We spoke with owner of Le Papagayo Darrin Campbell, on how him and his staff have adapted to COVID-19 restrictions, as all of our routines and activities have changed. The "new normal" came into vocabulary as a light-hearted phrase back in March, but now it carries with it a heavier grasp on the actual reality of business management and livelihood. If you've worked in the restaurant industry before, then you could understand all the little details that go into place to ensure the best possible product execution... and if you haven't, then hopefully this can shed some light on a challenging domino effect on how we do business, support our local economies and finding ways to socialize safely.
1. Where did you begin at Le Papagayo, to adapt to the changes created by the pandemic?
We began as soon as we were told we would have to go to take-out only back in middle March. We shut down for a few days to get our online ordering system created and adapt to a new take out style menu and process. Once that was done I realized we had just received an order of 1000 rolls of toilet paper (our normal order and we decided to give away as people needed and we were off to the races. Although business shifted we adapted, improvised and eventually overcame the challenges as we continue to do to this day.
2. What obstacles have you encountered (or still are overcoming)?
The challenges seem to be ever-evolving, I've always taken it one day at a time and just done the best we can in the moment. We were very lucky with the ample outdoor areas we have so we've capitalized on that and I've been able to bring back 90% of my staff. Most of the new policies we are mandated to do we've already been doing as a staff so the additional training to get everyone up to speed was straight forward and we decided early on to go a few steps above and beyond to ensure everyone was in the safest environment possible. If you focus on what's best for your staff and customers then the rest gets easy.
3. What additional changes do you feel can make an impact in supporting local bars and restaurants?
When the state moved to outdoor-only I felt as though that was the last effort before going back to take out only. Who I really feel for are the folks that don't have the ability to extend their seating into an outdoor space. Those folks need our help right now as much as possible, if that means takeout or ordering delivery, every little bit helps in times like this. If we stay together and support one another the best we can, we'll weather this storm and come out of this brighter than ever.