Wollongong's Grill'd restaurant has been granted approval from the Liquor and Gaming Authority to deliver a six pack of beer or bottle of wine with each food delivery.
The move is an example of measures being taken by eateries across the region to do everything they can to survive and keep their staff employed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lube Markovski said anything his family's eatery could do to provide a little comfort at such a stressful time was good. He said the drop in business since people were unable to dine in has been significant and it is taking a while for customers to realise they can call for a delivery. There has been a steady stream of people coming in for takeaways around lunchtime during the week. Some are calling ahead so it is ready when they swing by. But the reality is business is not what it was and won't be for some time.
"We are definitely not doing takeaway or deliveries for money," Mr Markovski said.
"It is more of a service. And we are writing notes to people on the takeaway bags in texta to help cheer them up. We are writing things like "thanks for your support", "stay safe" and "I love you" just so they can feel some love.
Mr Markovski said it was now great to be able to send out a six pack or bottle of wine with each meal.
"Grill'd went and spoke to the licensing commission for the state and like everyone at the moment they were amazing. Every government body, shopping centres, landlords and the ATO are being so supportive and understanding. They are trying to help us with the opportunities that can drive cash flow. Which is the most important thing at the moment.
"With our business down 80 per cent you have got to look at other alternatives to generate cash flow. The ability to be able to deliver alcohol adds cash flow and makes our service a little more personal as well. We actually delivered a burger and a bottle of wine to a friend of mine the other day. He actually dressed up in a suit and tie. He had the burger in front of him with the wine and treated himself to a night out at home with our food which I thought was absolutely brilliant".
The Grill'd deliveries are being done by Menulog, Deliveroo and Uber Eats.
"A lot of people are ringing through and a lot of people are ordering online. We actually have a Grill'd app you can order through as well. So there are a lot of avenues if people want to support local businesses. Because at the moment there are a lot of restaurants and cafes closing".
Mr Markovski said his family was determined to keep trading through the coronavirus crisis. "I know everyone is scared and I am too. The uncertainty is terrifying. But I think you have got to have some kind of faith and trust. And look after yourself, your family and your team".
"We have an obligation as business owners to provide a duty of care to all our team. Unfortunately we have had to cut people's hours. I have been communicating with all our employees every day to make sure they are all okay and safe. Our team has been amazing. They are all part-timers and entitled to holiday pay".
"We can't just shut. People need to eat and have some sense of normality. If we can create a little bit of that it will be a good thing".
Bostons Espresso in Atchison St is another eatery still trading.
The takeaway menu includes pre-made brasserie bread toasties, pastries, fresh salads as well as fruit salads with or without yoghurt. It is also selling Riverina fresh Milk including dairy free almond, soy, oats and lactose free milk. Along with eggs for those who can't get them at the supermarket. Bostons Espresso has also started making brasserie bread for the public.
"Unless we are all in a lockdown for now we are planning to keep going as long as possible," Manja Zschoegner said..
This week the Illawarra Mercury has been compiling a list of restaurants, coffee shops, cafes and bars still providing a delivery and takeaway service to keep trading.
The full list of eateries sent to our Facebook page and in emails will be published online on Saturday
The list includes:
- Fat Cat Kitchen
- Dragon Garden Restaurant
- Red Nectar
- The Loaf Kitchen
- The Rosy Lea Cafe
- Bull and Bear Wollongong
- Grill'd Shellharbour
- Mr Zaatar Gwynneville
- Nut and Deli, Wollongong
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- How to plan a wedding in 23 hours because of COVID-19
- A Gong deli dances into customers' hearts with COVID-19 grazing boxes
- Shellharbour's Dance Sensations launches online classes amid COVID-19 crisis
- Macca's starts to see an increase in drive-thru business and takeaway
- New music initiative to help the community to keep on jammin during social isolation
- Live streaming funerals part of the new coronavirus world
- Workforce 'will need cash' when state goes into shutdown
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