TULSA, Okla. — More than half of the private workforce in Oklahoma is made up of small businesses, and many of them have taken a big hit during the pandemic.
While some have shut down permanently, others are staying afloat as long as they can.
El Fogon Mexican Restaurant in Owasso is a local favorite that depends on their customers during this challenging time. The owner, Vidal Palacios, says business has dropped by half since COVID-19 restrictions were put in place.
However, thanks to their loyal clientele the staff has been keeping busy making to-go orders.
"We know so many of our customers personally that we can make a connection during this difficult time," says Jordan Sorrells, a waitress at El Fogon.
She has been employed at the restaurant for seven years. Sorrells believes there is no other way to work than by putting customers at the heart of the business.
"Because we are so tip-based, it just pushes us more to be as friendly as possible," says Sorrells.
That has managed to pay off in the last few weeks, since restaurants were ordered to shut down their dining areas to prevent the spread of the virus.
"Today, we made sure to tip them quite a bit extra because we can’t be in there eating at the restaurant, and we want to make sure that their families are taken care of," says Paula Willyard, "We’ve gotta keep these small businesses intact."
Many regular customers, such as Willyard, stop by the restaurant for their favorite Mexican food, but also for the friendly service they receive.
"We usually eat here at least twice a month when they’re open for business, so it’s nice that they got curbside now," says customer Wade Yates.
Although business at El Fogon is slower than usual and with reduced hours, the staff continues to put on a smile for customers every day.
El Fogon is open Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and closed on Sunday.
You can place your curbside order by calling 918-371-6230. The restaurant is located on 11515 N. Garnett Rd.
The restaurant is one of several local small businesses we continue to highlight in our "We're Open Green Country" series.
Visit our website, for a full list of businesses. You may also fill out a submission form for a small business that is still operating and offering essential services.
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