BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ -- Business owners are learning to adapt to the new normal throughout the state, as the country attempts to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The decision to have restaurants close their dining rooms and offer only take-out or delivery beginning today, Tuesday, Feb. 17, couldn’t have come at a worse time for Don Parkin, owner of Goodman’s Restaurant & Deli. “Saint Patrick’s Day is by far the busiest day of the year. It’s bigger than Super Bowl, Christmas, New Years and the Jewish holidays,” he said.
That said, being nimble is part of owning a business, so he changed his plans and, when he opened this morning, he and his full staff were ready to serve their customers -- just not in the dining room.
Today and for the foreseeable future, Goodman’s is offering take out and delivery. Customers can “call ahead, walk in and order, or order delivery from my delivery partners. Customers can even ask for sidewalk pick up, if they don't want to come into the restaurant, ” he said.
Business today is down “quite a bit from previous years,” he said, but he is busy enough that he had to run out during the afternoon to pick up additional takeout containers.
Parkin said he supports the social distancing, but worries about his employees, who are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 regulations. “Takeout people tend to tip a lot less that dine-in people do,” he said, which makes it difficult for the employees. “Customers forget that someone took their order, made the sandwiches and packed them up,” he said.
As for what’s next, Parkin said he needs time to adjust to the new normal. “The dining room was still open yesterday. We closed at 8 p.m. last night. Tomorrow is life after the shut down, and we will see what we will do."
One thing is guaranteed, the corned beef and cabbage platters will be available through Friday, for those who didn’t get a chance to pick one up today, he said.