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Pop Up Shop Helps Restaurant Retain Staff, Strengthen Community

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