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Cupertino restaurant opens days before shelter in place started, gets creative to keep afloat

Bay Area

CUPERTINO, Calif. (KRON) – Many restaurants are struggling to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic. Even with take out and delivery options, it’s not enough business to pay the bills.

One restaurant in Cupertino opened just days before the shelter in place started and they’ve had to get creative in order to keep afloat.

The kitchen at Pineapple Thai in Cupertino looks busy in the video but the restaurant was forced to shut its doors just days after its grand opening last month because of the shelter in place order.

“We just got all these great people full team of employees to start with us and we had to lay off everybody at the first week,” owner Thalia Swangchaeng said. 

Employees weren’t receiving a paycheck but the restaurant owner did offer them free food.

“Right from the beginning Pineapple Thai was donating to our inside team so any employees that were laid off were welcome to pick up food and groceries here instead of having to go buy at the grocery stores,” Swangchaeng said. 

After just a few days, the restaurant owner got take out and delivery services up and running to help bring some of her staff back to work.

“First couple weeks were very hard because I think everyone was frightened with what’s happening and kind of shocked people were hesitating to even get take out a lot of them,” Swangchaeng said. 

And now, more employees are back at Pineapple Thai making meals for seniors, students in the South Bay and soon, hospital workers and other first responders on the frontline turning a challenging situation into an opportunity to support the community.

“At first it was very shocking to me so I didn’t really know what to do and how to help our employees at first that was my first thing like how am i going to survive and then after a little bit, I’m like ok so not making any profit but at least right now my main concern is how to make sure my employees are getting paid and also to give back so it feels really good being able to do something during the shelter in place time,” Swangchaeng said. 

They have this advice for other restaurant owners in the Bay Area.

“Just let them know not to give up and hang in there and hopefully we get through this together,” Swangchaeng said.

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