Krazy Hog BBQ and DoorDash have teamed up to open a delivery-only location eight months after the restaurant shut its doors due to COVID-19. The partnership reopens Krazy Hog for delivery, helping the restaurant reach new customers and grow their business amidst one of the toughest times in the restaurant industry. The announcement is part of a new initiative from DoorDash which sets out to help select local merchants who have shuttered operations to strategically reopen for delivery.

Krazy Hog BBQ, owned by Victor and Dana Cooksey, quickly became the heartbeat of their community. Like the Cooksey’s home, the restaurant was a place for celebrations, post-church gatherings, happy hours, and birthday parties. The restaurant is known for its rib tips and its “Magnolia Sweet” sauce, a made-from-scratch sauce and a recipe handed down from Dana Cooksey’s grandmother. 

In March of 2020, faced with a statewide executive order to shut down dine-in operations, supply chain shortages, and safety concerns for their staff, the Cookseys made the hard decision to close Krazy Hog BBQ. 

“We could plan for our futures, but we couldn’t plan for the pandemic,” says Dana Cooksey. “The first thing I thought of when I heard the executive order in March was, ‘Who is going to feed our customers? There was a massive fear factor – the future was uncertain and overnight our business came to a halt.”

DoorDash has worked closely with the Cooksey family over the last few months, alongside virtual kitchen operator Á La Couch, to help bring the Krazy Hog vision to life in a new delivery-only model. Krazy Hog staff will continue to cook their food, including barbecuing their meats and making batches of their world famous sauces, Á La Couch staff will prepare and assemble the orders, and DoorDash will support by facilitating the last-mile delivery. The new location, operating out of Á la Couch’s Lincoln Park facility, will reintroduce the feeling, flavors, faith and familiarity of Krazy Hog while helping them reach new customers for the first time.  This enables the restaurant to regain their footing as they set up a new, permanent location in the South Suburbs. Eventually, both the delivery-only kitchen and a new southside location will operate in the Chicago area. 

“Every business needs to learn how to pivot. It feels like DoorDash said, ‘We got you.’ We understand your business and we’re going to find a way to make it work. Together with DoorDash’s expertise, this new concept will help us sustain an off-premise operation and ultimately help us focus on bringing back the neighborhood restaurant how we want to,” says Victor Cooksey. 

“I like to think of DoorDash and delivery – as the new potluck,” Dana Cooksey adds. “The experience is and will always be the food – my grandma’s sauce, the sides, the platters of my dad’s meat – it’s just about how to get it to you. We see our business shifting towards virtual parties and gatherings in this new world but the heart and soul remains the food.”

In response to the health and economic crisis’ effect on the restaurant industry, DoorDash in May announced Main Street Strong, an ongoing commitment to helping merchants navigate through the effects of COVID-19, providing them with a variety of products and services so they can decide the best way to accelerate their businesses into the new normal. 

Now, starting with Krazy Hog BBQ in Chicago, this new initiative, Reopen for Delivery, helps restaurants to reopen by operating low-cost kitchens in order to grow their business and reach new customers—without the same overhead costs.

“While the odds of DoorDash restaurant partners remaining open during the COVID-19 pandemic are six times better compared to U.S. restaurants as a whole, there is much more to be done to continue supporting restaurants,” says Tom Pickett, Chief Revenue Officer at DoorDash. “Core to our founding mission is a commitment to providing multiple solutions for restaurants to come online in a way that makes sense for their business, and this new program is another way restaurants can adapt to the new normal. We believe that restaurants, and the people who eat there, are at the core of their local communities and cultures, and we want to help merchants who have shuttered operations to strategically reopen while adapting to the realities of operating a restaurant in today’s environment.”

With Reopen for Delivery, DoorDash is committing to providing another option for restaurants to come online with additional infrastructure, marketing and last-mile logistics support so that merchants can focus on their passion, serving their communities with great food. More specifically DoorDash is planning to: 

Help restaurants to rebuild operations through opening delivery-only spaces designed for off-premise or licensing their brands to kitchen fulfillment companies;

Provide last-mile logistics support to help merchants accelerate into this new delivery-only model;

Invest in operations and marketing support to ensure the companies can navigate the re-opening process while maintaining and growing their brands.

The story of Dana and Victor Cooksey is the story of thousands of entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The resilience of the Cooksey family, the spirit of Black entrepreneurship, and the unwavering commitment of the Chicago community to support their neighborhood is documented in Southside Magnolia, a film by Rodney Lucas. 

Rodney Lucas is a world-renowned director known for directing soulful content through the eyes of Black voices. He and other film crew members hail from the very same neighborhood that Krazy Hog calls home, adding a sense of community and familiarity to the film. 

“The South Side is the heart of resilience, and we see that through the Cookseys’ story. They’ve never accepted their fate as being closed and fought to reopen,” says Rodney Lucas. “They have an entrepreneurial spirit that runs generations deep and an unwavering faith. COVID wasn’t going to stop them. We got to document first hand how this came to life. And in their story we can see the perseverance embedded in the South Side community.”

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