With "Best of Bailey's," Dave Bailey is taking care of his furloughed employees.
For Dave and Kara Bailey, owners of Baileys' Restaurants (www.baileysrestaurants.com)
, the hardest part of being restaurateurs during the COVID-19 pandemic has not been the loss of revenue or the uncertainty of reopening — it's been watching as their employees lives are upended.
"Furloughing is really hard," Dave says. "It was crazy how the people I ended up furloughing face-to-face would say, 'It's OK. It's not your fault. Are you OK?'"
With their dining rooms shuttered, the Baileys may not yet be in a position to bring their employees back to work, but they are doing everything in their power to make sure that they're taken care of during this difficult time. On April 10, the restaurant group launched Best of Baileys', a grocery pickup and delivery service, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to feeding its staff and their families.
Shoppers can choose from five different grocery box options, from a simple "Just the Basics" that includes a dozen eggs, a gallon of milk, two loaves of bread, two pounds of chicken, eight ounces of cheese and fifteen pounds of fresh vegetables, to the more indulgent "Creature Comforts Box" with everything from smoked salmon and crabmeat to Nutella, a roll of chocolate chip cookie dough and a pound of coffee. Items ranging from hand sanitizer to Bloody Mary kits are available a la carte, as is, of course, the ever-elusive toilet paper, which comes with every grocery box.
As Bailey explains, the idea for the grocery boxes came to him and Kara as a way to ensure that their employees remain fed while they are out of work. Because the decision to shut down was so rapid, the restaurant had on hand an abundance of food that they would have to either throw out or find another use for. It made sense that the food should go to the employees whose income evaporated in the wake of the pandemic.
When their on-hand food dwindled, the Baileys turned to the grocery boxes as a way to continue their efforts. They've been heartened not only by the response — including donations of both food and money from individuals — but also by the furloughed employees who have pitched in to deliver the meals to their colleagues who have a hard time getting to the restaurants for the food.
The Baileys also hope that their boxes are a way to help customers who are having trouble getting what they need from grocery stores.
"We saw that people were trying to order groceries and other creature comforts and it was taking five days," Dave Bailey explains. "We realized that we could provide those things and it won't be like online service where there are a million substitutions and only a third of it shows up. We're lucky that, on our side, the supply chain is robust. We can get what people need."
The Baileys will have new products as they become available and are also asking their customers to tell them what they want, because, chances are, they can get it. As they see it, they will keep up this side of the business for as long as the situation dictates. As Dave Bailey notes, it's the best way they have to help those who need it.
"We want to do our best to be able to rise to meet the needs of our employees as much as possible."
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