There’s a steady stream of customers at small Mexican restaurant tucked away in the corner of a Thousand Oaks shopping center. Business is good, but not great for the restaurant, called “Three Amigos.” Like many small businesses on the Central and South Coasts, it’s trying to figure out how to survive in the coronavirus world.
Juan Rodriguez owns the restaurant along with his brothers Leonardo and Federico. The two decade old business is an American success story. The brothers came to the U.S. from Mexico, got educations, and followed their dream. They have two of the small restaurants with one in Thousand Oaks, and one in Newbury Park. But, coronavirus has threatened them. Rodriguez admits the last few months have been scary.
He says as an essential business, they stayed open the entire time, even when they were losing money. They wanted to keep their staff working.
The Thousand Oaks restaurant has a small indoor eating area, and an outdoor patio. The indoor area is small, too small for more than three or four tables with proper social distancing. So, they’ve removed all of the tables, and enclosed the order and pickup areas with plexiglass and plastic sheeting. He says one of the things that’s helped is that many regular customers did mostly take-out service already.
Rodriguez says they had to train the staff with some new safety protocols. And, customers are no longer able to use the self-serve soda machine, or the do-it-yourself salsa bar because of health concerns.
Three Amigos was able to get one of the small business government loans to help it get through the crunch. Rodriguez says all they can do is keep doing what they do, making their popular burritos, tacos, and other food, and hope that the economy will continue to make a comeback.