Southern California restaurants converting to convenience grocery stores during the Coronavirus crisis

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luckysaver
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Joined: 22 Feb 2007 17:10

Southern California restaurants converting to convenience grocery stores during the Coronavirus crisis

Post by luckysaver »

In order to stay afloat since dine-in restaurants must remain closed, independent restaurants that offer takeout across SoCal such as taco stand in Whittier have turned their dining rooms or patios into c-stores, selling basic grocery items or foodservice products, as well as overstocks from their own kitchen. Others like Buckboard Pizza in Covina are selling prepacked kits. At first, Los Angeles County threatened to shut them down because these restaurants were not supposed to operate as grocery stores, but recently backed off after a bunch of restaurants that want to serve the community submitted detailed plans on how to best serve the community (as to not to take advantage of the situation) with social distancing/employee health protection in mind and received approval/temporary permits. The proceeds from grocery sales would be used by the owners to pay their employees and other expenses such as utilities, group health insurance, and rent. Some are also contributing to local food banks as well.

Zinc Market & Cafe operates several locations in LA and Orange Counties. Normally, they operate as both a restaurant/bar/cafe and a convenience grocer, selling fine imported groceries and gourmet cookware and last month they, switched to selling basic grocery pantry items such as toilet tissue, eggs, milk, prepacked bulk meat, and unopened excess supplies from the dining rooms. Unfortunately, the owners currently suspended their market operations due to Coronavirus as they were not able to secure a permit to sell general groceries at the beginning of the state's "safer-at-home" order.

Even the Foodservice distributors in the LA area (Sysco, Jetro Restaurant Depot, Jacmar) also started selling groceries directly to the general public. Sysco recently setup a online pop-up shop where on a select day for several hours, a limited grocery catalog would be posted on their website for the public to order from and after payment can go pickup their items at their main City of Industry warehouse (I found an Albertsons in Orange that carries Sysco-brand club size frozen items). Jetro Restaurant Depot, a membership warehouse supermarket that normally serves foodservice operators with locations in Anaheim, Long Beach and Industry, started opening their doors to the general public on a limited basis. Jacmar also opened their warehouse to public sales. Premier Meats in Vernon recently started selling bulk restaurant-quality meats to the public (in the first couple of weeks when most supermarkets sold out of meat).
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