PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Customers were urged to support local restaurants by participating in the Great American Take Out on Tuesday. At eateries across Pinellas County, the phones with ringing with to-go orders one after another.
Suzy Sofer owns Cody’s Roadhouse in Belleair Bluffs. She is overwhelmed with the community’s support.
“There is a fantastic community support within the Bellaire Bluffs area and surrounding areas in Pinellas County,” said Sofer. “I think all of us small businesses, we’re going to gel together and get through this. “
But these are tough times for the restaurant industry. The coronavirus putting a halt to any dining in options.
Sofer has dozens of employees who are now sitting at home and she’s rotating them in and out for the take out business to try and keep the money flowing evenly.
“I have a staff of fifty and we’re running with five right now and we’re trying to do five a day to try and get some money in everybody’s pocket,” said Sofer.
At Joey’s Italian Restaurant in Palm Harbor, a similar scene. An empty dining room with cooks busy filling out take out orders. Culinary manager Erik Landers admits seeing the empty eating area is a bit strange.
“It’s weird as a worker, when you come out into the dining room or just look through that window over there and you don’t see anyone out here,” said Landers.
Restaurant owners and managers hope customers will keep coming for the take out orders, long after the Great American Take Out is over.
Trevor Davis is a customer who understands the situation very well.
“These little guys and the big corporations need our help. Now is the time that we have to come together. We have to support and that is very, very important,” said Davis. “But at the same time, we have to be very cognizant of the fact that we have a problem. There is a war out there and it’s an invisible enemy. “