More in Business:
By Mike Hazlip—
A struggling Citrus Heights restaurant and its small staff were treated to an early Christmas gift, thanks to an unexpected wave of customers who came to the rescue after learning the business was barely surviving amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The community has been amazing, amazing,” restaurateur Rosibel Osuna said in an interview on Christmas Eve, several days after an initial story about her struggling restaurant was published in The Sentinel. “It’s nice to see how people get together and try to help wherever they can. And they’re coming in to say: ‘we’re here to support you.’”
Impacted by COVID-19 shutdown orders and frustrated with bureaucratic hurdles for assistance, Rosibel and her husband, Jose, were unsure about the future of their three year old business: Panchito Mexican Restaurant. But the recent outpouring of support from the community is giving the couple hope.
Rosibel Osuna said some people came in just to drop off gift cards, without even placing an order. One card had $50 in cash, she said.
“It’s been overwhelming with all the caring that people have been offering. We’ve been super busy.”
Rosibel said the jump in business has increased wait times, but customers have been patient.
“The people have been so nice, I apologize for taking a little extra time for the orders,” she said. “Everyone is thankful, and happy they can help us. So far, no one has been upset at waiting.”
Jose Osuna said he was also overwhelmed by the show of support, calling it “phenomenal.”
“I’m very humbled. Thank you to Citrus Heights, it blows me away,” he said. “Last week I was tired. This week, I don’t mind. I don’t mind waking up at 7 a.m. and leaving (the restaurant) at midnight.”
The couple said they understand the need to take precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19, but had faced a drop of 50% in business when restaurant restrictions and stay-at-home orders went into effect. Only takeout and delivery is allowed, in accordance with county health orders, and mask-wearing is in place for all staff.
Jose Osuna said phone orders are preferred over delivery app orders, since direct ordering avoids app fees of up to 30% that restaurants must absorb.
Panchito Mexican Restaurant is located at 7683 Auburn Blvd., in Citrus Heights. A full menu can be viewed online at www.panchitomexicanrestaurant.com.
Thanks for reading The Sentinel. You are either trying to access subscribers-only content or you have reached your limit of 5 free articles per 30 days. Click here to sign in or subscribe.