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Restaurants finding ways to help out of work employees

Owners and managers get creative
Posted at 6:57 PM, Mar 18, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Restaurants are facing tough times, but one owner and one general manager are focusing on helping out of work employees. Businesses owners had to close doors Monday night at 8 p.m., only allowing take-out and delivery. That's leaving some restaurants facing a new business model, having to adapt. Governor Cuomo announced Wednesday businesses must reduce on-site workers by 50%.That has thinned restaurant staffs even more.

Brandon Carr owns the Quarter in Buffalo's Allentown district. He has been adjusting to running majority take-out and delivery for the past two days, but keeping his restaurant afloat isn't his main concern.

"Our goal right now isn't to make the restaurant survive. I'll figure out that one way or another. I'll figure out how to make the restaurant succeed in the long term future. Right now, it's keeping the staff working. Get everyone paid," Carr said.

Micah Lamarti is the general manager at Wise Guys Pizza on Seneca Street in Buffalo. At first, the restaurant ban didn't affect business, because they were majority take out and delivery. But now that half his staff is cut by half, he's worried about what happens to his people.

"Currently we have 45 employees, so cut that in half and you'll see how much it hurts," said Lamarti, "[We] really had to take a step back and think of how many of our employees have kids and really see how this is going to affect their families."

Both restaurants have decided to take measures to help their workers first.

"I'm personally doing deliveries every single day, by myself. [I'm] donating all the tips back to our staff and to keep the tipped staff members going as well," said Carr.

"We're going to take our delivery charges, pool them up and give them to all our employees who are affected by this," Lamarti said.

Both men said the support form the community has been outstanding.

"The only thing that's spreading faster than the coronavirus right now is the love and support from the people of Buffalo," Carr said.

"It's Buffalo. It's who we are, it's what we do," Lamarti said.