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Pandemic Born Restaurants Forge Ahead

After one year into the coronavirus pandemic, new restaurant owners saw no other choice but to forge ahead. Many of them had chosen concepts that could be adapted for takeout and delivery. Others just knew giving up was not an option!

Those working toward opening new restaurants certainly did not see a global pandemic coming. Especially one that would demand long stay-at-home orders in our country.

Nobody planning their dream of opening a food business could have imagined the tailspin of restaurant closings. While they were trying to get their businesses to open they had to see others shutting their doors.

Many soon-to-be owners spent months or even years working toward their goals were caught in an unforeseen event.

A true test of an entrepreneur is knowing the importance of making changes, shifting gears, and adapting quickly! This new breed of the restaurant owners were put to the test before they had any chance of actually opening.


Many homed in on takeout and curbside pickup concepts. Some offered unique menu items and continued to build their ideas with developing new customer bases. Even under unusual circumstances, you have to keep implementing changes. It’s part of being a business owner the sooner you can adapt the more successful you will become.

Launching a brand-new restaurant during a crisis period can have its benefits. One thing, customers do not have anything to compare it to. The experience is new! Customers do not have any menu items or staff that they are used to. There is some advantage to a new restaurant and this one will work in your favor.

FREE Guide For Opening The Best Restaurant During A Pandemic

Spotlight on Four Pandemic Born Restaurants

Thomas’ Smokey Pit Stop

Thomas admitted he was nervous and had last-minute fears as the pandemic shutdowns began in Connecticut. But he overcame them and said, “We’re just going to go forward.”

His barbecue restaurant had several factors working in its favor. Thomas’ Smokey Pit Stop’s all-takeout model was ideal for a new landscape. They suddenly became a restaurant that was only available for pickup or delivery. He also moved quickly to add online ordering to his website.

On March 18th, 2020, they opened the doors of their business when the world was understandably closing theirs. Failure was never an option for him, however, this virus really put his business to the test. With good faith and an incredible team, they were able to persevere.
The community supported his dream of having a restaurant and it didn’t turn into a nightmare due to the pandemic.

Thomas’ Smokey Pit Stop have recently celebrated their 1st anniversary!

Sauced Up

“Keep it saucy” is the motto behind the newly opened Second Avenue East Village Restaurant Sauced Up.

In addition to sandwiches and chicken tenders, the restaurant sells wings slathered in Cajun, mango habanero, and Thai chili seasonings.

They wanted to share their love for wings and all things good with the great city of New York.

In the last two years, they have been perfecting their sauces, wings, and recipes. All the while making sure they had something for everyone on their menu.

Nothing, not even a pandemic was going to stop them from opening.

Flavors of Jamaica

The pandemic led the government to shut down dining rooms just weeks before her long-awaited restaurant’s planned grand opening, Reniel Billups did the only thing that made sense to her, she opened early.

While restaurants across the state were shutting down, Flavors of Jamaica, the hard-won sit-down restaurant Billups and her husband, Charles, had been working toward for years, made its less-than-grand debut in Pontiac on March 23 more than a week early.

Out of an abundance of caution, they closed the restaurant temporarily three weeks after she initially launched her curbside carryout.

Now, since the partial reopening of dining rooms in June, Billups has been serving both dine-in and carryout customers.

A Taste of Italy

Approximately two weeks after opening a new restaurant in November, like other restaurant owners in Michigan, Chef Elisabetta Balzola had to halt in-person dining as a COVID safety precaution.

Balzola owns Cucina Lab Torino in Troy, and despite being limited to carry-out service, she said, “I think we are doing great.”

“If I can keep making my money with carry-out and save a life, I’m happy,” Balzola said. “I think if people like my food, they will come back.”

She and her family moved from Italy around five years ago, and Balzola said, “The idea to have my own place, my own oven, my own things, was my dream.”

She had money saved up to start the business and owning a restaurant and not working for somebody else was her goal. Not even a pandemic was going to change her mind.

“For me, it’s not a restaurant, it’s like my home,” she says. “I say it’s a corner of Italy here in Michigan where people can enjoy our food and see how we do things in Italy.”

Pandemic Born Restaurants Forge Ahead

If you are ready to start your restaurant and are ready to forge ahead you may want to have an experienced restaurant start-up coach.

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Book my FREE 45-minute call and let me help you tackle your challenges.

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