Restaurants in town have understandably lost a lot of business, leading to staff layoffs in what could be a make or break time due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sam Labib, the owner of The Foxboro House of Pizza which moved from Bird Street to Central Street four months ago with a full bar and dining service, said his business has tanked by 90 percent and he’s had to lay off a total of 8 staff member — 5 bartenders and 3 of the kitchen crew.
“It’s very bad. It’s very slow. We are not sure how long we will survive as a small business,” said Labib who is originally from Egypt and has owned Foxboro House of Pizza since 2009.
“I hope this will be done quickly. I hope the business and economy get back up again,” he said.
A Foxboro resident Shawn Joia is one of the few of the restaurant’s customers coming in to pick up food for takeout.
“We are comfortable. I see things are very clean and sanitized here,” Joia said. He also uses the opportunity to get out of the house, tired of staying indoors all the time.
Executive chef Dan Lane at the Union Straw Restaurant said: “The hardest part of this whole ordeal was having to temporarily lay off 40-45 employees. We love them and they are our backbone.
Thankfully, the Commonwealth has taken some productive measures to help those impacted in the restaurant industry. We intend to hire everyone back as we adjust to the new dining routine we are all faced with,” he said.
Lane said it’s been amazing to see everyone’s ability to adapt and react in these ever-changing times.
“We’re just taking this one day at a time. We can only control what we can control. For now, we put our heads down and continue to make delicious food for the community for the takeout and delivery,” he said.”We are so humbled and grateful for all the local support we’ve received. We want to keep our local vendors and farmers in business, and by helping small businesses, the community can do just that.”
Lane said the restaurant is currently evaluating every option and whether to get support in terms of low-interest loans.
For now, he’s trying to maintain a somewhat low-stress environment — given the circumstances.
“I think we all operate better by keeping a cooler head about things we just can’t control. However, we have fears, we want our loved ones to stay healthy and thrive,” he said. “As a chef, I’m also naturally concerned with people’s access to food. Food insecurity happens in every town,” Lane said.
Lane said his team appreciates all the support from Foxboro and surrounding communities.
He said to draw in customers, the restaurant has instituted 15 percent off on all takeout orders and family-style meals from 4 to 8 p.m., “and we will even run the food out to you curbside,” he said.
Tom Perruna, general manager for the Italian restaurant Tavolino located at Patriot Place, said like other restaurants across the state, they are currently closed for dine-in business, but are offering both takeout and delivery service.
“We are staying positive during this uncertain time. The biggest fear is that we don’t know what the future will bring tomorrow, next week or next month,” he said. “But in difficult times like now, it is inspiring and uplifting to see people pull together to help each other out. We are all in this together and need to continue to do the right thing now so that we can all come out of this together.”