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Valley restaurants adapting to new consumers needs during the pandemic

Restauranteurs are hoping for a full recovery this fall.

PHOENIX — There is no doubt the restaurant industry took a huge hit during the pandemic, and many did not survive but those who did found ways to adapt.

When COVID-19 forced restaurants to close their doors, many switched to take out orders and delivery services.

“To adapt to what has been thrown at the industry over the last 12 or 14 months has been incredible,” said Susie Timm with Knife and Fork Media Group.

Timm says if all goes well, local restaurants are hoping for a full recovery this fall but says restauranteurs shouldn’t expect life to return to pre-pandemic times. They need to be flexible with the new consumers who have developed new dining habits.

“We’ve converted a whole section of people to be willing to order through different channels and to understand what using an App or website for calling in an order and doing takeout,” said Timm.

Some new establishments in the Valley are catering to that new consumer.

A new takeout has opened in Ahwatukee off of Chandler Blvd and the Desert Foothills Parkway.

“Hot spaghetti to go, basically,” said Laura Lopez who opened ‘By the Bucket.’

The Italian food takeout is based on the original shop in Payson. Lopez entered into a licensing agreement and open a few weeks ago.

“The fact that it was just another option for fast food take-out was very appealing to me,” said Lopez.

You can order spaghetti by the bucket, meatball sandwiches and even cheesecake.

It’s all take-out. So, with no need for a dining room, staffing is kept low. All things that prepped her for this new world.

“Just because it’s spaghetti and reminds me of home – home cooking. Yeah, win-win,” said Lopez.

In the Coronado Neighborhood in Central Phoenix Marcus Sanchez and Homero Medrano are serving up their best coffee and food right outside their window. It’s located in the ‘Hive on 16th’ which is home to 12 art shops located on 16th Street and McDowell.

“Covid going on - we just wanted that open space concept where people can social distance still,” said Sanchez.

Customers come right up to the window and pick up their orders and socialize in a shared modern space just outside their window where all visitors can still be social.

“Still have that connection we have been missing for a real long time,” said Sanchez.

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