Coronavirus Bay Area: San Francisco restaurants get creative during COVID-19 crisis

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Saturday, March 21, 2020
SF restaurants get creative during COVID-19 crisis
Many of San Francisco's restaurants are shutting down entirely or laying off their staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ABC7 News checked in on some restaurants that are choosing to stay open and adapting to changing times to attract customers.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco's 5,000 and some restaurants are hurting right now. Many are shuttering entirely or laying off the majority of their staff.

We checked in on some businesses that are choosing to stay open and adapting to changing times, trying to stay afloat.

In San Francisco's Outer Richmond, Cassava restaurant is doing more than just take-out. There's a virtual tip jar online for their staff.

"We urge other restaurants to do the same as it'll take a long time to get their employment checks," the restaurant's owner Yuki Loroi said.

Cassava is also taking take-out orders and offering special family meals.

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Restaurants are adapting in other ways too. Instead of dishing out $170 omakase meals, one Michelin Star sushi bar Ju-Ni is offering chirashi bowls of fish and rice to go for just $35.

At Il Casaro in North Beach, they have transformed a window that's usually reserved for guests to gaze out of.

Franceso Covucci, the restaurant's owner has transformed it into a no contact takeout window. While wearing gloves, he demonstrates how easy it is for him to then set a pizza box or to-go order down on the bar so a patron can reach it.

"I want to thank the community of North Beach and all San Francisco. The pizzeria was born to bring people together. We do this with a broken heart!" Covucci said.

Others are offering discounts on pick-up and to-go orders, like Z&Y Restaurant and Chili House. Their chef Lijun Han, who has cooked for many dignitaries holds up a sign, even thanking patrons for their orders.

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Selling gift cards is another way restaurants are building up cashflow, and offering freebies. I got this Thai tea with my mango sticky rice dessert take-out at Na-Ya Desserts.

Laurie Thomas of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association also has this idea, already being used in other parts of the country to protect owners.

"A business sells something at a 25% discount. For $75 you get $100 in value. It is clearly marked should the business not reopen again it's non refundable," Thomas said.

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