Opening a small business has presented a number of challenges and opportunities for Ben and Ali Koenig over the last five years, but the latest disruptions due to the novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, have set a new course for the future of business as they know it. The Koenig’s opened Heritage Eats in Napa’s Bel Aire Plaza in 2015 to bring the valley a globally inspired, fast-fine restaurant concept that also thinks and acts locally.
“We are fully supportive of the CDC guidelines to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and hope to adapt to changes in operations to continue to be a community resource for years to come,” Ben explains.
The state of California and now locally within Napa County with the latest shelter-in-place guidelines, have required a variety of businesses including restaurants to change how they interact with their guests and customers to ensure social distancing, a key guideline to containing the virus. For restaurants, businesses are required to serve their food as to-go or delivery only.
“At first we were in complete shock—how could this be? How would we survive?” Ben says. “But we quickly tried to shift our thinking to find ways to be a community resource when it is needed the most.”
This creative thinking led to developing the “Heritage @ Home” program, a new staple grocery program that allows Napa locals to get fresh food and essential products delivered to their doorstop. The menu includes items such as eggs, milk, butter, meat and even toilet paper. Orders are taken online, or over the phone, and delivery is handled the next day within a window of time that works for the guest. Other new menu items include the Papa K Burger and Mama K Duck Bao, a nod to Ben’s parents who have helped build the business since day one.
Additionally, the Koenig’s switched their “Dine & Donate” program that benefits local organizations to “Dine OUT & Donate”. This allows them to continue to partner locally and donate portions of sales tied to the fundraising event to the organization in need. Their first Dine OUT & Donate event is with Community Action of Napa Valley (CAN-V), a local organization helping to increase self-determination and self-sufficiency for low-income families, disadvantaged people, and senior citizens in the community. Since the crisis, CAN-V has needed to put significant emphasis on their Meals on Wheels program to help feed the valley.
“We’re trying to help keep community spirit up during this challenging time,” Ali adds. “Everyone’s life has been upended but at the end of the day, we need to stick together and continue to invest in our community”.
Heritage Eats is open daily from 11am to 8pm, offering take-out and delivery throughout the day.