The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly devastated the restaurant industry, resulting in $120 billion loss in sales between March and May, according to research from the National Restaurant Association.
It has caused massive unemployment of hospitality workers and shut down tens of thousands of restaurants across the country.
While it may take a long time for the industry to recover, it is important to note that as the pandemic swept the nation, some restaurant owners were able to utilize the crisis, take a step back and transform their restaurant concept for the better.
Luckily, I was among this group of individuals. As an owner of Green Market Cafe, a local Tampa Bay restaurant group, I knew the industry would be completely transformed, and I had the option to either call it quits or make the best out of the situation and give it my all.
Shockingly, along the way I discovered a few positive ways that the pandemic impacted my business.
- I found the time to renovate and refresh the interior of the restaurants.
- I took the time to improve our operations systems, updated our manuals, itemized our prep sheets and streamlined our processes.
- I simplified our menus, refocusing on core items.
- I found new respect for third-party delivery companies, such as UberEats and DoorDash. I started a number of ghost kitchens offered through UberEats and found better ways to repurpose our ingredients. Without them, we’d be severely limited in our efforts.
- I now take a day off weekly to recharge and spend time with my family.
Tampa-based restaurateur and founder of Green Market Cafe, Andrew Koumi, opened his first storefront in 2010, while still completing his business degree from The University of Florida.
The idea behind Green Market Cafe came to Andrew as he struggled to find healthy, fresh and affordable food readily available in his college days—hence the concept of Green Market Cafe was born. From humbly opening his first location in Oldsmar, Florida, in July of 2010, to currently operating a multi-store venture he has built since, his food philosophy is composed of three simple concepts: sustainability, balanced nutrition and always-fresh—never frozen or processed—ingredients.
In addition to building a successful four-store restaurant concept in Tampa Bay, Koumi has managed to fight through the heavy competition and build up his catering operation, currently ranked as the most popular corporate caterer in the greater Tampa Bay area, outperforming both local and national chains.
Most recently, Koumi’s vision has expanded onto the retail world, making Green Market Cafe dressings available at Sprouts Farmers Markets and other various grocers—bringing the Green Market Cafe brand to consumers on a national scale.