NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – During the ordered shutdowns of dining-in restaurants, many bars and restaurants have closed for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak, while others have had to get creative with their takeout service to get by with less.
The Queensboro in Jackson Heights is one such place that required a sharp pivot in their way of doing business.
“We did takeout before all this happened,” says Dudley Stewart, co-owner of the Queensboro. “We generally had anywhere from two to eight orders a day, it wasn’t very much.”
Now, by necessity, it has to be the focus of their business.
“When this happened, we switched over (from Grubhub) to our own takeout service,” says Stewart. “It’s all done through our website, we’re using our own delivery people.” Packaged beer was always available with a food order. But now additional alcoholic beverages, if ordered with food, can be picked up or brought to your door.
“For the cocktails, what we’re doing is offering them in two sizes, either a single size or a pint, which is roughly four servings,” according to Stewart. “It’s pre-shaken or stirred, everything is done to it. All you need to do is pour it into a glass with some ice and it’s good to go.”
“A lot of the cocktails have been a big success actually,” notes Stewart, at least amidst the tempered expectations of the current business climate. The biggest seller so far has been what the Queensboro calls the Back 40, which is their take on an Old Fashioned, followed by the Manhattan.
The response has been enthusiastic. “People understand that restaurants, not just ours, every single restaurant in the city, is going through incredible stress right now,” says Stewart. “So far we’ve had an incredible response. People have been making an effort to order from us, in order to support us, and we feel very moved by that.”
But it’s not clear that takeout and delivery, even with fewer restrictions on alcohol sales, can keep neighborhood favorites like the Queensboro afloat. “Our main concern right now is not to make money, it’s to keep our employees working,” says Stewart. (The Queensboro employs about 40 full- and part-time employees.)
“I want to keep as many jobs as we can going. We’ll do whatever it takes.”