MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Tuesday was the Great American Takeout Day, a last-minute made-up holiday encouraging people to support local restaurants that are staying open by offering a take-out option.

However, this is not an easy transition for most restaurants, especially when they are trying to practice social distancing.

Peter Campbell, executive chef and owner of Red Wagon Pizza in South Minneapolis, gave WCCO a virtual tour over FaceTime of his new normal.

His dining room is now closed and it’s been turned operations center. The outside of his restaurant is covered in signs permitting anyone from entering the building. Even deliveries need to be dropped off outside. Campbell also redesigned his parking lot to organize all the takeout orders.

“I came out with a spray paint can and spray painted numbers on all the parking positions,” said Campbell.

These are the measures Campbell and his staff have taken so that when they do take-out there have zero touch contact with customers for everyone’s safety.

“We will not take cash on premises, we will not swipe your card, you must pay on the app or through the website,” said Campbell, “And we ask that people will open their trunk or tail gate and we will set it in. My staff have been instructed to not even tough cars.”

(You can text RWAGON to 33733 to download the Red Wagon Pizza app).

Unfortunately, some restaurants, like Broder’s in South Minneapolis, are not as equipped to make the business model change so suddenly.

“If our primary goal is to stay safe, this is not a great way to do that,” said Charlie Broder, the CEO of Broder’s Restaurant.

Broder says the surge in customers supporting them was great, but an overwhelming problem to have.

“People are we’re waiting at the deli…up to and over an hour,” said Broder. He says they just weren’t able to keep up in a way that was safe for their staff and their customers. “It became very difficult to not just fulfill orders, but to sanitize yourself, everything, all the time, was impossible.”

Broder’s management is going to use this closure to reorganize and reopen later. Broder tells WCCO his management team came up with a new, safer take out system and they plan to re-open their restaurants next week with a limited menu.

Marielle Mohs

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