COLORADO SPRINGS — In order to get through this pandemic and to also help out their neighbors, local restaurant are now selling food ingredients as grocery items and they say the response they've gotten is overwhelming.
"We needed to get rid of it so it didn't go bad and people who needed to eat it at home, so it worked out well," explained James Africano, owner and executive chef of The Warehouse in Colorado Springs.
The restaurant is now selling things like chicken, ground beef and deli meat after its owners noticed people were struggling to find these items in stores, and they also didn't want their food supply to go to waste.
"We needed to get rid of it so it didn't go bad and people who needed to eat it at home, so it worked out well," he said.
Now, workers wearing masks and gloves are busy putting together six to 20 grocery orders a day that they deliver curbside or to people's homes.
"People are very grateful to receive the things and not have to go to four different stores to try to find simple things," Africano noted.
The first weekend restaurant staff took grocery orders, they realized just how huge the demand really was.
"It was just nuts," he remembered. "We sold about 200 pounds of chicken, we sold over 200 pounds of ground beef. We ran out of flour. And these were all things that I was looking at thinking, we're never gonna go through all this.'"
The Warehouse is still selling family style to-go meals, and groceries help supplement that income. But the profit margin isn't that great.
"By the time that we add a baggie, and somebody's time to get it into the baggie and all the rest of the stuff, there's not a lot a ton of money in it," Africano explained.
While it might not look like your typical grocery store delivery service, it can be better. For instance, there are less people handing your food.
"It was probably only one person that touched it before you got it," Africano said.
The personalized attention also means someone will make sure everything you order is in stock.
"Being able to guarantee that what you ordered, you are going to get," he added.
It's a guarantee they're continue to deliver, just packaged a little differently than before. "It's a service to people that want it, that need it, and that appreciate it."
Africano says looking ahead, they're not just concerned about being able to open their doors again, but also being able to rent out their venues for gatherings since that was a major source of income. But he says this new business strategy will help sustain them, for now.
If you would like to place a grocery order with The Warehouse, you can do so by calling (719) 475-8880 or emailing email@example.com. Curbside pick-up is available daily after 4 p.m.
You can view the restaurant's available grocery items on their website here.
Restaurant staff updates this list every Monday.
You can also view their daily take-out menu here.
There is a $10 delivery fee for groceries. To-go meal deliveries are free.
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