Amidst COVID-19 Closures Gwen Turns Restaurant Floor into Fresh Food Market for Customers - Interview with Curtis Stone
Mayor Garcetti’s new regulations on restaurants has forced them to halt regular service and transform their business to providing take-out and delivery orders. With most people stocking up groceries and staying at home for self quarantine, restaurants are taking a major hit.
Gwen is a fine dining restaurant that is known for providing a high-end dining experience paired with a premium butcher shop in the heart of Hollywood. Owner and head chef Curtis Stone saw a novel opportunity to utilize their restaurant and help calm the commotion at local supermarkets by converting their copper gilded restaurant into a corner store, filled with all the fresh produce they use to make the dishes on their menu.
Owner and head chef Curtis Stone saw a novel opportunity to utilize their restaurant...
This has been a blessing for many as grocery stores have been over crowded and raided every day. Consumers now have an option to shop in a calmer environment and purchase top restaurant grade food. As the pandemic progresses, adding a grocery component might be a step many restaurants will take on to recoup some revenue.
We spoke to Curtis Stone to ask his opinion on the current situation, how he feels it is effecting restaurants and we wanted to know a little bit more about what inspired him to take the novel step of selling produce direct to consumer.
So it’s been a giant shift. It’s like closing down one business and opening another.- Curtis Stone
Jide Buckley, CEO of Table One: So, how did you come up with this idea?
Curtis Stone, Owner/Head Chef of Gwen: My wife called me and said she had a bunch of girlfriends that needed me to drop off bags of food to. So we started packing up a bunch of meats and vegetables, and I was sort of thinking about it. And then she said ‘My God, now they’ve told a bunch of their girlfriends, can you drop some off for them as well?’ And I was like hmm, there’s a whole business in grocery delivery, not that we’re a grocery deliverer, and I wondered if our guests would like this as well. So that’s where it all came from.
J: Have you noticed more people coming in? For this?
C: It’s only been a day since we started doing this. So, our butcher shop is still open, and we’ve been very busy. People have been coming in to buy chicken and meats, and all sorts of protein and by doing that, they’re seeing the vegetables and getting some of that as well.
J: How has delivery or takeaway been going? Has it been something seamless for you guys?
C: Not really, it’s been a challenge. We’re not a take out restaurant - necessarily, well, we don’t do it all. So it’s been a giant shift. It’s like closing down one business and opening another. Now try and do that over night. We’re trying to keep much of the staff working as much as we can. It’s been a race. You’ve got to be as fast and efficient as you possibly can. We’ve been having a hard time, as you can imagine.
J: Well, you have been doing a great job on social media sharing what you’re doing during these volatile times.
C: We’re trying to be as dynamic as we can. It’s a challenging time. I spoke about this a couple days ago. We can all sit around and talk about how crazy this all is, and how difficult it is. Or, we can just come up with solutions and service our customers as best as we can. Try and take as much revenue as we can. Keep as much staff here as much as we can. So, it’s a ground game. It’s a totally different experience for all of us, and all these guys have worked in Michelin Starred restaurants. Now here we are making chicken soup for people, we’re very happy to do it, it’s just different.
Curtis’ dynamic customer driven response will hopefully pioneer a new way for restaurants to continue to provide value to customers and ensure that those who have missed out on their essentials can shop for high quality ingredients in a calm and safe space.
Gwen is not currently participating with Table One however we still encourage you to visit Gwen at 6600 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Their butcher counter and corner store will be open every day between 10am - 7pm. Delivery and takeaway are available through their website, www.gwenla.com or by calling 323-946-7513.
PR Manager & Chief Editor.
The restaurant sector, prior to the immediate effects of COVID-19, has been extremely volatile. From January to February 2020 consumer confidence dropped 6 points from 99.8 to 93.8. .
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