A look at ways pizza restaurants are responding to COVID-19
Restaurants are already feeling the impact of COVID-19 and from the latest news from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. The pizzeria industry has a history of shining through struggles and being the strength in our neighborhoods and communities.
Pizzeria people give of themselves
There is one thing we do know: pizzeria professionals are resilient and step up in the most incredible ways during events and crises that affect their local communities. Let’s applaud these examples of pizzerias being leaders in their communities:
• Nikolis Pizza wants to spread #pizzaonearth, delivering to doctors, hospitals, fire and police departments. The pizzeria is encouraging others to join in its goodwill initiative.
• Your Pizza Shop in Akron, Ohio has pulled together the entire community to help feed kids in its community.
• Joe Fugere, owner of Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria, is forgoing his paycheck to give his employees paid sick leave during the Coronavirus pandemic
• John Gutekanst has rallied his crew to prepare and give out free lunch bags for kids in need who are not receiving lunch due to school closures.
As community events, schools, universities and workplaces close, the ripples have restaurant scrambling to adapt to their new circumstances or shut down themselves.
Brilliant idea, Cascarino’s in Montgomery, NY. Putting together Pizza-Making Kits for families.
Cascarino’s is full of good ideas. The pizzeria has packaged family meals and trays. May to make use of your catering set up.
Communities are looking to support local business. Tell them how to do it, Like Mike Bausch did at Andolini’s Pizzeria in Tulsa, OK.
Ask your customers what they want and expect. Melissa Rickman at Wholly Stromboli has done a dynamite job of communicating with her customers and asking what their needs are.
Entertain your customers, most of which are at home scrolling through social media. Host a live cooking class or continue your live music sessions online like Mac’s Pizza Pub in Cincinnati, OH, is doing.
Take advantage of states and municipalities loosening liquor laws to allow carryout and delivery with food. Create packages
Solorzano Bros. in Sarasota, Florida, provided its efforts in a clear and effective way.
• Lombardi Pizza Co., in Martinsville, New Jersey, has enlisted its food truck to serve patrons in front of the restaurant.
• Cosmo’s Pizza has pushed a social campaign instructing customers how to use the ordering comment section to receive their pizza with no contact.
•Sarabella Pizza in Colonie, New York, has developed a contact-free delivery program.
• Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria is also waving its delivery fee until further notice.
• Giuseppe’s in Willowick, Ohio has closed its dining room to focus solely on its pick-up/carryout operation.
Pizzerias focus on safety
Safety is paramount as we look to how pizzerias will weather this turbulent time. We’ve seen hundreds of examples of the steps they are taking to keep their teams and customers safe. Here are areas and resource moving forward:
- Communicate a clear message to your customers about the precautions you are taking to address COVID-19.
- Here’s a good start: What is your commitment to your customers during the COVID-19 outbreak? What precautions are you taking to keep your staff and guests safe? If you’re changing anything in your operation, how are you modifying services? How are you monitoring the situation?
- If you offer delivery and/or carryout, take a moment to evaluate their efficiency. You may need to allocate more staff to these areas.
- Do you have a plan for COVID-19? OSHEA has created a 32-page Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19. https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf
- Are you looking for more restaurant-specific information, National Restaurant Association has created the resource center. https://restaurant.org/Covid19
- Monitor state and local health departments for updates on COVID-19 advisories and information.
- Follow stringent guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces if you’ve had suspected or confirmed Coronavirus. CDC offers an entire list of Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html
Relief Efforts Slowly Beginning to Emerge
This is a very fluid situation. We are monitoring federal and state business relief efforts. As we access them, we will update this list:
U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus
Ohio Department of Job and Family Service has created this Q&A on Coronavirus and Unemployment Insurance Benefits to help address workers.
Seattle to offer grants of up to $10K to small businesses impacted by novel coronavirus outbreak