Two QC food businesses adapting to increased demand

Published: May. 16, 2020 at 11:40 PM CDT
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Some Quad Cities food businesses say they've seen a boom in business during this time. Some of the increase in demand is thanks to the successes they've had over the past few months. The owners of Fat Sacks and Gypsy Highway in Davenport explained how they've been transitioning.

“It’s been different. It's been challenging. It’s been rewarding,” Virgil Richardson said.

Richardson, the owner of Gypsy Highway, said the restaurant has changed some of their business plans and welcomed the opportunity.

“We had to re-develop the business plan from being a music venue over to more of a restaurant with a carry-out business...but the silver lining for us is it’s been an opportunity for us to introduce the public to some of our yummy different food items that we have,” Richardson said.

The motorcycle-themed restaurant and bar serve Asian fusion food alongside American classic dishes. The venue also hosts live music and they’re thankful to the music community for supporting them during this time. Even though the restaurant is able to serve dine-in guests now, some changes that they've made will be permanent.

“It's helped us develop some new strategies that we plan on continuing into the venue as we reopen to the public again. Heck, we've done some delivery. We started opening for lunch, which we weren't doing that prior, but I think we're gonna carry that on and continue opening for lunch,” Richardson said.

They're meeting hundreds of new faces and some of that is thanks to social media pages like QC Emergency Take Out. The page, which has almost 30,000 members, is where Quad City area restaurants can post their carry out and takeout menus. People in the community also post their food and review their takeout experience. It's helping spread the word about local restaurants that people may not have known about before.

“The QC takeout thing has been a bit monumental as far as for us introducing our food to the community here for people who've never been here in the past so we're grateful for that,” Richardson said.

In Downtown Davenport, Fat Sacks is also feeling the impacts of the page.

“Thanks to whoever started [it]. I can't say that enough because I think it opened the doors for a lot of people who did the kind of a hole in the wall operation,” Rhea Vrana said, owner and chef at Fat Sacks. “It definitely introduced us to a lot of people, especially people who are just sort of looking for takeout services,” she said.

The stationary food truck says that demand has increased over 300% since they reopened for carryout in April.

"Every week, we got a new piece of equipment or a new piece of refrigeration and we're constantly adapting to, you know, protocols and all these things that we're trying to adjust. Each week is even more intense and even better," Vrana said.

Their operations are just like a food truck, using a small location for a massive operation.

“We're not a full-on restaurant. At the end of the day, I have three rock-solid dudes behind me and I have four burners and one fryer. We're doing the most with what we have within our space,” she said.

Fat Sacks will

for 2 weeks to give their customers the best experience possible. When they do open back up on June 4th, they’ll still be operating from 11 AM to 7 PM. They’re also working on a happy hour menu and a smaller late-night menu.

"We want to be here more for the community so what we're doing in that shutdown time is taking the time to re-evaluate our hours and our menu and how it can make us as efficient as possible,” Vrana said.