Restaurants, perhaps more than any other businesses, have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more than a month, they were only open for takeout or delivery due to state restrictions.
Even now that they are able to serve customers for dining in, restaurants are making changes to adapt to a new reality.
According to the National Restaurant Association, May revenues nationwide were down 50% from two months earlier. The industry has also lost around 4.6 million jobs since the beginning of the pandemic.
In Arizona, restaurants employed over 300,00 people in 2019, 11% of the workforce, before the pandemic started.
Yet some restaurants have been able to adjust.
Pete’s Fish and Chips, a local chain with restaurants in Tolleson and Glendale, has thrived despite the pandemic. They have drive-thru windows that allowed them to stay busy during the lockdown. After the lockdown was lifted, they attracted even more business.
“As soon as people felt more at ease going out, we saw an uptick in business,” said Pat Foster, co-owner and daughter of Peter Grant, who founded the restaurant in 1947.
Foster said Pete’s Fish and Chips has implemented new cleaning procedures but has otherwise seen its business continue much as it has for 73 years.
Other restaurants, such as Desert Rose Pizza & Gastropub in Glendale, made the difficult decision to close during the lockdown.
Since reopening, business isn’t back to normal but there has been support for local businesses. Desert Rose owner Teresa Outzen said, “We see returning customers and new people coming in to support us, which is great.”
Gus’ Pizza in Goodyear is another example of a local restaurant that has stayed in business with the support of the community.
“With us being around for eight years we have built A strong relationship with the locals. We have the support of the Goodyear area. With COVID-19 we took a big hit. We definitely had our ups and downs,” owner Wrad Ali said.
Gus’ Pizza took time in the shut down to remodel and it will soon introduce an updated menu.
Sipping Sisters Café in Avondale had its grand opening just three days before the shutdown began.
The new venue lost the momentum it would have had from its opening and could no longer sell its food at festivals.
Despite these challenges, Sipping Sisters stayed open.
“We got a lot of local support,” owner Heather Peoples said. “We had people driving all the way from Mesa to give us some support.”