Oregon businesses are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 spread, particularly restaurants that mostly rely on in-person foot traffic.
With that comes an incentive to come up with creative ways to make sales during an uncertain global health crisis.
Firefly Coffeehouse and Artisan Cheese owner Jeanne Carpenter told the Observer Monday, March 16, the coffee shop will remain open for as long as it can.
But as the cases rise in the state, Carpenter said she has to face the possibility of temporary closure.
She said Firefly is soon launching an online ordering application, and starting curbside to-go orders as of Monday, March 16. She said staff will bring to-go orders out to the customer’s car. Firefly’s hours are also changing — the coffee shop will be open until further notice from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the to-go orders.
“We’ve got to figure out a way to get through this,” she said.
Carpenter said she is especially committed to taking care of her seven full-time staff members — making sure they remain employed and have a place to come back when the situation resolves. “If they don’t have a job, they don’t have health insurance,” she said.
Chef Dave Heide, owner of Charlie’s on Main, said the restaurant is looking at implementing similar measures for to-go and online orders.
And for as long as it can, Heide said Charlie’s on Main will offer soup for up to $5. He said the soup is pay-what-you-can, to help support families in crises during this uncertain time.
There is also an option on the Charlie’s on Main website for customers to pay a soup order forward to someone else — they buy the soup for someone in need to eat.
Heide said he worries most for his employees if, and when, the restaurant has to close.
“I think this is tough,” Heide said.
But he remains optimistic, he said, as there are a lot of people in the community doing good.
Headquarters Bar and Grill has had to cut its staff numbers in half to deal with reduction in business.
“On Saturday, I usually have five servers, three bartenders, an expo, SA and a bus person,” manager Aubrey Coppelman said. “This Saturday we ran with two servers and a bartender – that was it.”
The restaurant is starting to offer delivery as an option for patrons in the area, like Firefly and Charlie’s.
Other restaurants the Observer contacted, including Mulligan’s Bar and Grill and Sonny’s Kitchen, declined to comment.