Oakland movie theater creates 'meal crate' food delivery service to stay afloat during COVID-19

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Movie theaters are just one of the industries that have been hit hard with no reopening date in sight. During the coronavirus pandemic, businesses have had to change their business model to adapt.

An Oakland theater is doing just that and has gone from selling box office tickets to serving up pre-made meals.

The New Parkway Theater in Oakland provides a unique experience with lounge-style seating, a vegan option menu along with karaoke and bingo nights.

The theater shut its doors just days before the shelter-in-place order and has been losing $180,000 a month.

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"I don't even think that we imagined that we would be sitting here mid-July and still not have an opening day on the horizon," said Carlos Courtade, who runs community outreach of the New Parkway Theater.



Two weeks after the shutdown, the New Parkway Theater decided to think outside the box and adapt during the times of COVID-19.

"We are a little bit different from other movies theaters because we have a full kitchen and we adopted a meal crate program," said Courtade. "Even if you are vegan, vegetarian, whatever it is. There are options for everybody."

The theater provides new menu options each week with prepared meals that can be delivered to your door. A full meal crate contains 16 quarts of food and is sold for $120.

Half meal crate options are also available.

You can enjoy dishes like mushroom risotto, chicken Parmesan and more.

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"Our meal crate program is selling out pretty much every week," said Courtade. "It is helping us out more than we can ever have imagined. Now, it turns out that this is keeping our heads above water. We realized that this is a turning point for a lot of small businesses. This is a crossroad. It is essentially who can adapt the fastest and that was a decision we made, to find something that worked."

The meal crate program isn't totally making up for lost revenue but its success now has the New Parkway aiming to keep the program when it's able to reopen its doors to movie audiences.

"The program has been so successful, even when we get back to whatever normal looks like once this is over. It is something that are considering keeping," he said.

To participate in The Parkway Theater Food Crate Program or for more information visit their website.

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