Coronavirus

Local restaurants adapt changes amid pandemic

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The coronavirus crisis has dealt the business community a serious blow.

Even life-sustaining businesses allowed to remain open have struggled and the situation has forced many to reevaluate how to remain productive and profitable.

Restaurants are not immune to those struggles but Franco’s is an example of embracing change to stay afloat. Their kitchen remains a busy place even though the dining room is empty.

While orders for pizza, stromboli and other Italian favorites can be phoned in, many orders are being placed online where Franco’s has a thriving presence.

“We have 10,000+ followers on Facebook. We’re all over social media. Without the public supporting us as the little guy, the mom and pop shop, we wouldn’t be here today,” Rosa Bellia, the owner of Franco’s told Eyewitness New.

Of downtown Wilkes-Barre’s 40 restaurants, Franco’s is one of 24 that’s managed to stay open through the coronavirus crisis by offering both curbside pickup and delivery

“This pandemic is forcing our downtown restaurant community to embrace e-commerce and social media in a way they simply have not done,” said Larry Newman, Executive Director of Diamond City Partnership.

Diamond City Partnership says in a recent survey of downtown Wilkes-Barre businesses, nearly three out of every four had no online presence.

“As this crisis goes on, we are hoping that more of our businesses particularly our restaurant community figure out ways that they can get online in order to maintain a takeout and delivery business,” Newman said.

Loyal Franco’s customers like Brian Joyce are glad Franco’s has figured out a survival strategy.

“I mean everybody needs to survive,” Joyce said. “You know and everybody needs to carry on daily I guess you know what I mean otherwise everything will just fall apart.”

Diamond City Partnership urges restaurants to utilize every online resource available and communicate to resources which help promote such things as business hours, days open and what type of food service they provide.

For a list of downtown Wilkes-Barre restaurants that are still open during the pandemic, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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