The COVID-19 pandemic has forced countless industries to innovate, but arguably none have been forced to shift as drastically and as quickly as the restaurant industry.
“In order to keep our doors open it’s what we had to do. We had to adjust,” said Mary Perez, owner of "Enchiladas Ole’" in Fort Worth.
NBC 5 first spoke with Perez at the start of the pandemic when carryout was just becoming a reality. Now, she says it’s more than that – with outdoor dining, to-go meals catered to families and to-go alcohol shifting their business model.
“I think it has changed our mentality and I think we are all better for it,” Perez said.
Despite the many challenges, Perez says they have even been able to open a second location.
In Dallas, "The Old Monk" is also another example of innovation – starting a new coffee service in October.
“We have been kind of amazed at how well the coffee fits into what our already established business was,” said manager Charles Reis.
Reis says they have expanded their hours and have created a new niche in their business. As difficult as the year has been, both Perez and Reis believe lessons learned will serve the industry well for years to come.
“We have seen a lot of people do things that are outside the box and different than what they did previously,” Reis said.