Coronavirus changes model for restaurant business

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Family eats pizza at home

John Dolan

The writer's family enjoys a takeout dinner from Brooklyn Pizza in Birmingham.

With the coronavirus pandemic reaching the United States, restaurants have been required to allow only carryout and delivery orders, drastically changing the landscape of the restaurant business. This has caused a shortage of work for some people and opportunity for others.

“Business is booming,” said Konrad Nawrot, an MSU student and DoorDash driver said. “There’s more peak pays now because more people are ordering.”

However, due to the virus, delivery drivers are forced to take extra steps to ensure cleanliness that slows down the process.

“Pick up and drop off are much harder because no contact is allowed,” Nawrot said. “You drop off the food and have to take a picture where it would be, so I could see it being annoying to order.”

Some businesses were more prepared to service a delivery-only mandate, while others had to begin delivering.

“Business has definitely gone down,” said Tim S., a manager of Birmingham, Michigan’s Brooklyn Pizza said. “Birmingham is such a walkable city, so we’re obviously going to lose some customers there, but I will say that because we have always delivered even before the virus, we have been able to minimize how much business we lose.”

Another restaurant known for their delivery that saw an uptick was Jimmy John’s.

“There were definitely less people going into the store, but we had more deliveries than usual,” said Chase Powers, University of Michigan student and Jimmy John’s employee. “The city of Ann Arbor required us to shut down, but before that business really didn’t lag too much.”

As the days of quarantine have gone on more and more, the number of carry-out orders has increased at Brooklyn Pizza.

“I was expecting more deliveries, but we’ve actually had a lot more takeout orders,” Tim S. said. “I’ve been talking to people, and they’ve been in their house all week looking for any excuse to go outside, so they choose to carry-out instead of ordering delivery.”

(Editor’s note: With classes moving online, some Michigan State journalism students are reporting about their home communities.)

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