The New Deli has been open during this Covid-19 crisis- we’re an “essential business”, and that works for us. (Tom says, “I guess if some people had to prepare their own food, they might starve, so we’re helping them out!”)
We had finished off 2019 with a staff of ten (plus Tom and me), but by early March, most of those folks had given notice. It was a perfect employee situation for this crisis. For the first six weeks of SIP (shelter-in-place), we had a meager staff of three (plus us). We’ve been able to add a few of our old crew members back on, and have been able to continue to provide lunches all along. Thankfully!
But what a strange new world. We’d already thoroughly cleaned the deeper recesses at the deli, the first week in. We even freshened up the paint here and there. But business was about a third of what it had been; barely enough to cover rent and payroll. Gone were the lines during lunch rush. Gone were the morning catering orders for office business meetings. Gone, most of the staff except the few of us needed to keep it going…
Thankfully, so many folks working from home have been keeping our phone line busy, as we prepare orders for quick pickups. And there’s still an few calls for occasional business meetings, or special orders for other essential staff. Our cello-wrapped half sandwiches have been perfect in those cases.
Here’s a quick timeline from our New Deli Covid-19 Experience:
- We got a case of napkins and toiletries early on, since those were not easily found during general shopping trips
- We got face masks right away too, despite shortages, since one of our deli girls is quite a survivalist. She had face masks left over from last summer’s fires, and we were grateful for that!
We started sterilizing pens. And door handles. And other surfaces. (Is “germaphobe” even a thing anymore?) We realized it’s good to be aware of the many ways people might get exposed, even to simple common cold germs and such. I haven’t had a cold all season- I’m sure these protocols have helped in that way.
We started putting the phone on speaker only, so no one had to put their face up close to the phone to take orders. We’ve decided we actually like this approach- it’s been working well!
And now, as Memorial Day Weekend approaches, we hope we’re heading out of this crisis soon. We know it will change us. And it has been a challenge. But good will come from the ashes, right?