With the current coronavirus pandemic, several facets of our everyday lives are in flux as we all face a different set of challenges. For example, while restaurant owners handle logistics pertaining to keeping businesses in operation, Seattle residents deal with different realities such as grocery stores’ dwindling stocks. At the Mecca Café we have found an interesting and mutually beneficial way to take the problems that restaurants and citizens are facing to create a potential solution— using excess inventory to provide groceries for sale. The pop up store, Mecca Market, on the restaurant’s online delivery page offers groceries for curbside pickup and delivery with the hopes that customers can find much needed materials that they may have a hard time finding in grocery stores at this time.
The idea for Mecca Market is not unlike the trend that is occurring across the nation, as several restaurants make the transition to selling excess stock to get cash quickly for operating expenses while helping to serve the greater community. Restaurants’ main issue at this time is that their dine in areas are closed and, with restaurant attendance down, it is difficult for businesses to make up for those sales in a strictly pickup and delivery climate. Restaurants do, however, have a lot of stock that they can fare to get rid of, and access to purchase food from different supply chains than the local grocery stores. For example, flour is a common food staple that is in short supply in grocery stores due to an increase in people at home baking. Restaurants do not have the same issue, and many have easy access to hard to find products flour and cleaning supplies, which is good news for customers that are looking everywhere to try to secure them. Mecca Market specifically can provide dairy, packaged foods, dry goods, condiments, cleaning supplies, and paper products for customers in addition to their huge menu of prepared comfort food. We currently have pantry staples available, and we are also taking feedback from the community for other essentials that we may have more luck keeping in stock than local grocery stores.
While this is certainly a difficult time for the restaurant industry, Mecca Café is determined to keep this Seattle staple up and operating. The Mecca Café is also happy for the opportunity to utilize our delivery system and grocery store pop up to help the community that has served the establishment so faithfully during its lifetime. We still have some time to go before the entire situation is fully behind us but, if we stick together and help each other when possible, we will get through this.
– David Meinert