Surviving as a restaurant when you opened right before coronavirus
Many restaurants have struggled during the coronavirus lockdown, but what if your business opened right before it all started? Perry’s in Puyallup was only open 17 days before restaurants were forced to close their dining rooms. Owner Ron Perry joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss the experience of opening a new business during an outbreak.
Obviously, he didn’t plan to open a restaurant around a global pandemic. So what where were the ups and downs of opening at this time?
“It was about a year build out, … finally got to a grand opening and had some great initial reviews, and as we all know, coronavirus started to rear its ugly head. It’s been a tough road,” Perry said.
Did he kind of sense that this was coming as he was opening the restaurant?
“We didn’t know it would be this dramatic. After about a week of being open, we definitely started to see the decline in clientele, … but did not expect a complete lockdown.”
When he found out about it, his reaction was one that many owners likely had: “Oh crap, now what?”
They developed a takeout menu, which has helped supplement the revenue slightly in the meantime. But because it’s a new restaurant, the financial struggles are even more significant.
“We’re not going to be eligible for any of the loan programs because we didn’t open till February 28, which means we are kind of standing are on our own at this point,” he said. “If you can imagine a year build up pretty much from scratch; we’re into that just about a half million and trying to figure out if we can keep the doors open another 30 or 45 days.”
So what can people do to help a restaurant that’s struggling?
“Well, it’s not just us, obviously. This is a community of restaurants and small businesses who were all affected. The biggest thing I can say is get out if you can and support them,” he said. “If we can just convince the people of Puyallup and around Puyallup to feel safe enough to do curbside pickups, it’s huge,” he said.
“Most of us obviously are not making any money, we’re just trying to keep our doors open until society gets back out and about,” Perry said. “Who knows when that’s going to be? We’ve heard the first of June or July, but quite honestly, we’re not going to make it to July. We may make it until June. And I know some other places down here feeling the same way. … Support who you can.”