Denton County Restaurants Share Information to Get Through Tough Times Together

The Denton County Restaurant Owners Facebook group started to help business owners share information, instead of competing, to make it through COVID-19 restrictions

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Restaurant owners don't generally share information about their businesses with one another, but COVID-19 restrictions are changing that in Denton County.

"I've got 54 members," Phil Shirley said looking at the Facebook group he started called Denton County Restaurant Owners Group. "If we are talking as a group, and we could share information we wouldn't normally share because we're competitors, you know it might save an employee."

Shirley owns Hannah's near the square in downtown Denton. He's switched to curbside takeout.

"I'm working for my employees now harder than ever," Shirley said. "The last thing I want to see is a bunch of hourly wage people go on the street and not be able to eat, so it's my duty to them to make sure they're taken care of."

Shirley's Facebook page encourages other owners to share what's working for them, to help the whole.

"I wanted to find a way that we could look out and see our customer trends," Shirley said. "Last thing I want is for one restaurant to close down here in our county. It's not good for any of us."

"It this moment, we're not competing," Facebook group member Luigi Begaj said.

Begaj owns North Point Cafe in Denton. He decided to remain closed during the COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions.

"We have to stay at home," Begaj said. "You're killing someone and you don't know because it's an invisible enemy."

He's been giving away food from the restaurants to his employees and those in need.

"It's least we can do for people now," Begaj said. "Because we're losing money but we're gaining hope."

Hope: the new daily special.

"Hopes are high that we'll come back and come back and come back stronger," Begaj said.

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