Stefanelli has opted not to partner with a third-party delivery company, but is instead using his entire staff—and himself—to deliver meals, using the restaurant’s catering van, their personal cars, and even a Vespa. Meals are delivered between 4 and 6 p.m. “We’re down a lot of people right now but we’re trying to grow this with a core staff and layer in more people as we grow it,” he says.
The restaurant is getting the word out via social media and an email blast to its database. Every day it updates what’s on the menu.
The way Stefanelli sees it, he has two responsibilities: To his staff and to his customers, but he admits it’s hard to keep up with the speed of changes. “We lay out one set of plans and then it changes, but you have to just rip the Band-Aid off.”
Canlis in Seattle may be credited with kicking all this off. This Pacific Northwest institution switched from offering fine dining to a drive thur and delivery service, which is a complete change of business.
The parking lot has been reconfigured to accommodate five drive-through lanes, and the restaurant offers food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Menus are short: three items plus ice cream for lunch, all priced at $14 or under. For dinner, Canlis offers one family-style meal per day, and it’s delivered within 20 minutes—or that’s the goal. Dinners are meals such as prime rib with twice baked potato, salad, sourdough focaccia; and whipped mascarpone with blueberry-poached pairs for dessert. Dinners are $60 per person, and wine can be paired with them, but dietary restrictions cannot be accommodated.
The restaurant’s doing what it can. As Canlis’ website states: “Fine dining is not what Seattle needs right now. Instead, this is one idea for safely creating jobs for our employees while serving as much of our city as we can.”
Also in Seattle, fine dining Filipino restaurant, Musang, has created Musang Community Kitchen to provide food for those in need. While the restaurant is forced to be closed, it’s both providing food and accepting donations.
It started off serving 100 meals a day and most recently it served 200. These are available for anyone, no questions asked, owner Melissa Miranda says. She’s trying to look out especially for those in the restaurant industry who’ve been laid off; she’s been delivering to local hospitals to take care of front line workers; she’s partnering with local schools to get food to children. All meals come with a bag of groceries from the donations. The meals are mostly the same food as that served in the restaurant.