CLEVELAND — Brett Sawyer has been in the restaurant industry for years. He’s had his ups and his downs, but never dealt with anything quite like COVID-19.
“I’ve never seen something like this happen,” he said.
He is part owner of The Plum and Good Company, two Cleveland restaurants.
“We serve a very eclectic menu,” he said.
On a typical Friday night about eight months ago those two restaurants would make some good money.
“It would be a pretty bustling place, very lively, a lot of food going out and people just having a good time,” he said.
But now, sitting in The Plum on a Friday night, all is quiet.
“It’s not an easy decision to make to close both of your businesses, trust me on that. But we knew that if we didn’t do this, come February or March, if we continue to operate with this kind of situation, we would not survive,” said Sawyer.
For the time being, The Plum and Good Company have closed their kitchens.
In the summer, after initial COVID-19 restrictions lifted, both restaurants never reopened their inside dining rooms. The Plum opened its patio but Good Company didn’t have much of a patio, so outdoor eating wasn’t an option for it.
“We decided for the safety of our guests and the safety of our team to have both places not to open indoors because we feel as though it’s not a safe environment indoors without masks on eating, drinking and talking and laughing,” he said.
Now, with winter on the horizon and COVID-19 cases surging, Sawyer said financially they couldn’t sustain just operating on takeout orders.
“Being open was us just losing money. This was a decision we had to make because we can’t sustain that way,” he said.
Sawyer said he’s confident that this is the best move for them right now in order to stay open in the future.
“My hope is that we will see some big changes in how the restaurant industry performs, in general, and how we do things in the restaurant industry,” he said. “We have some positive changes moving forward and we hope to be very much a leader of that in the city.”
Sawyer said the plan is for The Plum and Good Company to reopen in April.