Editor’s Note: COVID-19 has impacted every part of our lives since it first appeared in Kansas a little more than two weeks ago.
From local shops, restaurants and bars having to drastically alter the way they do business, to shutting down many forms of entertainment, the coronavirus’ reach has been tremendous.
In the coming days, The Emporia Gazette will be speaking with local business owners and area residents to see how the pandemic is effecting their lives.
Today, The Gazette speaks with Bobby Doudican, owner of Bobby D’s Merchant Street BBQ.
Q How has business been impacted by COVID-19?
A “It’s affected us just like every other business,” Doudican said. “Everything is slowing down and people are worried, but people have also been mindful of others from what we’ve seen so far. We’re trying to hang in the best we can as far as getting members of the community food, because it’s a very important thing.
“Carryout has been running smoothly, but because of staffing issues we may have to cease doing delivery. Some of the problems we’re running into comes with everybody wanting their lunch at the same time. We’re taking all these orders online, but there is still some backup in the way we can prepare those orders so we can get them out fresh. We’re at the point where we get 25 orders all at noon, and that backs things up. So far, our supply line has been functioning as usual, so that’s been great to see. We’re probably going to go to a more limited menu in the near future so we can speed up our process of getting the food out, but we’ll let everyone know more on the plan before we do that.”
Q How has the virus impacted your staff?
A “Our staff has been very willing to work, but the business doesn’t justify me having everybody that I’ve had before,” Doudican said. “It just breaks my heart that I can’t do that. I’m trying to keep as many people employed as I can, but at the same time, we’re utilizing the regulations and recommendations from the CDC to keep everyone as safe as possible.”
Q Do you have a long-term plan?
A “My plan is to stay open for as long as I can,” Doudican said. “I’m going to work with my employees and work with the community to do anything I can to help, or try to help. It’s about looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Q How can the community support you during this time?
A “The community can support us best at this time by doing what is right,” Doudican said. “If you don’t feel well; stay home. Wash your hands, stay mindful of social distancing, especially when you come in to pick up food. We’re here to protect you, but you’ve got to help protect us, also. Really, you should be mindful of those things everywhere, not just when it involves food and restaurants. If you don’t have to get out; don’t get out… Other than that, I’d really also just like everyone to know that we’re doing the best we can given all the circumstances. We really appreciate all the support we’ve gotten so far.”