CINCINNATI — Six weeks ago, a local restaurant group took the extreme measure of closing all of its eateries in response to the threat of COVID-19.
"There was considerable fear surrounding the workplace," said Joe Lanni, president of Thunderdome Restaurant Group.
Lanni said he and his business partners made the decision to close all Thunderdome-owned restaurants, including Currito, Citybird, Maplewood, Pepp & Delores, Krueger's Tavern, The Eagle and Bakersfield, after speaking with employees.
Thunderdome began a phased process of reopening some of those restaurants Monday, when Currito in Hyde Park and Citybird in Over-the-Rhine resumed take-out and delivery services.
Lanni said all seven Currito and three Citybird locations — including a brand new Citybird on Beechmont Avenue in Anderson Township— will reopen within 10 days.
"I'm going to have to tell you exactly what it's like in a couple of weeks when we open because I don't know exactly what it looks like," Lanni said of opening a new restaurant in the midst of the pandemic.
Behind the scenes, Thunderdome created a new online ordering system for each of its restaurants before their openings, Lanni added.
Thunderdome is also supplying restaurant employees with personal protective equipment.
"On top of all of that, we've had to do things like go cashless" in order to minimize personal contact between customers and employees, Lanni said.
Those additional measures are what led Thunderdome to start reopening this week, he added. The reopenings also mean Thunderdome is now able to rehire employees who were laid off do to restaurant closings.
"We're really just trying to get back to our goal of rehiring as much of the team as we can," Lanni said. "So, you know, a little bit of good news is good news and we need more of that these days."
Visit www.thunderdomerestaurants.com for updates on when other Thunderdome restaurants are opening.
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