Since the Coconino County Board of Supervisors declared a local emergency, the effects have been felt by restaurant owners. This emergency was declared March 18. An additional proclamation, made by the board's chairperson Lena Fowler, prohibited all restaurants from serving food and drink on the premises. It also prohibits members of the public from entering these businesses to dine.
Diablo Burger, Lumberyard Brewing Company and Fratelli Pizza are just three restaurants in Flagstaff that have implemented changes as a result of the declaration and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lumberyard marketing manager Kelly Hanseth has been working for her parents' business since it opened in 2010. In addition to Lumberyard, Hanseth’s parents also own Beaver Street Brewery. She said due to the pandemic, Lumberyard has had to completely change the way it operates. This includes reducing hours of operation and adjusting the menu scale.
“We have, in the past, always been mainly reliant on, on-premise consumption of food and beverage,” Hanseth said. “We are still serving take-out orders, online orders via curbside pick up and we just launched with Lodel for delivery of food. With the big change, we are not doing the same amount of business that we were doing prior and we are hoping that our take-out business grows with the addition of Lodel.”
Lodel is an online food delivery service similar to GrubHub and DoorDash.
Lumberyard has also been implementing some of Beaver Street Brewery’s menu items onto their own since it is temporarily closed. In addition to changing the menu, they have also incorporated take-and-bake items like macaroni and cheese and chicken potpie. They are also offering groceries to-go, which residents can order online and pickup curbside.
Diablo Burger's first location opened in Flagstaff in 2009 by owner Derrick Widmark. He said both the Flagstaff and Tucson locations are offering take-out service with a paired down menu, as well as having shortened business hours.
Widmark said in addition to starting take-out services, Diablo Burger is also helping the community in an important way.
“For every meal ordered directly from Diablo Burger during the lockdown, we will donate one meal to a local emergency room or an organization feeding hungry school kids or other underserved populations in our community,” Widmark said.
Widmark also said between both the Flagstaff and Tucson locations, they have already donated close to 200 meals to staff working in local emergency rooms. This includes the unit treating COVID-19 patients at Flagstaff Medical Center.
Although COVID-19 has changed aspects of daily life, Widmark said Diablo Burger will continue to serve the Flagstaff and Tucson communities with a smile.
Chris Kreuger has been a manager at Fratelli Pizza for 11 years and has served as the general manager of Fratelli’s downtown location for the past five years.
As a result of COVID-19 and the aforementioned declaration, Kreuger said Fratelli’s is encouraging online and phone payments. He also said they’re keeping the previous pick up and delivery service options operational.
While their regular menu hasn’t changed, Fratelli’s has added some desserts to it like cookies and brownies. Kreuger said business has been noticeably slower, although it tends to pick up in the evening. He thanks customers for their continued support during this uncertain time.
“The ability to keep our business running and our employees paid is a comfort,” Kreuger said.
Kreuger also said discussions have been had to help emergency service workers.
When it comes to these restaurants providing for their workers, each one is doing something beneficial.
Hanseth said Lumberyard gave their employees one week of extra sick leave and is sending them assistance programs. Diablo Burger has shortened shifts so all of their employees can continue working.
“We made a commitment to keep our doors open, to serve our communities and to keep our crews employed,” Widmark said. “I also think it is beneficial to work less, as everyone's stress levels are higher and even a shorter shift — constantly washing your hands, wearing gloves, making sure you are keeping the space clean, all of that wears you down.”
In addition to the above businesses, Kreuger said Fratelli’s has eliminated the 10% service fee that usually covers their $15 minimum wage.
“Credit card tips get collected and distributed evenly among all of our hourly employees to help cover any lost hours due to the situation,” Kreuger said.
Overall, Lumberyard, Diablo Burger and Fratelli Pizza, as well as other restaurants and businesses at Flagstaff have had to make necessary changes as a result of COVID-19. However, managers and owners are trying to keep business running as usual despite having to use alternative means of doing so.