BEACHWOOD, Ohio — Carl Quiagliati, the owner of Giovanni’s Ristorante in Beachwood, said for the most part, the restaurant has been making wine out of 2020’s sour grapes.
“We were very, very busy right up until last month,” he said. “The weather turned, we lost all of our patio business.”
With the end of patio season, comes the beginning of a new, tougher season.
“I’m 82 years old and I’ve never experienced anything like this,” said Quiagliati. “People are just afraid to go out.”
He said December is typically the restaurant’s busiest month and, right now, the sales are down about 50%.
He doesn’t use any third party delivery services like UberEats or GrubHub because of the fees those services charge the restaurants.
“They want 30% of your sales,” he said.
But now, with the city of Beachwood’s help, he doesn’t have to use those services. He’s one of nine Beachwood restaurants that will be a part of a new initiative called Beachwood Delivers.
It’s a fee-free service where city contracted drivers deliver orders from Beachwood restaurants to Beachwood homes.
“The beauty of it is the entire price of what you pay for your food stays with the restaurant,” said Karen Carmen the city’s community service director.
The city is hiring six to eight drivers and will pay $20 an hour. The program is funded by $10,000 of city money.
“That funds us at least a month, maybe a little more, and then based upon the success of the program we will see if we will get additional revenue that we can to continue,” said Carmen.
The goal is to help restaurants retain and sustain.
“If we can keep them whole for a little bit longer, just get them through these rough patches, as we know them today, especially with the bad weather, I think it will be a win-win for everybody,” she said.
Yours Truly Restaurants is also a part of the program. Art Shibley, the cofounder, said even short term delivery help will go a long way.
“The dollars that they spend doing this, rather than splitting up money between us and saying ‘Ok here’s a couple thousand dollars,’ this will go a lot further than that,” said Shibley.
Quiagliati said while the future is uncertain, he’s thankful for any glimmer of hope.
“So many restaurants are going out of business,” he said. “I think it will help tremendously.”
Beachwood Delivers should launch sometime this week. It will run through the end of February.
Here’s a list of restaurants involved:
- Blu, the Restaurant
- BOMBA Taco + Bar
- Cedar Creek Grille
- Giovanni’s Ristorante
- Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse
- Lindey’s Lake House
- Tres Portillos
- Winking Lizard
- Yours Truly