The Carvery Sandwich Shop owner Bryan Mendiola. (Contributed photo)

South Surrey restaurant finds success amid even as COVID-19 spreads

The Carvery reached out to customers, explained steps it’s taking to disinfect store

In the midst of a “panic” over the COVID-19 global pandemic, a South Surrey business owner has carved a pathway to success and he’s sharing his advice with other small business owners.

“Wednesday, we all woke up and all of a sudden the world was ending,” The Carvery Sandwich Shop owner Bryan Mendiola told Peace Arch News Sunday morning. “That’s when everything kind of hit, the market crashed, they issued no travel from the B.C. Health Ministry. So Thursday, we were dead.”

Mendiola said he was expecting a drop in customers, but “not that dramatic and not that instant.”

Thursday, the Carvery Sandwich Shop (2430 King George Blvd.) posted a message on its social media platforms asking for support from its customers.

“The Carvery is practically empty today along with many other businesses in the area. We understand the situation and we hope that you continue to support all of us small businesses in times like this,” Mendiola wrote to the company’s Facebook page March 12. “If you are healthy go on and live normally, if you are sick stay home or see a doctor. We will do our part to keep our facility sanitized…. We need you more so than ever before.”

The Carvery followed the statement with a number of social media posts showing the steps the company is taking to disinfect high-traffic areas of the store.

RELATED: 11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., bringing total to 64

RELATED: B.C. recommends no travel outside Canada in coronavirus pandemic

“The next Friday, we were slammed. We were busy. People showed up, so I think it’s just a matter of communicating with the public, they want to feel comfortable,” Mendiola said.

Under normal circumstances, the shop only sells its fried chicken sandwich on Wednesdays. However, Mendiola said they switched that up and offered to sell the chicken sandwich on Saturday.

“Saturday was our record breaking day, and I’ve been open for four years,” Mendiola said, adding that they sold about 180-200 chicken sandwiches in two hours.

“That’s triple what we would normally… or quadruple what we’d normally do on a regular special day,” he said.

RELATED: 39 new cases bring Canada’s COVID-19 count to at least 288

Mendiola said a business owner in Australia reached out to him and asked for his advice.

“My biggest advice to everybody is just communicate with your clientele. Ask them for help. I had no problem asking my clientele, saying, ‘hey, you know, we’re experiencing slower times,’” Mendiola said.

Mendiola said business owners also have to give something back, and in his case it was explaining the steps his shop is taking to disinfect high-traffic zones and the dining area.

However, the pandemic is having an impact on other portions of his business. The Carvery, much like many other restaurants in the Semiahmoo Peninsula, offers a catering service.

RELATED: Daily update on coronavirus pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

“Big gatherings like catering events, corporate meetings and things like that are just dropping off like flies,” Mendiola said. “So that’s where I’m losing most of my business… Like, I’ve had over 10 of those cancelled just next week.”

With wedding season approaching, many brides and grooms are cancelling their event due to the virus. The cancellations directly impact businesses that offer catering services, he added.

“And those are not little accounts. Those are like $10,000-$20,000 food accounts that are being cancelled.”

Mendiola said he will have to “get creative” to make up the losses from his catering business.

“The catering world is the first thing to have been affected more so than I think the foot traffic.”

Friday, provincial health office Bonnie Henry said it’s still safe to visit restaurants.

“We’re not talking about shutting down society here,” she said. “It’s still very safe today in B.C. – all across B.C. – to go out, to go shopping, to go to restaurants.”



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

Visit us at peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

EDITORIAL: How Killer Bunnies helped save my life

“No matter what it is you’re into, it’s important to keep our minds working,” editor Adam Louis writes.

LETTER: Take only what you need

Anne White of Harrison comments on community response to COVID-19.

WATCH: Agassiz-Harrison celebrates National Puppy Day

Facebook followers posted 44 pictures of their furry friends

LETTER: The importance of local grocers

C. and B. Lang Randall reply to an ALR-related letter

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 update: U.S. expects 100,000 deaths; Oregon declares disaster

Comprehensive update of world news for Sunday, March 19.

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

‘There is community’: B.C. councillor welcomes new baby into world amid COVID-19 pandemic

‘I realize there’s much more than fear and worry… there is hope, there is new life’: Jason Lum

Most Read