What once looked to be a two-week dining room closure has now become the new normal for West Nipissing restaurants, but some are making the most out of it.
Since the Dec. 26 provincial lockdown was extended to a stay-at-home order through Feb.9, Lorraine’s Restaurant has been as close to thriving as a strictly take-out busines can be.
“At this point, we’re not concerned with any type of a shutdown,” says manager Lindsay Tremblay. “We are doing wonderful; our sales have increased every day. We do have our slow days, that’s for sure, but for the most part, when we do the read at the end of the night, we’re all cheering each other saying ‘We did it! We did it!’ Just really pulling together as a family, saying we’re going to make it through no matter what.”
It’s not just a team spirit that has helped them navigate through the second major shutdown of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lorraine’s added frozen meals to their menu during the first shutdown. Now, they’ve got a brand-new website for locals to order take-out or delivery from as well. Rather than outsource the job to an app like Feastify, they chose to keep things in house to keep a connection with their regulars.
“Our choice for that being, it’s familiar faces to the customers. Keeping it local, keeping it very family-oriented with the group of us here. It’s very comforting when you see a familiar face,” says Tremblay.
The possibility of a second lockdown was always a concern for businesses. McMacken’s Pub never did much take-out prior to the pandemic and the saw the gaps in their service during the spring lockdown: they didn’t have wireless debit machines, a takeout counter or a second phone line.