In my small(ish) NJ town we have all the major fast food McFranchises, several of the national dinner chains and our share of the ubiquitous diners. We also have our fair share of local eateries, including 3 deli and bagel eateries specializing in breakfast fare… Rather, we had our fair share of local eateries…
I can’t speak to the challenges of rents during the COVID shutdown or the state closing restaurants to fight the spread of the virus. I can’t speak to 3 – 5-year development and growth plans any of the local places have, but I can report that two of the local delis are closed… And Charlie’s Deli is still open.
Charlie’s is in a strip mall (again, this is NJ…) between a barber shop and a nail salon. The parking situation is less than optimal, and a creative realtor would describe the space as “efficient.” The menu and daily specials are written in black magic marker on poster board, with orange colored clouds highlighting the $5.99 breakfast platter specials. The width of the space is evenly divided between (a) the counter, display and cooking/prep areas and (b) the space for the order and paying lines to naturally form.
Those of us in New Jersey would recognize Charlie’s Deli as a solid local spot. Charlie’s is a place where you go in, order your PORK ROLL, egg and cheese, make your coffee and get on with your life. But a closer look reveals a retailer who offers great service at affordable prices with amazing customer connections.
My order was simple – three variations on the same sandwich: One on a bagel, two on rolls, one without cheese, no ketchup on one, hot sauce on another and all with pepper. The order passed through three sets of hands and was presented at the register with the one on a bagel in a separate bag, the one with hot sauce clearly marked and the offer of extra ketchup packets.
That level of service was matched by the cashier’s pleasant demeanor and a request to come back again! The people waiting chat with each other and Charlie behind the counter. High School aged kids, senior citizens and working-class people all at come to get their fix for pancakes, bagels, eggs and hash browns. We all make our way to Charlie’s because we feel our business is valued.
When your clients feel that you are offering great service and they feel that your business respects and values them you have a chance when the selling environment is literally changing daily. You and your business can continue operating like did pre-COVID, but I suggest you learn from Charlie, because…
Charlie’s Deli is still open.