Business as Unusual: The Fish Joint

Lifestyle continues to reach out to businesspeople all over South Florida to ask three questions: How did COVID-19 and the shutdown impact your business; how did you position the business for success amid reopening; how will experiencing this unprecedented pandemic change the way you conduct business moving forward? Today, we check in with Zach Parker of The Fish Joint. Editor’s note: This interview was conducted prior to Phase 1 reopening for Broward County.

Backstory: At one of Coconut Creek’s newer dining establishments, the menu offers items such as clams, mussels, fish and chips, snapper sandwiches, grilled shrimp tacos and fried shrimp po boy (pictured above).

The impact: At first, [the pandemic] totally stopped business. With being pretty new and having a small amount of seating, it was like just hitting a wall.

In the interim: We reacted pretty fast. We were able to get set up on Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub and really transition to more of a takeout and delivery [restaurant]. That is very challenging. We are trying to use the best containers to keep the food as hot and fresh as possible. It is difficult because we do not have control of the drivers. Sometimes they show up on time and sometimes they are an hour late.

We always were very big on sanitation so that was not a big change for us. We did put some new procedures in place as far as how often hands had to be washed, and everything needed to be wiped down every 20 minutes. Gloves were and will always be used. Masks are being worn as well.

The future: I feel like we have made some pretty big changes, and we have some big ones on the way. We now deliver our own food as well as [using] the delivery services. Starting in May, we will convert some of the dining room into a market where we will offer fresh fish and seafood for sale. We will also have a very nice selection of prepared items that will be easy to prepare at home. I think this is going to be a really great addition.

Giving back: We have sent lunches to a few of the fire stations and set up a special menu for police officers and firefighters. One of the things that we are most proud of is the relationship we created with Northwest Medical Center. We have been providing lunch every day since the second week of all this to the nurses. It’s a lot of food, especially during these times, but it is the least we can do. Some of the calls we received from the nurses thanking us makes it all worth it.

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