Lifestyle reached out to businesspeople all over South Florida—in categories ranging from retail and real estate to medical and automotive—and asked three questions: How did COVID-19 and the shutdown impact your business; how did you position your business in the interim; how will experiencing this unprecedented pandemic change the way you conduct business moving forward? Today, we check in with Dyan Harpest, owner of Dyan’s Country Kitchen in Coral Springs.
Business backstory: Since opening in 2006, this homestyle restaurant/deli has endeared itself to the Coral Springs community. Harpest, who previously operated Duffy’s Diner in Fort Lauderdale, pours her heart into the business, which, under normal circumstances, serves everything under the sun—breakfast offerings, wraps, soups, sandwiches, salads, dinner entrées, desserts, bagels, and even egg creams. (dyanscountrykitchen.com)
The impact: “I was hopeful to keep things going; we adjusted our hours [of operation] to offset expenses, food costs, labor, utilities, etc. I wanted to provide food for our guests and accommodate their individual circumstances: older people, working people, special family needs, isolated people. As the severity of COVID-19 became clear, we transitioned to just myself and my chef, assisted at times by my deli man. We thought this would keep us in a good operating position, but it became too difficult to stay open for takeout, curbside and delivery. So, we shut down temporarily. I stayed in contact with my employees and began the process of applying for relief grants and loans, so I could assist them if needed. I have about 14 full-time employees. It was a good time to start some minor renovations at the restaurant, so I utilized a few employees and family members skilled in these areas. Plus, it was a way to pay some of them.”
In the interim: “We all will be ready to come back better, stronger and happy to be working again. I picture seeing many smiling faces. I will be offering some discounts and special offers to my dear customers to welcome them back.”
The future: “To have a small business in our community is a gift to me. To know my business well, not take a day for granted, work hard and do things right is all second-nature. But to provide jobs to others and to provide something special to people and make their day—through a delicious meal and a friendly hello—those are the true rewards. To know the sacrifices that we all make is what connects us and makes us who we are. My family is at the heart of all I do, and we will all continue to be the best versions of ourselves in all the good times and the bad.”