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Murray Journal

Area restaurants adopt new strategies to appeal to customers during coronavirus crisis

Apr 08, 2020 10:53AM ● By Drew Crawford

Restaurants can now be found empty, but many are finding new ways to help residents still enjoy culinary cuisine. (Stock photo/Pikrepo)

By Drew Crawford | [email protected]

On March 18 at 11:59 p.m., Dr. Joseph K. Miner, the executive director of the Utah Department of Health ordered that “all foodservice, restaurants, self-serve buffets, salad bars, unpackaged self-serve food services, bars, taverns, nightclubs, private liquor clubs, and saloons in the state of Utah shall immediately close to members, guests, patrons, customers, and the general public.” 

In compliance with the order, restaurants across the state immediately shuttered their doors to avoid large gatherings of people and minimize the spread of COVID-19.

This has caused incredibly problematic financial dilemmas for restaurants that often run on tight margins and rely on frequent patrons to sustain their business model.

Despite the obstacles that have resulted from this unprecedented crisis, many restaurants around the valley are still offering curbside, takeout and delivery.

The website “Curbside Utah” has sprung up to serve as a hub where restaurants can let customers know that they are still open during this time of hardship. The user-friendly interface allows visitors to search open restaurants by city. The restaurants list special instructions for how to order food over phone from each place and pick it up.

Small business owners and restaurants can easily take advantages of the service of Curbside Utah. At the top of the front page you are able to click a link that allows you to list your restaurant. This takes you to a page where you are able to conveniently list location, contact details, hours of operation and price range.

Businesses that have taken advantage of this feature include Café Rio, Pizzeria Limone, Tucci’s, and Sugar House Coffee.

Other small restaurants such as Peppercini’s American Eatery located at 3981 S. 700 East in Murray that rely on their visibility of the customer base from the surrounding office complex to do business have used other creative strategies to appeal to customers.

The small eatery has changed its hours and advertised the change on Facebook and Instagram, according to Shay Holton, manager.

“Our hours used to be 8 to 3 but we have extended 8 to 8 just with hours being cut in the building,” Holton explained. “We rely on the people that are around us and they’re all working from home. Either they’re too far or not a lot of people know about us right now.”

The change comes because the owners thought that getting a few night businesses as customers will help make up for the labor in the morning.

Peppercini’s is not currently a member of Curbside Utah but expressed enthusiasm about its potential to help connect to customers. 

“We feel good about still being able to do pickup and deliveries. We’ll survive once this is over,” Holton said.

If you want to eat from any of these restaurants or many more, visit curbsideutah.com or the website of your favorite local restaurant for instructions regarding takeout.

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