Charlotte restaurants shift to home delivery, takeout with skeleton crews after government mandate

Outbreak leaves restaurant workers without jobs

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As restaurants and bars are ordered to close their dining rooms, they are having to get creative to keep business going.

That includes take-out, home delivery, and curbside pickup. But for many, it also includes major cuts to the staff.

“I would like to say it was all hands on deck, but it wasn’t,” Jamie Brown says. “We had to leave behind about 85 people.”

Brown is co-owner of NoDa’s Crepe Cellar, Growlers Pourhouse, Haberdish, and Reigning Doughnuts.

“We’re really hoping to just bridge the gap, hoping to just make it through,” she says.

The need to get creative extends to breweries, many serving beer by the can or bottle from tents outside their buildings, or bringing them straight to the customers.

“We’re no longer bartenders,” Divine Barrel Brewing Co-Owner Gavin Toth says. “We’re delivery people now.”

Some businesses like Divine Barrel are able to keep full-time employees on, through the shift in their business model.

“We’ve got to make sure we keep our employees whole, so we’ve got to sell beer,” Toth says.

For servers, bartenders, and chefs who have lost their jobs, it is a waiting game.

“Right now, I’m struggling with, ‘Should I pay rent, should I pay my phone bill, should I do this, should I do that?’” now former Cowfish employee Brandon McMillon asks.

He and his former coworkers are now sorting out whether to apply for unemployment, and whether to look for temporary work, while they wonder how long this will last.

“What can I do with what I have now, essentially” he says. “Trying to make it stretch.”

Restaurant owners wonder the same.

“Like everybody, we don’t know what to expect,” Brown says.

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