‘We’re staying open for the employees’: Popular downtown spot only doing 10-20 percent of normal business

Posted at 10:23 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 00:23:55-04

Downtown Salt Lake City is usually filled with people, cars and open businesses. Now, it’s mostly quiet as the COVID-19 Pandemic takes a toll.

Many restaurants downtown have temporarily closed down, others are trying to stay open while offering curbside pickup. Takashi sushi is one of the most popular spots downtown. Usually, there will a line before the doors open and the wait time each night averages an hour or more the general manager said. Not anymore.

“We are doing about 10 percent of normal sales. 10 to 20 percent,” Richard Romney said.

The sales aren’t being used to pay the rent, Romney said.

“The only reason we are open is to provide compensation and employment for those employees who either aren’t qualifying for unemployment or aren’t qualifying for enough unemployment to survive on,” he said.

They’ve had to change their business model. Now, customers call in their order and can pay over the phone. Customers provide the make and model of their vehicle, so the curbside pick up can move quickly and seamlessly, Romney said. Plus, they are taking every precaution.

“We are taking the temperature of every employee as they enter the building. We are using masks and gloves. We are changing gloves every 15- 20 minutes,” Romney said. Everything is constantly being sanitized and cleaned.

“We bag everything up, tie it up so it is secure and one of the things we are doing is providing a pair of disposable gloves with each order,” he said.

According to the FDA, “Currently there is no evidence of food, food containers, or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19.”

One wish to help with business, Romney said, would be for alcohol sales to be allowed curbside. Several states across the country are allowing those sales, Utah is not one of those states as of now.

More: COVID-19 closures statewide for Utah restaurants; bars will have to go dry.

While business has been slow, a steady stream of supporters have continued to order off the new condensed menu.

“It’s about an hour for us to go all the up and all the way back down to get sushi,” Angie Johnson said. She and her husband have been coming each week since the pandemic started to support Takashi.

For the latest COVID-19 updates in Utah, click here.