Covid-19 Restaurant Recovery visits Curry Corner in Tempe
Sarah Bulle | 06-01-2021
You’re a regular restaurant worker and its a regular workday in 2020 (that is to say – not a regular workday at all, but you and the entire world are learning to adapt the definition of ‘regular’), and as you walk up to the restaurant, instead of finding a parking lot and a bunch of eager customers, you find a TV crew.
They surrounded the storefront with traffic cones, and trucks of equipment and people are everywhere.
What would your immediate reaction be? I’d like to say I didn’t almost pee my pants before a crewmember came and took me aside to check my temperature.
But I would gladly share my excitement at finding out that our restaurant, Curry Corner in Tempe, was to be featured on television!
COVID-19 Was Taking Us Down
Our restaurant had been struggling ever since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, being a restaurant that depended heavily on dine-in traffic from our local Tempe, Arizona community. According to the National Restaurant Association, nearly 100,000 restaurants had already been forced to close either permanently or long-term six months, following the first shutdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
After reopening to months of a dishearteningly empty dining room and only interactions with masked delivery people who were in and out the doors in under 30 seconds, our business and each of us working there were pretty desperate for a little bit of good news. The news that came with this TV crew was good news – far more so than I could have expected!
Restaurant Recovery & Todd Graves
Ever heard of Raising Cane’s? I certainly hope you have (and if you haven’t there’s one on Rural and University in Tempe. I highly recommend you pay them a visit right now), because while the COVID-19 pandemic has completely devastated many in the food service and restaurant industry in the US, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers was able to maintain their business due to their ever-successful drive-thru.
Todd Graves’ Raising Cane’s remains one of the fastest growing restaurant companies in the US, and he decided to pay it forward, aiding other restaurant owners who struggled through the pandemic. He started a new series called Restaurant Recovery, in which he traveled across the country helping restaurants that had closed or were on the verge of closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
How Restaurants Handle the COVID-19 Pandemic
When the COVID-19 pandemic brought Arizona into lockdown in April and May of 2020, Curry Corner in Tempe relied entirely on sales from takeout and was unable to accept customers for dine-in.
We were nervous about how long this would last, as we knew that these sales would not be enough. Sooner or later, something would have to change or our business could not continue to operate.
Dine-In with Social Distancing & Masks
Once restaurant businesses were allowed to re-open for dine-in again, several measures for preventing the spread of COVID-19 were implemented, such as social distancing when seating customers or creating lines for delivery persons (and a lower restaurant capacity), the use of face masks and gloves by employees, and not allowing anyone in the dining room or kitchen who experienced any symptoms of COVID-19.
Adapting to the Pandemic was Not Enough
Even with these social distancing and COVID-19 prevention measures in place, our business and many other restaurants in Tempe suffered from seeing very few customers venturing out to eat.
Our sales were were still far too low, and we had reduced the hours we were open, having to say goodbye to dearly loved employees we no longer had the resources to support (I was unable to work for a couple months – and the folks at the restaurant had really started to feel like family after my 2 years of working with them). We were certainly at the brink!
My boss heard about Restaurant Recovery, and she applied. It felt like a long shot, but we were out of other options!
You can imagine our surprise and excitement to find out we had been accepted!! But this wasn’t the only surprise in store for us.
Get the Whole Story
Restaurant Recovery is now streaming on Discovery+. I want to invite you to check it out, and see the whole story of how Todd Graves helped us not only save Curry Corner, but also helped my boss and her son turn one what seemed like an impossible dream into a reality! Check out the trailer. You can also find Todd Graves on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
You can also come visit us on Apache Blvd in Tempe and see for yourself (we miss seeing your faces around, it would mean the world to us).
Visit Curry Corner in Tempe AZ
If you’re in the Tempe area, you can find us at 1212 E Apache Blvd, Tempe AZ (although we have plenty of folks visit us from as far away as SanTan, Paradise Valley, Tucson, and even other states). You can also give us a call to order takeout. Call us at 480-894-1276, and check out our menu online to see what we have to offer (don’t forget to ask about our specials)!
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