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Centretown restaurant pulls some ropes to attract customers during COVID-19 pandemic
Grounded Kitchen & Coffeehouse owner Amir Rahim lowers an online order down for curb-side pickup. Ottawa, ON. June 4, 2020. (Tyler Fleming /CTV News Ottawa)
OTTAWA -- As the City of Ottawa and Ontario carefully continues to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more restaurants are offering curbside pickup.
The best way to attract customers is good food or maybe an attraction to turn your eye, one local restaurant was able to pull ... or pulley, off both.
For a restaurant to succeed the recipe is simple.
Good food; Lauren Vanderberg ordered a delicious curry lunch, some beers, ramen broth and some handmade pasta.
Great service; Troy Curtis and Maddy Hadfield live nearby and say it is great for them.
And loyal customers; Dave Desabrais drove downtown to Grounded Kitchen & Coffeehouse from Barrhaven to pickup lunch. He has been coming here since they opened.
Only some of the quality ingredients that have been served up by owner Amir Rahim for ten years. However, lately, the business has seen some ups and downs.
"This is something I've been doing for 30 years now and I don't know how to do anything else as well as this and with as much fun and passion," Rahim says. "We do a strong catering business in the downtown core as well so prior to March 15 our sales had already dropped close to 40 per cent."
Many of the office buildings that surround his restaurant are still closed, and in the three weeks he has been open, Rahim describes his revenue as "okay."
So in order to attract some new customers he decided to pull some ropes.
"I come up with these hair-brain ideas."
The kitchen and coffee house on Gloucester Street found a unique way to serve up their fare, using what they call their "innovative pulley system." The restaurant is a half a floor above the sidewalk so when customers arrive to pick up their order, the items are placed into a wooden box attached to pulleys and ropes which is lower down to them.
"The food gets packaged responsibly," says Rahim. "Then the bag goes onto one end of the pulley and then the basket gets lowered and customers come and pick up their stuff."
The contraption is getting attention as well. When Maddy and Troy were walking by, they couldn't help but to stop and take a look. Then they looked at the menu and decided to make an order.
That menu is online. While the restaurant will not say no to cash or tap, their website is the preferred method of payment and it is quick. They have placed a barcode on the outside, navigating to the website is easy and the layout is simple and effective. The two did not have to wait long to get their order.
The family-run kitchen and coffeehouse has mixed all the right ingredients. Rahim notes that his team of employees are his family as well, and that he is blessed to have them.
As the city slowly reopens, Rahim is looking to the future, thankful that he can still open with the passion and hope of wanting to make it great.
The pulley system also makes for a great social media post.