In this week’s Business Beat, some restaurant owners call them the lifeline of their business. We’re talking about their regulars.
“I feel very special and very lucky to have that regular base that are supporting us through thick and thin,” said Tiffany Craig, owner Charlie’s Main St. Cafe.
Craig owns Charlie’s Main St. Cafe in Minot. And even while the cafe is closed, her regulars haven’t been strangers. Like a couple of friends who have kept up a morning tradition.
“I’d always see like when we were open at 7:30 just like clock-work, order the same thing, usually. And since this happened, they started eating outside with a chair and in their car. It’s pretty amazing to see how they’re keeping the tradition going,” Craig said.
Craig said it’s been hard not interacting with her regulars every day, but offering delivery and take-out have helped her maintain relationships with most of them. Like Jennifer Woiwode, who eats there two to three times a week.
“Every once in a while an omelet or French toast, but mostly chocolate chip pancakes,” Woiwode said.
She’s actually a big reason that the cafe is offering delivery.
“She messaged me and she goes, ‘We’re actually starting to think about doing deliveries. How would you like to be my guinea pig?’ And I was like, ‘Absolutely!’ Anything I can do to get my favorite food that I don’t have to go anywhere for is perfect,” said Woiwode.
Many of Craig’s regulars are in high-risk populations. Offering delivery gives her the chance to find out how they’re doing during this time of uncertainty.
“I got a phone call from a person in California wanting to order for their brother who happened to be my regular. I was able to see him, see how he’s doing and get in touch with his family,” Craig said.
In Bismarck, the Little Cottage Cafe opened up on Wednesday for to-go orders. When the owners showed up to work, they were surprised by some familiar faces.
“It was emotional. Being here, doing this for 23 years and I’ve seen a lot of people come and go. A majority of my customers over 23 years have passed on and the people that come here in the morning, and sit out here and drink coffee, they’ve been coming here every day for the last 23 years that I’ve been here. It meant a lot to me,” said Robert Serr, owner, Little Cottage Cafe.
Restaurant owner or customer, both sides understand the importance of regulars.
“This business thrives on our regular customers and our repeat customers that we’ve gained respect for, and they’ve gained respect for us. And, we treat them like family,” Serr said.
“When you go some place that often, it almost becomes like your second home, your second kitchen, and you want to make sure that place maintains so that you can continue that when whatever’s going on is over,” Woiwode said.