FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has hit the restaurant industry particularly hard, but one local restaurateur has weathered the storm better than most.
While many restaurants closed their doors and others had to furlough or lay off all but a bare-bones staff, Fry Me 2 the Moon has operated through the pandemic and kept all workers on its payroll.
The seafood restaurant, located on Ga. 9 near the border of Alpharetta and Forsyth County, has been in operation since 2014. As the pandemic began gaining a foothold in Georgia, it disrupted one of the restaurant’s busiest times of the year — Lent.
“Being a seafood restaurant, Lent season is typically very busy for us,” owner Mike Miranda said. “It helps us get through summer, and we kind of rely on that extra income those seven weeks leading up to Easter.”
The pandemic took hold during the early stages of Lent, and it made an impact, Miranda said.
He and his staff responded to the decline in sales and eventual closure of dining rooms in a number of ways.
The first was to drastically reduce the menu.
“We took the opportunity to see what items weren’t performing well on out menu,” Miranda said. “So instead of having that cost and inventory, we said, ‘When those are done, let’s not order them until we’re back on our feet.’”
The trimmed menu was key to cutting costs. Being a smaller restaurant to begin with was also advantageous for staying afloat during the pandemic, Miranda added.
“We are not a chain, a franchise or a place that has 150 seats,” he said. “And we don’t have 35 to 40 employees, so we didn’t have an extra 30 waiters or so to furlough. That was huge and an advantage of being smaller.”
In fact, the restaurant has recently hired a few new employees.
There was a drawback with Fry Me 2 the Moon’s size, however. Recent limits on the number of patrons allowed in restaurants at one time left just over a dozen seats available for those wanting dine-in service, Miranda said.
He was pleased to see Gov. Brian Kemp lift the restriction on the allowable number of patrons in his business at one time beginning June 16. Now, Miranda can welcome back all those who he said were most crucial to his restaurant surviving the economic crisis — his customers.
“We have a very loyal customer base, just about everyone wanted to come and support us,” Miranda said. “It really means a lot to a person with a local businesses when they see the same people again. And they were all asking if things are okay and saying they were so glad to see we’re surviving. It’s been a struggle for everybody, and their generosity and continued support of the businesses around them shows a lot of greatness from the people around here.”