The Delta variant slowed the business of many restaurants, but Common Bond Cafe has survived through adaptation and expansion.
HOUSTON – It was a busy scene at the Common Bond Cafe in Montrose on Monday. And if it weren’t for the masks, you might not even know that this Labor Day brunch was any different than any other year.
But if you take a closer look, you can see how much has changed since the previous Houston Restaurant Weeks.
“When we’re as busy as we are today, often we wouldn’t even answer the phone … well, now it’s 50-60% of our takeaway, delivery, curb business,” said George Joseph, CEO of Common Bond Cafe
Joseph has been running this location since 2014 and has been attending the Houston Restaurant Weeks since then.
While the restaurant weeks last year also took place during the pandemic, this year’s campaign coincided with an additional hurdle – the increase in the Delta variant.
“Restaurants started to fill up again and our sales were higher than the year before COVID,” said Joseph. People get more nervous. Restaurant Weeks probably helped us get a little further than we would have been. “
And that shows in the workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor, the leisure and hospitality industry had grown by 350,000 jobs nationwide in the past six months. It stagnated in August.
“We were lucky because our culture is strong. We didn’t lay off people during the pandemic. We work hard to make people feel part of the team, we have our core values, ”said Joseph. “But since we’ve been expanding and people are moving up and we’re trying to get people into the industry, we know that a lot of people left the industry because of the pandemic. It’s hard work. “
While the pandemic continues, so much is still unknown, but their adaptability helps them grow even through the toughest of times. Common Bond will open its eighth location in downtown Houston later this month.
“We learned a lot. We have improved so much. “
Common Bond has sold over 430 meals for Restaurant Weeks and will donate $ 5,000 to the Houston Food Bank. They even added drive-through locations for corporate access.