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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Amid coronavirus outbreak, Des Moines restaurants change formula to stay afloat

Because of COVID-19, no restaurant's dining room is open. How can places that rely on getting you through the door, like Exile and Bubba, keep up business?

DES MOINES, Iowa — The streets of downtown Des Moines are barren; the COVID-19 outbreak has all but taken away business for many restaurants, as they've been ordered to go solely to carry-out and/or delivery.  As a result, they've been forced to get a little creative.

Places that normally rely on getting you in the door have moved to takeout systems.  Meanwhile, Exile Brewing Co. is offering beer pickup and dinner delivery for beer.  But it's not enough to keep up.

"Hopefully other places are doing well on this, but we are down to 25 percent of our regular revenue.  And that's just completely unsustainable," RJ Tursi, Exile's founder, said.

And it's not just Exile that's been affected; most places have also had to drastically cut down on staff.

"There's almost no staff left, so this is a very tough thing for us," said Chris Diebel, a managing partner at Bubba Southern Comforts. "We've been a team of 40 plus for years, and we all considered ourselves not just coworkers, but family."

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This is a new situation for both of those places.  All they can do right now is wait in uncertainty as they try to weather the storm.

"We don't know if this is going to hold up, if this is going to be 48 hours of goodwill and things will die off, or are we going to see a continued stream of carry out and delivery," Diebel said.

"It helps.  Every little bit helps," Tursi said.  "It slows the bleed a little bit, but are we still bleeding? Probably."

If you'd like to know what other businesses are open for takeout and delivery, click here.

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