Knoxville restaurant switches to carry-out only orders amid rise in COVID-19 cases

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As the number of COVID-19 cases rise in Knox County, one restaurant is taking extra precautions to keep employees and guests safe.

Despite what it could mean financially, Hard Knox Pizzeria will be closed on Mondays and switch to carry-out or curbside orders only Tuesdays through Sundays.

Matt Krawczyk, director of operations at Hard Knox, said they were thinking about their guests and employees when they made the decision.

“We love our guests, but at the same time we understand what’s going on in the world,” Krawczyk said.

Krawczyk said this time is a lot different than the start of the pandemic, when the government forced everyone to shut down and figure out how to operate differently.

He said at first, they had no idea how to switch to carry-out orders only.

They weren’t really set up like that.

“This time around, we’re a lot more comfortable with curbside. Curbside is a pretty good percentage of our sales, so you know, we know what we’re doing now,” Krawczyk said.

Krawczyk said they knew there could be financial implications of closing down the dining room and closing one day a week.

The dining room produces a good chunk of their business.

He said they did talk with their employees about it; they wanted to make sure their employees wouldn’t be financially burdened.

“As long as we can kind of take care of the hours for people that really, really need to have that paycheck week to week, we feel that we’re in good shape,” Krawczyk said.

Krawczyk said he knew not all restaurants could afford switching to carry-out only.

Pizza can travel easily while keeping it’s good flavor, so he doesn’t blame other restaurants for not following suit.

On top of that, he believed the community would be willing to support Hard Knox while they are operating carry-out only, just as they did at the beginning of the pandemic.

Krawczyk just hopes people will be able to do whatever is feasible for them to help the community stay safe while COVID-19 cases are on the rise.

“If we do what we can, hopefully other people will see it and do what they can,” Krawczyk said.

Krawczyk said Hard Knox will also be updating their to-go process to make it easier for the customers.

Those changes will come soon.

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