapt to the pandemic, however nonetheless be there for loyal prospects.”
This story is a part of the 50 Companies, 50 Options collection, shared by companions in The Granite State Information Collaborative, that goals to focus on how enterprise leaders throughout the state, from mother and pop outlets, to giant firms have tailored to satisfy the challenges and disruptions attributable to the novel coronavirus within the hopes others might be able to replicate these concepts and improvements. Inform us your story here. For extra info go to collaborativenh.org.