adamson barbecue toronto

Toronto restaurant is able to keep staff and pay rent after spike in delivery orders

After two weeks that saw a spike in sales that allowed Adamson Barbecue to keep staff and pay rent, the restaurant is now seeing an ebb in orders.

Owner Adam Skelly understands that his customers are still adjusting to continued life in self-isolation to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Just like other Toronto restaurants, Adamson Barbecue now needs to rely on takeout and delivery to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

After initially seeing sales drop by 80 per cent, the popular barbecue joint in Leaside began offering free home delivery for orders over $100.

“It was the only thing we could do,” Skelly says. What ensued over the past two weeks was an outpouring of support from new and old customers, he says. Sales from the free delivery service were so strong that they actually counteracted the loss in sales from inside the restaurant.

“We ended up doing about the same amount of sales as the same time last year,” Skelly says. I

In a Facebook post from Tuesday, Skelly wrote that support from customers and their purchases has allowed the business to keep employing staff and has allowed the restaurant to pay this month’s rent.

But already since the Facebook post, Skelly is noticing a drop in sales.

“We’re down about half — about 50 per cent of those delivery orders have fallen off,” he says.

While Skelly's optimism might have diminished somewhat, he understands what might have caused the dip in sales.

“I think there’s going to be people worried about money and not spending as much. Not just eating out at restaurants but on delivery as well. I imagine people are going to start pinching their pennies, not knowing that there’s an end in sight,” he explains.

After Ontario Premier Doug Ford that there are “dark days ahead” for the province, Skelly’s prediction seems tenable.

That said, it'll still be business as usual for Adamson Barbecue. They still have their curb-side pickups in addition to the delivery option.

“Figure out how to get your online sales going,” Skelly offers as advice to other businesses that may be struggling to stay afloat.

At the moment, he says, maintaining strong delivery and takeout sales from online orders seem the only path forward to keeping his staff employed — “So that at least [the] main cooks, chefs and everything can stay working,” he says.

“With online sales and free delivery we were able to retain a lot of business,” Skelly says. “But you have to be able to have the online framework to take care of those orders.”

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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