Small Business Fund Nominee Stories & Voting
BONFIRE ON QUEEN
*Answers below are taken verbatim from entry.
Bonfire on Queen is owned by a Bruce County farmers' daughter, Jennifer Christie and British Chef, Chris Shaw. The pair met while living in Ottawa and discovered a shared love of travel & food. After visiting Jen's family in Tara, they decided to move back to Grey-Bruce and open their own restaurant which would serve homemade pizza and Italian-style fare with a pub-style atmosphere. They purchased Dos Rios in the fall of 2019 and renovated throughout the winter. They were almost ready to open when COVID-19 shutdown all businesses, including restaurants. They adjusted their plan to serve take-out and opened on April 16. Chris makes all the pizza dough, sauce and sausage in-house, does all the prep work and makes the pizzas, subs and salads. Jen manages their customer service, including social media, and book-keeping. When COVID-19 ends, they plan to open the "social house" and patio for dining in and live music and will be hiring staff.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR STRATEGY THROUGHOUT THE PANDEMIC?
We decided to open for takeout only because the other restaurant in town closed and we knew our community wanted a takeout option in town. We are open 4 days per week and use Monday-Tuesday to do all the prep. We take call-in and email orders and schedule pickups throughout the day so people are not in the restaurant with other people. Before we opened we started selling electronic gift vouchers. They have proved to be a great form of contactless payment for customers, in addition to other options. Our strategy continues to evolve and we are exploring additional service options we can add during the pandemic, like pre-cooked meals. Post-pandemic we look forward to opening fully and celebrating with our suppliers, contractors, friends and family and customers.
HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC & SHUTDOWN AFFECTED YOUR BUSINESS?
The COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown prevented us from opening our business as we had originally dreamed and envisioned it. We also weren't able to hire any staff.