Jason Diehl describes himself as the eternal optimist. And while the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Lubbock area has altered his business model as a restaurant owner, the circumstances haven’t changed his tone.
“It’s just a really fluid situation,” he says, “So it’s really important for us to keep an open mind and kind of be creative with the way we’re trying to do things.” 3:24
Jason and his wife Kate are the owners of Lubbock’s trendy restaurant and bar, the Crafthouse Gastropub. A small eatery adorned with soccer scarves on the wall, known for their specialty menus that change with the seasons and source local produce. While they had monitored the virus as it spread globally, Jason was surprised by the sudden impact they felt last week.
“On a given day we seat about 300 give or take, more on the weekends. But that went down significantly last week,” Diehl says.
Texas Tech economics professor, Robert McComb worries about the impact this event will have on the small businesses throughout Lubbock.
“Small businesses, those are the ones that are really going to get clobbered,” McComb predicts. But he explains, that we honestly don’t really know how this will all unfold just yet.
“I think it’s going to come down ultimately to what congress is able to do in terms of providing support for some of these small businesses and people who are getting laid off and don’t necessarily qualify for unemployment,” he continues.
Back at the Crafthouse, Jason isn’t worried at the moment. “I feel like we’re pretty well setup to take a small hit,” Diehl says. “I also feel like our client base is very localized. We’ve already seen people doing what they can in the short amount of time as far as our customers, to show their support.”
While the restaurants of Lubbock ride the wave of uncertainty, Jason remains the eternal optimist. He’s excited to see how the Crafthouse can get creative with their menu and continue to serve their customers.
He explains some of the changes they’re making to the menu. “Right now we’re coming up with larger format to-go options…so that’s kind of our first step in trying to figure this thing out.”