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Customer and Community Stories

Pop Up Shop Helps Restaurant Retain Staff, Strengthen Community

  • May 12, 2020

Before shelter-in-place orders and social distancing practices closed down restaurant dining rooms, Reid Burton, the owner of Braeden’s BBQ, turned to the restaurant’s Facebook followers to find out what they could do to help support the community, and what items they were having trouble finding in local grocery stores.

“Tons of people responded back with items like fresh ground beef, fresh chicken, toilet paper and cleaning chemicals,” Burton said. His first step was to ensure Sysco would be able to provide them with the fresh product for their market, and with that assurance, Burton and his staff got to work planning their pop-up market and announced on social media that the market would open the next day.

Braeden’s converted five of their dining room tables into grocery displays for staple pantry items and filled their catering coolers with 5lb. increments of fresh ground beef and chicken – something that was hard to find in the grocery stores in the small town of Kingsport, TN. The market was an immediate hit with the community, and not only for groceries.

“I’m telling you, [the community] went out of their way to support us,” Burton said. “They not only came out in droves to buy their groceries, but they made sure to spend extra on our normal menu offerings while they were here. We had companies buying gift cards for all their employees, we had churches using us to provide meals for local healthcare workers, and we had a social media following and sharing like never before.”

As a restaurant that relies heavily on catering sales, Braeden’s BBQ was able to offset the cost from losing their main source of revenue by starting a pop-up market. They were able to retain 100% of their staff and keep their normal business hours. As local grocery stores began to replenish their shelves, Braeden’s urged their patrons and community to continue supporting local markets for a cleaner, more convenient shopping experience.

“I’ve realized that people want to support people who support them and their community,” Burton said. And who wouldn’t want to support such a great business who takes the time to listen to what the community needs? Burton believes that no matter how hard it may be to do at the time, you should always give back and support those who support you.

Thanks to our amazing customers like Braeden’s BBQ for representing what it means to be #FoodserviceStrong.