Covid-19 & Monuts

Saturday August 28, 2020: We're back!!

What a week! What a tremendously humbling outpouring of support from our community. Really, thank you-- for listening, for understanding and for giving us the virtual high fives we needed to keep our shit together. Rob and I welcomed a new life last Sunday. It was a whirlwind weekend to say the least, and it was only made possible by some amazing staff members, a top shelf uncle and aunt situation and the comfort of knowing that Durham would surely be here waiting for us when we were ready.

And ready we are! The shop has been cleaned, all close contacts have tested negative, and the bagels are officially in the walk-in getting their cold ferment on in preparation for tomorrow morning. Barring any more unforseen curve balls, we'll be open around 7am on Saturday morning. We're a little low on prep, but we're coming in hot and we'll be open until we sell out of all the things.

Saturday August 22, 2020: Effective immediately, Monuts will be closed for a few days!

 

Dear Customers and Friends, 

 

This is the message we knew was inevitable.  It’s also the message that has kept us awake at night and dreading every e-mail we open for fear of it leading to this very circumstance.  It seems that no matter how much preparation we did in advance of this situation, facing it head on right now, is no less hard or scary.  The truth is, this probably won’t be the only time we have to write this, but hopefully, if we handle it correctly now, we will still be around, as a business, to handle it again, if or when we have to. 

 

Over the last 10 years, as Monuts has grown from the beat up yellow tricycle it was to the brick and mortar restaurant it is today, Rob and I have had to make a lot of decisions.  These decisions have defined who we are as community members, as business owners and as employers.  They are very much who we are as people.  As we decided how to handle Covid-19 earlier this year, we were forced to re-evaluate our values and reconcile what often felt like competing interests.  At every decision point since, we struggled with how to proceed, often fighting with each other before finding the right way forward.  When we re-opened in May, we knew the hardest part was just starting, and that it would only be a matter of time before someone in the Monuts circle would face Covid-19.  As it happens, that day is today. 

 

We have just learned that a member of our staff has tested positive for COVID-19.  Although we are not legally required to share this information with the public, we feel strongly that what makes us us, and Monuts Monuts is that we believe in transparency.  Monuts has always been a safe place and we hope that by continuing to live up to the standards we have set for ourselves, it always will be—for ourselves, for our employees and vendors and for our customers.  To help assuage any customer concerns, I do want to make clear that the employee who has tested positive has not had any direct contact with customers and works with only a small team of emplyees day-to-day.  Due to a concern of exposure outside of work, the employee, who remains asymptompatic, took a test on their scheduled day off.  They have not been at work since testing earlier this week.  

 

The good news, if we can call it that, is that our staff member and their family is doing well, given the circumstances.  Although it is too early to say definitively, this does appear to be a single instance and not a cluster, as no other staff members are experiencing symptoms nor have they tested positive.  This means that the systems we have in place to minimize transmission are actually working.  To reiterate what those systems are:

 

  • All employees take and record their temperatures before clocking in.  At that time, they also conduct a symptom check.  If any symptom or elevated temperature is present, they are immediately excluded from work and asked to seek medical attention. 

  • All employees and vendors are required to wear a face mask or cloth face covering at all times while in the building

  • All high-touch surfaces (doorknobs, cash register screens, etc) are sanitized with 70% alcohol throughout the shift

  • All staff members are required to practice proper hand hygiene by washing hands routinely with warm running water and soap at the beginning of our shift; any time we change gloves; any time between different kinds of tasks; after any cleaning tasks; before and after eating; after using the restroom; before and after touching our faces, bodies, or personal belongings; and anytime we find that it’s been 15 minutes since we last washed our hands

  • Strict adherence to all food safety guidelines, including the use of a food-safe sanitizer to sanitize all food preparation surfaces before use and between every kind of prep task

  • Strict observance of social distancing to the extent possible between staff members in addition to enforcing policies and physical barriers that keep our customers at least six feet away from staff members at all times

 

Our first concern is, of course, with our staff member.  We wish them a speedy recovery and are doing what we can to support them and their self-isolation at this time.

 

Our next concern is how we can continue to keep our staff and our customers safe.  Our immediate response when we first learned that an employee had tested positive was to call health inspector and the Durham County Health Department.  At this time, we are working in close cooperation with the Durham County Health Department to determine our next step and will follow all guidance as it provided.  

 

Effective immediately, we are voluntarily choosing to close for the next few days to allow for deep cleaning and sanitization of our space.  Additionally, we will dispose of any items that may have come in contact with our COVID+ staff member.  During the closure, staff members will monitor their symptoms and schedule and take tests so that we can re-open will full confidence and a complete feeling of safety. 

 

This has and continues to be one hell of a year.  Making this information public feels a little bit like setting our business on fire.  It makes us feel vulnerable and amplifies the fears we already have of losing our business and the livelihoods of ourselves and our staff members.  But, as I said before and will say again and again-- our decisions define us.  Monuts is not a company that hides information.  We are accountable and trustworthy, and we hope that this level of transparency will serve to strengthen, not weaken, our ties to the community and relationships with our customers. 

 

As soon as we’re ready, our parking lot will re-open and we’ll be ready to get back to business!  We are always available by e-mail and very willing to answer questions and further explain the timeline, our response and the rationale for these decisions. 

 

All the best,

Lindsay & Rob

 

Thursday May 21 - A Note on Our Dining Room & Covid -19

Yesterday, Governor Cooper announced that North Carolina would be entering Phase 2 of re-opening the regional economy. Of importance, restaurants would be allowed to resume dine-in operations at 50% capacity beginning this Friday. Earlier this morning, Mayor Schewel and Commissioner Jacobs followed suit with a similar announcement that restaurants in Durham would be allowed re-open beginning June 1. Although we certainly miss the life and chatter our customers brought into our dining room pre-corona, we have decided to continue as TAKE-OUT only for the foreseeable future.

Since re-opening, we have created a take-out system that mostly works relying on an all in-house staff and services. It’s not perfect, but to be fair, Monuts on the weekends is never perfect, whether you’re in the dining room or the parking lot. To also be fair, each weekend has gotten noticeably smoother and we remain committed to improving this system even further. We have retained all 34 staff members at full payroll in perpetuity, completely uninterrupted. We’re even hiring 2 additional staff members to keep up with demand! Sales continue to exceed expectations, even after four straight days of rain and inclement weather. What’s most important though, is that we’ve managed to do all of this while keeping our staff members feeling relatively safe and as socially distanced as possible. The truth is, it was a lot easier going into hibernation than it is coming out. For those of us having to work in public and semi-public spaces, it was already a difficult decision to give up the safety and seclusion of quarantining at home with our families to resume operations with co-workers. The idea of expanding these circles of contact even further just doesn't feel safe for me right now. And, if I’m not willing to do that for myself, I wouldn’t dare ask that of the Monuts employees. As much as we love you Durham, we’ve grown pretty comfortable with our new normal and we’re hoping you’ll bear with us as we cautiously stumble out of the distance we’ve created for ourselves.

Right now, we don’t have a plan for when we’ll re-open our dining room. As we continue to monitor the situation, we will also be touching base with staff members to gauge their comfort levels and perceived safety of increasing contact with public. Until we all feel safe doing so though, our dining room will remain closed. BUT, take-out is a go. I swear, we’re getting better every week and last Sunday we didn’t have to close down the online store a single time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We hope you’re all safe and managing the best you can for you and your families. We know these are uncertain, lonely and scary times and we are filled with gratitude for your continued support of Monuts! 

 

Monday May 4, 2020 - Re-Opening UPDATE

If you haven’t heard by now, let me be the first to announce that Monuts has officially reopened!  In the midst of what has undoubtedly been a difficult and trying time for restaurants, we took a month to ourselves.  The time-off was chaotic and laced with fears of what was still to come, but also it was the longest period of time that Rob, myself and our two kids have ever had off together as a family.  We built a garden, and rode bikes and snuck into the state park from our back yard to splash in the river.  We ate 3 meals a day together as a family and baked almost every single night.  Our kids are four and almost three, so having this time, this random beautiful month of April to be together felt pretty special—and I feel incredibly grateful for that.  I’m also really proud that as a business, we were able to give that month to our staff.  Instead of having it be the worst month possible, which it easily could have been, everything was alright-- we are alright!  

 

And now, we’re back.  And it’s not quite business as usual, so we wanted to post this update to make sure all of our customers understand what this new normal will look like.  Due to the current stay-at-home orders and still-present threat of Covid-19, Monuts will remain take-out only for the foreseeable future.  We’ve streamlined our menu and focused it on items that travel well and make for good take-out.  While you’ll immediately recognize most of your spring favorites, I’m sure you’ll also notice a few things missing.  We’re hoping to add some things back as we get a better handle on the online ordering systems, weekly sales and workflow, but for now, we want to keep production and execution manageable because in the long run that helps to minimize mistakes and waste on our end. 

What You Need To Know!

 

Hours

  • Monday-Saturday 7am-3pm; Sunday 8am-3pm

 

How to Order:

 

What are today’s donut, quiche and soup varieties? 

  • Visit www.ordermonuts.com—the whole menu (and pictures) are posted here.  As we sell out of items, they are removed from the website, so what you see is what we have.

 

Can I see the whole menu anywhere else? 

 

When can I get a breakfast burrito? 

  • Breakfast burritos will be a weekday only item for now!  So, come see us Monday-Friday if that’s your jam. 

 

Do you provide delivery?   

  • Not yet!  We want to use this next week or two to get a sense of where we’re at.  After that, we might add back the in-house delivery service on weekdays if we feel we have the capacity to do so.

How do I pick-up my order Monday-Thursday?

  • Most orders are ready in about 20 minutes on weekdays.  To minimize crowds, please don't show up much earlier than this and consider sending just one person in to pick-up your order instead of the total party.    

  • Monday-Thursday, When you come to pick up your order, park in the parking lot located off Knox Street.  Once there, please text (833) 228-3127 with your full name.  As soon as your order is ready, we'll bring it right out! 

  • For the safety of other customers and our staff, we ask that you wear a mask while waiting and give yourself space by standing at least 6 feet apart from other groups in the parking lot.  

  • During peak times, typically on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, please look for the marked waiting spots in the parking lot to ensure our crowd is adequately socially distanced.  

How do I pick-up my order Friday -Saturday?

  • Most orders are ready in about 30 minutes on weekdays, however, during peak times (especially the first two hours of opening), orders can take up to 45 minutes.  To minimize crowds, please don't show up much earlier than this and consider sending just one person in to pick-up your order instead of the total party.    

  • On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, our parking lot will be closed!.  Find a spot on the street and walk over to pick-up your order.  Find the blue tent and check-in with the Monuts employee stationed at the tent.  You will receive further instructions from them! 

  • Please note, you must check in with the tent!  No texts on weekends! 

  • For the safety of other customers and our staff, we ask that you wear a mask while waiting and give yourself space by standing at least 6 feet apart from other groups in the parking lot.  

Will you be selling any pantry items?

  • As soon as we get our footing in the kitchen and are caught back up, we're hoping to add a pantry section to our online store.  This will include loaves of our multigrain bread, whole quiche, quarts of soup, granola, counter culture coffee beans, focaccia and bagels.  If we have time, we may even explore take-and-bake dinners or grocery boxes.  If there's something you'd like to buy in bulk that you don't see on our menu, send us an e-mail at monutsdonuts@gmail.com and we'll see if it's possible!  

 

Growing Pains

 

These next few weeks will feel new for all of us.  We are all working our best to identify kinks and find solutions as quickly as possible, but some of these growing pains will be unavoidable.  One thing we’ve noticed already is that pacing online orders is incredibly different than pacing orders in the shop.  Essentially, we can’t do anything to prevent 50 people from submitting an order at the exact same time.  This means that our kitchen can get inundated pretty quickly and without warning.  When this happens, we are turning the online store off for a few minutes to allow the kitchen to catch up.  Please be patient when this happens.  I suspect it will happen regularly on Saturday and Sunday and will be relatively rare on weekdays.  If you call the shop and don’t get an answer, that probably means we’re on the other line.  Please try again!  Whatever you do, please do not e-mail us orders or notes about orders that have already been submitted.  Within square, there is a field for comments on each item that is the best spot for notes and requests.  Anywhere else, and they’re likely not to be seen by the kitchen before making your order.   In the event that we do make a mistake—I’m sorry!  Give us a call or send us an e-mail and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

 

What Comes Next?

 

Like many of you, we have no idea what comes next.  Rob and I are cautious when it comes to protecting our business and the health of our community, so I don’t imagine our dining room will be open any time soon.  The last thing we want is for the Monuts dining room to become the epicenter for a second outbreak of Covid-19 in Durham.   So, we’ll take it slow.  We’re going to use this next few weeks to see where we’re at.  If we find that sales are a little low to carry our full staff, we might try to expand our services a bit, but if we’re hitting the numbers we have to in order to survive, we might sit tight and let Monuts be Monuts.   As always, we are incredibly grateful to our customers and community for supporting us throughout this difficult time.  You all really are the best and have shown immense gestures of kindness toward our entire team.  So many of you have sent us personal messages of support and encouragement and offers of help and it has been so uplifting.  Through all of this, we never felt alone, and that was in no small part due to your unrelenting support and love for Monuts.  As we start to come out of the blur of re--opening and gain our footing again, we'll be sure to continue to update the world on where we're at!  So, stay tuned and stay well.  I hope each of you has managed to find something good to sustain you through this wild a crazy spring we're having.  

Thursday 3/26/20 UPDATE
On Friday March 13th, we announced that Monuts would be clamping down on service by closing our dining room and making a swift shift to take-out and delivery to do our part to encourage the public to avoid crowds and maintain social distance.  At the time, doing so seemed like the best of a series of bad options aimed at balancing the interests of our team members with those of the community at large.  With all of the changes to service and the uncertainty that these changes have brought, the past ten days have been rough.  Every day felt like we were starting from scratch and we weren’t sure where we were going or when it would end.  Unlike many of our colleagues though, take-out wasn’t just a life-line or band aid for us, it was actually profitable, barely, but still profitable.  Our sales have been down about 30% over the last two weeks, but we are surviving all the same and quickly getting the gist of running this new Monuts in no small part due to an incredibly flexible and dedicated team.  We are one of only a handful of restaurants in the area that has not laid off a single employee—we have cut hours by about 15-20%, but everyone who was full time before this is still working above 30 hours per week.  As easy as it would be to let that fact give us the confidence needed to keep going, we have decided to temporarily close our doors and suspend all service beginning Monday March 30th.  At the end of the day, covid-19 and the threat it poses to society is bigger than the two of us, our 34 employees, and the business that sustains us.  As we keep hearing, the time for drastic action is now, and we are confident that Monuts will still be there for all of us when we get to the other side.  

Since day one, our only reluctance to closing has stemmed from our commitment to protect the well-being and livelihoods of our staff.  Until now, we have stayed open to protect their paychecks and we are only closing now because we feel we are in the unique and fortuitous position to be able offer them paid time off for the entirety of our closure.  For once, the decision feels relatively easy, as we are able to do what’s best for everyone—our staff and our community.  

Now is not the time to politicize or grandstand, but Monuts has proven to have a certain resilience or immunity to this catastrophe and I want to explain why.  From the beginning, Rob and I have done everything within our power to build one good business.  We have avoided stretching ourselves thin through expansions and instead focused on building a strong safety net for ourselves and our staff.  As tempting as it’s been to “play the game” in pursuit of fame, influence and more money, we have deliberately chosen to reinvest in our sole business, to make it better, more efficient and as strong as it possibly can be.  We are analytical and flexible and often identify more as business people or fiscal analysts than we do as chefs, despite the primary role we play in writing our menu, developing our recipes and teaching our staff our craft.  Monuts’ strength is not accidental, it’s the result of 9 years of trying our hardest to make the right decisions.  We always thought we were planning for a fire or a flood—never a pandemic, but here we are.  The only reason we are able to make this decision now is because we’ve been watching out for staff since the very fucking beginning.

As we close, it’s not because we are out of money.  We are not laying people off—we are offering them paid time off.  We are not closing our doors with the uncertainty of not being able to re-open.  We are making the deliberate decision to stay at home, because that’s what every public health agency in the world is advising us to do.  

I don’t believe there is a correct decision in this scenario.  I see the arguments on all sides, and I understand all of them.  To diminish the complexity of this issue to an easy choice and a hard one is to neglect the casualties each will bear.  I have never agonized over a decision more in my life, and even as I write this post, I sympathize greatly with those that are truly trying to do their best, but perhaps not in the financial position to make the same decision we have made.  I read an interview once, and the interviewee said that to cope with their depression, the first thing they had to do was accept that the world was too big for them to worry about alone.  That even if they thought themselves as big and important, that they weren’t and that their singular actions were not likely to change the world.  Instead, they decided to focus on what was close and near to them.  How could they help their neighbors and friends--the people they saw and interacted with every day?  The idea, she said, was if everyone just thought about those people and the community surrounding them and tried to do best by them, that the ripple effect could be massive, because each person’s circle would stretch a little bit farther.  As I reflect on this now, it makes me think that maybe the best way to help the people really far from me right now is to help those that are closest, so that’s what we plan to do. 

The plan as we see it (which may very well change) is for Sunday, March 29th, to be our last day of service until May 1st.  We want to use the next few days to deplete our perishables and empty out our walk-in at Monuts in an attempt to minimize waste and the financial cost of that waste.  At an all hand’s meeting about 2 weeks ago, we promised our entire staff at least two full weeks paid time off in the event of a COVID-19 closure, including paying our tip eligible staff at least $15 an hour during that time.  After reading the details of the CARES ACT we feel hopeful that, through a government tax credit, we will be able to double that amount and pay our staff throughout the entire closure, assuming we are able to front the cash until the credit comes through.  We do not want to delay our decision any longer, because we do feel it is a public health imperative to act sooner rather than later.  In the event that the Senate relief bill gets quashed, I’ll be completely honest- I don’t know what we’ll do.  Rob and I have always tried to be transparent with our decision making and business practices and I can say with absolute certainty that our number one priority right now is to find a way to pay our entire staff for the entire month of April.  We are putting a lot of faith in the government to do the right thing, which seems like a big ask given their track record over the past three years, but what else can we do?   

If you do want to support us one last time before our closure, it would be our honor to serve you.  Every last cent we make now will put us in a better position to pay our staff in full during the closure.   Under Mayor Schewel’s Stay-At-Home Order, restaurants operating take-out only like Monuts are exempt, so if you are up for one last visit, we’ll be here, socially distanced, but here no less, and well stocked with very freezable pantry items like bagels, pastries and soups.  

Thank you for helping us, our staff, and our suppliers make it through this challenging time.

Wednesday 3/18/20 UPDATE

As of this morning, ​we have fully transitioned to take-out and delivery!  The system is not perfect, but it's working, and we're finding our rhythm as quickly as possible.  Right now, we are following the voluntary CDC guidelines to limit our dining room to 5 guests at a time.  That being the case, we strongly encourage customers to place their orders online or over the phone!  If you do find yourself wanting to place an order at the counter, you may be asked to wait outside until there is room in the ordering area to accommodate you.  I know this might be inconvenient, but we ask that you be kind and patient with our staff.  Details for ordering are below.  

To Order For Pick-Up: 

  • Place an Order Online:  Visit www.ordermonuts.com  Orders are ready in 15 minutes.  When you arrive, please go to the side door (off the parking lot) and text the following number: (833)228-3127 with your name.  Once we receive your text, we'll bring your order right to the door!  All orders placed online will have a 10% service charge added to the order total. This service fee is distributed solely among our front of house employees, who usually receive about 2/3rd of their income from tips. As Square does not allow for customers to leave tips on their online orders, we have added this service charge to ensure that our staff continue to receive a living wage during the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • To Order by Phone: Call (919) 286-2642! One of our team members will answer the phone and ask if this is for pick-up or delivery.  Once your specify pick-up, they will take your order and your credit card info.  Once your order is processed, our team member will let you know how long the current wait is.  It should be between 15 and 20 minutes.  When you arrive, please go to the side door (off the parking lot) and text the following number:    (833)228-3127 with your name.  Once we receive your text, we'll bring your order right to the door!  

Sunday 3/15/20  UPDATE

Thanks to everyone who showed up this weekend! Although we were able to downsize our typical crowds pretty significantly, we've decided to move to Take-Out and Delivery only for the foreseeable future., 7-days a week.  Beginning tomorrow (Monday 3/16), you'll be able to order take-out online at www.ordermonuts.com or in person at the shop. You'll also be able to place delivery orders through Uber. We're hoping to have phone ordering and in-house delivery available later this week. We'll continue to update you as circumstances change. Thanks again for your patience and continued support of Monuts and our staff

Friday 3/13/20

Dear Monuts Customers,

 

With growing concern over the spread of Covid-19, Rob and I have found ourselves a bit at an impasse, and are struggling to reconcile competing interests regarding the financial security of our staff and the ethical responsibility to promote social distancing for the well-being of our community at large.  First and foremost, we want you all to know that we are taking this public health threat very seriously, as we hope you are as well.  Over the past several weeks, following the lead of restaurants across the country and right here in Durham, we have rolled out a series of precautionary measures designed to reduce the community transmission of Covid-19.  These efforts have focused largely on enhanced hand washing guidelines, paid-time off policies, and increased and more rigid cleaning protocols.  Additionally, we have also decided to go one step further and implement a social distancing protocol at Monuts aimed at mitigating the crowds that can often be found in our dining room.  We have not come to this decision lightly, but we do feel that it in the absence of strong guidance from our own government, it is absolutely imperative that Monuts not only acknowledge that our dining room is indeed a crowded space, but more importantly be proactive about reducing the risks that that may pose.  

 

Over the coming weeks and possibly months, we ask that you bare with us as we roll out and enforce new policies here at Monuts.  We also ask that you show kindness to our staff members.  We do not have the privilege of being able to 'work from home', which makes the current situation all the more scary for us.  We are hoping that smaller steps now can help us to avoid a full closure in the future.  As you all know, the circumstances surrounding Covid-19 are unfolding quickly, and we are prepared to do what is necessary and/or required to help contain to the outbreak.  

 

What can our customers do to support Monuts?

  • Follow the CDC guidelines for social distancing!  

  • Please, please, please, stay home if:

    • You are experiencing any flu or cold-like symptoms or are otherwise feeling unwell.  Our ability to stay open may depend on the public’s ability to take social distancing and self-quarantine seriously.  

    • You’re in a high-risk or vulnerable population

    • You’ve been asked to self-quarantine due to possible exposure to a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case

  • If you are feeling well and up for a visit to Monuts, keep the following in mind:

    • Maintain a few feet of distance between you and other parties or guests  

    • Minimize hand contact with employees and other customers

    • Consider ordering your food to-go to enjoy outside or at home! More about this later!

    • Consider sending 1 person in to pick-up to-go orders rather than large groups.

    • Wash or sanitize your hands before visiting and after touching “community” property. 

    • Please do not seat more than 6 people at any one booth at a given time.

    • We are incredibly busy on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, please consider visiting us on weekdays and during non-peak times, which are typically the first two and last two hours of the day.

    • Please be kind to our staff!  Many of us are worried about losing our jobs and our businesses.  If our policies seem extreme, tell us so politely!  I would rather look back on this and laugh about how paranoid and over prepared we were than the opposite.

    • Please throw away your own napkins and tissues if they have come in contact with your face or other bodily fluids.  Please do not leave them on the table to be bussed by our staff.

    • If you do have to sneeze or cough, follow CDC protocol, by doing so away from others and into a clean tissue, your sleeve or elbow.  Wash your hands afterwards!

    • Tip our staff!  There might come a time when we do have to close for some period of time and that scares all of us.  If you appreciate the service and the food you’ve received at Monuts, please consider leaving a tip.  If you haven’t, no sweat!  We understand completely and promise that we as employers are doing everything we can to ensure that our staff members have paychecks for as long as possible, and hopefully uninterrupted through the unfolding and containment of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 

What is Monuts doing? 

  • More frequent cleaning and sanitizing of public spaces and surfaces including tables, chairs, benches, doorknobs, faucets, menu sleeves, register screens, bathrooms, condiment station, kids section, etc..

  • Minimizing the number of items contacted or touched by multiple customers.  While this does increase the number of single-use items, we hope it is a temporary change and we would not be doing so unless we felt it was necessary.

    • Water Station will be moved behind the counter.  Customers will be provided cups and will not be allowed to use bottles or vessels brought from home.

    • Creamer and sugar will be single-use packets as opposed to reusable pitchers are they are now.

    • Temporarily suspending dinosaur and animal cards and will be relying on name base system.

  • Enhanced Hand washing!  This is something we always do, but we’re being more vigilant.  Our staff washes their hands when they begin work, when they change tasks, after touching “community” or “personal” items, after cleaning tasks, before touching clean dishes, after touching dirty dishes, before running food, after touching our face or hair and any other time when their hands become soiled. 

  • Gloves!  We always wear gloves when preparing foods, and we changes them frequently.  After taking gloves off, we always wash our hands!

  • Monuts offers 2 weeks Paid Time Off to all staff members.  They have always had it and are actively being encouraged to use it if they are experiencing any symptoms.  If they are sick, they are being asked to receive medical clearance before returning to work.

  • We are not allowing customers to bring their own coffee cups or traveler cups from home.  We can control and ensure sanitation practices on the items we use in shop and will be relying on those items only for service. 

  • We are following the guidance from CDC, WHO and credible public health agencies on best practices and are keeping a close eye on the situation as it unfolds.  We acknowledge that Monuts is a crowded space and we are taking active measures to promote social distancing (see below).

 

Social Distancing at Monuts

 

As the Covid-19 pandemic unfolds, we are being told almost universally that as individuals, we should be practicing some degree of social distancing.  To be completely honest, we are both flattered and increasingly concerned that the Monuts dining room has remained as crowded as it has over the last week.  We never want to turn away business.  Our success and livelihoods depend on you, our lovely customers, showing up in droves, as you always do to support us.  We love this about you and are eternally grateful for your business.  BUT, we are facing a situation that we have never faced before.  Our responsibility as business owners is three-fold and we take each as seriously as the next.  First, we have a responsibility to our customers to serve food that is prepared to food code and served in a manner that will prevent the spread of illness (foodborne or otherwise).   Second, we have a responsibility to our staff!  We want to make sure they can depend on us for financial security.  Their jobs naturally put them that at an increased risk for all illness because they see so many people, so we want to make sure they have the benefits (like paid time off, and health reimbursements) that will help them get through tough times. As we make business decisions that affect our sales or face potential dips in revenue, we are constantly thinking about how it will affect our employee’s ability to pay their bills, take care of themselves and their families, and go about their daily life in a somewhat uninterrupted way.  Lastly, we have a responsibility to Monuts and to ourselves to be profitable—profitable enough to stay in business.  This means that when difficult decisions have to be made, we have to make sure that we can recover from whatever set-back we face, be it a closure, limiting our hours or services, or otherwise.  We have to keep Monuts going, not only for our own financial security, but for our employees, our farmers and vendors and for our customers. 

 

For all of these reasons, the following policy has been thought about with great caution.  We believe however, that being proactive rather than reactive is the better move at this point. 

 

Weekday Policy: Beginning Monday March 16th, we will be enforcing a 50 person maximum occupancy in our dining area to give our guests space and the ability to practice social distance to the best of their ability. 

  • We strongly encourage customers to order in advance online (mkt.com/monuts) for take-out rather than eating in.  Luckily, our food travels well, and tastes just as great outside at the park or at home as it does here.  Chances are, it’s a bit quieter too. 

  • If you arrive and the dining room is full, you will be asked to place your order to-go and will be asked to take your food to-go.

 

Weekend Policy:  Beginning Friday March 20th, Monuts will move to TAKE-OUT and DELIVERY only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  We will not be allowing dine-in traffic under any circumstance.  Please follow the following recommendations to get your Monuts on weekends!

  • Order Online and Arrive 15 minutes later.  By doing so, you skip the line entirely! 

    • Order online at mkt.com/monuts

  • Order in person!  Feel free to stop by, wait in line, and order as usual.

  • Please keep visiting us in some capacity!  Although we are fully expecting business to go down with these measures in place, we don’t want it to disappear.  Our goal is to find the middle-ground.  We want to stay open and pay our employees, but we also want to do what’s best for the community at large, which means doing our part to help space people out.  

  • If you hate the idea of taking your Monuts order to-go, please stop by on weekdays instead!

  • We are hoping to be equipped to take PHONE ORDERS very soon.  Stay tuned for updates.

  • Want Delivery? Uber has enacted a series of ‘contactless delivery options’.  Although we prefer take-out orders to Uber (Uber keeps 30% of all sales), we prefer something to nothing, so it’s a great option.  We’re hoping to move delivery in-house in the coming weeks to provide more hours for staff members, so stay tuned for updates!

  • The 50 Person Maximum Occupancy will still be in effect on weekends-- applying to customers placing orders, waiting for orders or those picking up their orders.  This should not slow service in any way, it just means that the line will be diverted outside sooner and customer's might be asking to wait outside for their orders if necesary.  Luckily, good weather is on the horizon, so waiting outside should be a lot more enjoyable really soon.  We ask that you keep 6ft distancing in line, even outside the restaurant. 

  • Since weekend orders will be to-go, please consider sending a single person or very small group to pick-up your order rather than the whole party.  

  • A Monuts fueled picnic on a warm spring day sounds great, doesn’t it?  So place your order online, pack some drinks and a blanket and head to the Eno for a picnic.  Social distance achieved.  Donuts achieved.  Supporting local business achieved.  

 

If you’ve gotten this far, THANK YOU for reading this very long, very tedious document.  We really do appreciate our customers more than you’ll ever know.  We are trying to do the right thing while looking out for as many people in our community as possible and are grateful for your continued support as this situation unfolds.  If you have any other questions or suggestions or happen to be full-fledged epidemiologist willing to answer some questions for the larger restaurant community, please get in touch!  We are also more than willing to share our specific COVID-19 hazard mitigation plan with other restaurateurs or representatives of any local public health authorities that are looking for example policies that can be adapted to their specific environments.  Our e-mail is monutsdonuts@gmail.com

 

Thanks folks!

Lindsay and Rob

©2017 Monuts LLC