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Restaurants looking for relief: Doug Trattner reports

Andy Himmel, owner of Bomba Tacos and Paladar, is asking the state to take action before restaurants collapse.

BEACHWOOD, Ohio — In light of state-mandated decrees that call on restaurants to close their dining rooms to the public in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, many operators are relying on take-out and delivery business to keep their businesses afloat.

While this might sound like a viable alternative to standard operating procedure, the truth is that there are many challenges to this approach. We sat down with Andy Himmel, owner of Paladar Latin Kitchen and Bomba Tacos to see how he is dealing with this challenging new normal.

“We were already doing carry-out and delivery, but the difference now is that we’re surviving on just those two items and we have to staff-down accordingly, while still being able to put out a product that we're proud of,” says Himmel. “Things are changing every day. It’s completely unchartered territory.”

Himmel says that while every situation is unique, it will be difficult for many operators to survive given all of the typical overhead costs associated with running a brick-and-mortar business – that is, without significant support and relief from the top down, be it from banks, insurance companies, and state and federal governments.

"If things stay as they are, I don't see how restaurants can survive that long on just delivery and carry-out because of everything else it takes to operate a brick mortar operation,” Himmel states. “A lot of people are really struggling.”

Customers, of course, are urged to support their local restaurants every way they can, namely by ordering take-out and carry-out food, purchasing gift cards for later use (despite the risk that they may end up unusable), and buying merchandise like t-shirts and ball caps.

“I can tell you one thing,” Himmel adds. “The people who have been ordering carry-out so far have been unbelievably generous with tipping.”

Down the road, when businesses begin to reopen, Himmel and restaurant owners – and all local businesses affected by the situation – will need all the support we can offer.

“Once we get over this hurdle and open back up, people can really make an effort to go out and support the restaurants in their area,” he says.

To view Bomba's menu and support them, click here. Watch the full interview with Himmel below:

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