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Phoenix BBQ restaurant gives all proceeds to employees after deciding to close over coronavirus

Little Miss BBQ owner Scott Holmes says it's about weighing its staff's safety and livelihood.

PHOENIX — As the world as we know it is grinding to a halt, the crew at Little Miss BBQ is going full speed ahead.

It's been less than 24 hours since Phoenix bars and restaurants had to follow city orders to close or switch to take-out and drive-thru only.  And the transition has been rough.

"The smart decision was just to close it all up," said owner Scott Holmes.

He made the call Tuesday night. Long-term take-out just won't work and he doesn't want to put his employees' health at risk.

Both of their Little Miss BBQ locations will be closed after Wednesday.

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"I don't want our staff to potentially take anything home with them that could affect their immediate family," he said. "I don’t want to have that on my conscience."

What's also weighing on him is how his 45 employees will survive without their jobs, so he made another decision.

"Let's just give them all the money for everything that we bring in today. Hopefully, it’s a huge day today."

If customers are any gauge, it's on track to be huge. Their University location sold out before lunchtime and their Sunnyslope location has had a stream of cars nonstop, some waiting for more than an hour in the rain, just to get a taste of the way things used to be before the coronavirus.

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Plus, he said all their food in storage will go to their workers.

"It's not about money at this point," Holmes says. "It’s not about staying open. It’s let’s make sure people are safe."

When they opened Holmes says he and his wife Bekke had a simple goal.

"Of course it’s about BBQ, but it’s about community."

One they're still trying to serve as they let go of their dream to embrace reality.

"It’s just a question when," he says. "But we will be reopening."

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