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Restaurateurs Reinventing Business Models During COVID-19 Outbreak

Published on Monday, April 6, 2020 | 2:00 am

In an effort to keep things rolling, a number of Pasadena business owners have changed the way they do business as the Safer at Home order continues to keep their doors closed.

Local restaurants have now started selling basic items sold in grocery stores, including high-end local eateries owned by the Smith Brothers.

“We have rolled out our takeout menu and our grocery items,” said Greg Smith. “Online you can see our full take out menu and, and our grocery menu, they’re all online.”

The Smith Brothers Gourmet Groceries and Wine Shops includes wine, dressing and meats.

“We have our own delivery service now also so we can deliver and leave it on the porch or they can pick up at the restaurant and we will bring it out to their car and slip it through the window.”

Restaurants were deemed essential businesses in the city’s Safer at Home order. However, sit-down service is currently forbidden. That part of the order will devastate Pasadena’s economy. With over 500 eateries, Pasadena has more restaurants per capita than New York City, according to the Los Angeles Times.

There is some help for local businesses.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering economic injury disaster loans and advances that can be used to pay immediate expenses during an emergency, including payroll, bills/accounts payable, fixed debts.

An advance of up to $10,000 can be awarded within three days of application. That money can be used keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs, or pay business obligations — and  doesn’t have to be repaid.

Under the Paycheck Protection Program is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). The government has budgeted $350 billion for the program. Unlike other SBA loans that are only available to incorporated businesses, Payment Protection is available to sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals.

The program allows businesses to obtain guaranteed loans of up to $10 million dollars to cover payroll costs and avoid layoffs. The money can also be put towards other operational costs, such as rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

Paycheck Protection loans cover the period ranging from February 15 to June 30.

Canter’s Deli which has locations in Pasadena, Santa Monica and Los Angeles has been forced to furlough more than 100 employees.

“That’s been difficult,” said Marc Canter. “Some of them have been here for 20, 30 years. So it’s hard for that. But that’s the whole world, the whole world has stopped.”

According to Canter, the deli is doing well with takeout orders.

“We’re seeing people calling in the orders,” Canter said. “Some people will just pop in and grab orders.

Many people are buying in bulk and soup is selling well.

Other restaurants like the Dog Haus have shut down some locations to maximize services.

“We’re setting up everything as if this is our new normal business,” Andre Vener, who co-owns the Dog Haus. “We’re tripling down on deliveries and pickup as far as marketing and spreading the word on that.”

Vener said the Dog Haus is also serving alcohol to go as well and merged his locations so that all customers are going to one location.

“So everybody’s going to Hill Street and we’ve converted Hill Street into a little mini grocery store,” Vener said. “We call it house market. So if you need to buy eggs and sausage or butter or meat or bacon or you know, you could buy it there from Dog Haus.”

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