Our restaurant started seeing a decrease in traffic early in March and attributed to uncertainty of Covid-19, but never would we imagine the snowball effects about to unfold. We were faced with a scary question, are we going to survive this?
Our first thought was our employees, we wouldn't be able to pay them, perhaps like other restaurants, we cut our operating hours or reduce our offerings. Bun Mi was already ahead of the curve when it came to online ordering, takeout and delivery but with increasing demand for delivery services that took 30% of our revenue and decreased demand overall for restaurant food, our next scary question was, how can we pay our bills?
As we continued to look for ways to tell the world "we're still open and serving,"our light at the end of the tunnel came from our landlord, Aramore Retail who promised to "forgive" April rent if we applied that same amount in the food we can provide and donate to neighboring Piedmont Hospital.
As fate would have it, the owners of Aramore Retail had a family member treated at Piedmont Hospital a few weeks back for Covid-19 and wanted their tenants to help "pay it forward" by treating the staff there with healthy meals.
It was a wonderful opportunity for us not only to reduce our burden of not having the cash to pay rent, but to also show our gratitude to the medical community. One of our owners also have a member in the hospital, though for an unrelated illness, still being treated by caring yet overworked staff.
We made our first delivery on April 15, 2020 to Piedmont Hospital Respiratory Team and they were truly grateful and loved the food very much. We cannot thank our landlord enough for this amazing opportunity, with a heartwarming story of inspiration, of forgiveness and kindness and the means to pay it forward.
In the past few weeks we've seen an outpouring of love to the hospital staff and support for small businesses. We've started our own medical meal match program in March (unrelated and separate from the donated Landlord orders), when we were at our rock bottom, because we knew we still had our most valuable traits: our health and our talents and that in giving we are receiving. We are continuing to refine and improve the program to help scale and make it easier for others to take part in this movement of kindness and community.