My Father’s Barbeque: Managing COVID-19
It’s January 2020, co-owner and Head Chef at My Father’s Barbeque restaurant in Carson, California, Shalamar Lane is excited and ready to complete the expansion of the dining area of their family restaurant. Business is booming and 2020 promises to be the year My Father’s Barbeque is known as “thee” place to sit down and enjoy their famous down South barbeque.
Enter COVID-19 and the announcement of a pandemic which will require all non-essential businesses to close down and essential businesses to change the way they do business or close their doors. As most small business owners, Lane is left to ponder their small business' next steps. How will the restaurant survive the stay at home order? What will they do with their loyal employees? What about construction and expansion? How will their business go forth during the pandemic? How will health challenges affect employee attendance when restaurants open?
Chef Lane reflects upon the beginning of 2020 as coming in with an extremely bright outlook and quickly turning to a dim light on a cloudy path. Lane kept the restaurant closed through mid-May as required, but while closed, she and her family were determined to still meet the needs of the community. On May 14, 2020, My Father’s Barbeque, with the help of Councilman Jawane Hilton, gave family dinners away to more than 300 families.
Chef Lane and her family were determined to turn a negative into a positive and they gathered more than 20 volunteers of all ages together to feed needy families and perhaps some that just missed the tasty barbeque provided by the restaurant. The event they called, “Paying it Forward” was a hit and marked the event that celebrated the reopening of the restaurant.
Since the restaurant has been open, Lane has lost half of her workers. Some found other work and others are still not ready to come to work. Furthermore, not having a dining room means Lane's inability to hire more staff. While the doors are open for pick up orders the restaurant is not able to operate at its full potential. So how does a business owner manage the effects of COVID-19?
According to co-owner and Lane's brother, Marvin Hardley, “We are using this time to become the best we can by adding secret shoppers to give feedback on service and food quality. We are spending time to further assess and evaluate all assets of our business.” Lane adds, “Sooner or later, the doors of the restaurant will be open for our patrons to dine in and we will be ready, and we will thrive, that’s my vision.”
Until the dining room opens, My Father’s Barbeque is serving their down south cuisine and famous barbeque for meat-eaters, vegans, and vegetarians as a to-go order. Whether you call in or drop by and order, Chef Lane and her staff are ready to satisfy your palate and be the comfort of Carson.
Visit them online at www.myfathersbbq.com.