Restaurants in the Houston area found a new way to to conduct business during the mandatory closure of dine-in service. With orders for nonessential businesses to close during the coronavirus pandemic, selling supplies to customers proves a valuable alternative to table service.
Since the first warnings gripped the national conscious, supermarkets experienced a surge in business. The public flocked to stock up on supplies. With orders to stay home, people feared running out of home essentials. Items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer flew off shelves. However, so too did many cooking supplies.
Shoppers across the country discovered emptied shelves and dwindling stock at their local grocery store.
Meanwhile, restaurants featured empty tables and booths. Business plummeted despite the meager allowance to continue providing take out and delivery service. While necessary, the orders that took effect last week across Texas left many restaurant and bar owners wondering how to weather the financial component of the outbreak.
Then, many started opening their stores not to diners, but to shoppers.
Restaurants Become Impromptu Grocery Stores
By offering their own supplies, ordinarily used to create meals for customers, directly to shoppers, many Houston restaurants manage to generate some income in an attempt to stay afloat.
One Houston restaurant owner, Daniel Caballero of Good Dog Houston, converted his space into Blakeslee’s Bodega. While his original business sold certain items to take home, Blakeslee’s Bodega expands upon their available items to include produce, pasta, and beans, among others.
In speaking with CultureMap, he said, “We are merely trying to survive the crisis at hand. Anything we can sell to help keep jobs alive for our family/staff, we want to do.”
While these temporary grocery stores run out of restaurants don’t feature the same diversity as actual grocery stores, they have other benefits. Shoppers gain access to cooking ingredients otherwise difficult to find. Restaurant quality food items aren’t usually occupying the shelves of common grocery stores.
The shift in business isn’t enough to make up for losses. However, the adaptation is helping out many Houston restaurants navigating quarantine.