Even as states across the country begin lifting stay-at-home orders, many businesses are still being forced to rethink how they can attract customers amid ongoing coronavirus fears. For some restaurants, that means the era of closely guarded secret recipes is over.
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Instead, they’re converting their signature dishes into do-it-yourself kits for patrons to replicate at home, and turning to the internet to create the kind of community their physical spaces once provided.
Before coronavirus, 45% of people nationwide ate out at restaurants multiple times a week, according to Toast, a restaurant and management point-of-sale software company. But as restaurants were forced to close their front-of-house operations and rely solely on delivery and carryout orders, profits have tumbled.
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Teatotaller, which made a name for itself by hosting the largest weekly teen drag queen shows in the country, is known for its French macarons and fresh boba tea, a Taiwanese drink that comes with chewy tapioca balls, and became a must-stop for nearly every major 2020 candidate running for president.
But after coronavirus forced the Somersworth, New Hampshire, cafe to close in March, owner Emmett Soldati questioned whether his business could survive.
“As a cafe that has drag shows, our model wasn’t built on takeout. You don’t get a fancy latte delivered to you, 30 minutes later, in a lukewarm cup.” Soldati told ABC News.
Instead of lukewarm latte deliveries, Soldati focused on sales of boba tea, which is served cold. He came up with “Doorstep Boba,” allowing customers to order freshly made-to-order tea right to their home.
Shortly thereafter, he started hosting his weekly teen drag shows on Instagram, and that led to yet another business innovation.