Jon Mavrakis opened Local West
(7402 Detroit Ave., 216-417-7001) five years ago, but he closed his doors on March 24 to regroup.
“We were allowed to stay open, and we we’re doing pretty well because we do a ton of delivery and carry-out anyways,” he explains. “We closed because there was so much disinformation out there, and to protect our people. We wanted to close and figure out what the hell was going on out there.”
One month later, Mavrakis says that he’s confident that he has a plan in place that maximizes the health and safety of his employees, customers and delivery contractors. With those measures in place, Local West will reopen next week for pick-up and delivery business.
“After a lot of research and consultation, we’re coming back,” he says.
Those new health and safety measures include redesigning the dining room to accommodate social distancing, requiring personal protective equipment for employees and delivery personnel who enter the store, temperature checks for staff, UV lighting to disinfect incoming food shipments and no-contact curbside pick-up.
Customers are encouraged to utilize the online ordering system
combined with no-contact pick-up or local delivery, which reduces fees and is done by restaurant employees. Third-party delivery providers are also available for customers outside the regular delivery area.
Walk-in customers, however, will also be accommodated thanks to new practical and physical adjustments to the environment. Locations for customers to stand, order and wait will be clearly delineated, payment will be cash-free and no-touch, and food orders will be placed at a designated pick-up area in the dining room or delivered straight to one’s car.
“We’re going above and beyond in terms of being cautious,” promises Mavrakis.
Looking ahead, he says that all restaurant operators like him can do is stay informed, be flexible and remain patient.
“As far as we go, I feel like we’re going to be okay in the long run,” he says. “Consumers will change their habits for the foreseeable future and we just need to adapt to that and keep serving them the best possible food that we can. I’m optimistic.”
As for the broader picture, Mavrakis notes, “It’s going to decimate a lot of great, small eateries that we have in Cleveland. We’re going to go through some rough patches. But ultimately, we’re a very resilient country.”