Local business adapting in order to survive during the coronavirus pandemic


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, small businesses are forced to adapt in order to survive.

WATE Six On Your Side’s Don Dare shows you how a restaurant owner has been able to remain open and keep his customers happy.

For restaurants that had take-out service as part of their business model before the pandemic, it has proven to be one way of staying in business, as long as you’re not too big.

For 46 years, Jacob Kamar has been preparing lunch meals at the restaurant he owns in Knoxville. Following the closure of restaurant dining rooms a month ago, he was forced to quickly come up with a plan to keep his business running and his staff employed.

Around 80% of his customers were those who enjoyed sit-down service; take out was had been a small portion of his business.

“It’s very tough. We have lost 50% of our business, very close to it. Now it is take-out only, that’s the only thing that keeps the doors open. I came here the other day and I literally cried because the dining room was empty. I cannot get used to it.”

Jacob Kamar – Restaurant owner

“We kind of decided we wanted to keep on working, and hang in there for the community, for ourselves, and for our employees. We needed to keep working.”

Rhonda Kamar

Jim Shore is a regular customer at Jacob’s Restaurant Grill.

Today he ordered not only for himself and his wife, but his two grandchildren who are at home from school. He says small businesses like this one are the backbone of a community.

“It’s very important. I want to see him remain open. You can come in, order it and go. It works for me.”

Jim Shore

Kamar is confident he’ll be able to ride out the storm of the pandemic. He said he owes it to his loyal customers.

“I promised them I will not shut down. I am going to keep my promise.”

Jacob Kamar

Despite the impressive resolve of Kamar during this time, the impact of COVID-19 to his business along with millions of other small business owners and employees across the country is shocking.

According to the National Restaurant Association, since March 1, the industry has lost more than 3 million jobs and roughly 50% of restaurant operations anticipate having to lay off more people in April.

One simple way that you can help your favorite local restaurant is to order their food for delivery and/or pick-up.

That not only helps support small business owners, but also allows them to keep more of their staff employed.

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