“We feel lucky to have business so that we can employ some people and provide food to the community.”– Michael Marzano, who co-owns Hot Mama’s Wings in Eugene with his wife Angie.
Like so many restaurants across the state, Hot Mama’s has shifted its entire business to offer only take-out meals. Michael and Angie say they feel fortunate that they’ve been able to continuously adapt and pivot. “It’s tough, a continuing work in progress, but we’re figuring it out,” Angie adds. They cut the menu in half based on what they could do with proper social distancing in the kitchen and what would work best for takeout. They initially struggled to get enough to-go containers and all-natural chicken wings. As they worked through to find solutions, “it was nice to find out the new menu matched well to what customers really wanted,” Michael reflects. He has also been delightfully surprised to find that Hot Mama’s new menu is generating virtually no food waste.
From early on, Michael focused on increasing comfort and safety for customers and staff. He created clear signage for customers, and had all staff members wearing masks and maintaining social distance. He slowly increased his volume to where he is now at full capacity for what he can do with social distancing.
“The irony is that, while it’s tough now, it will get more difficult when we open back up,” Michael muses. “We’ll need to rethink everything all over again.”
Although it has certainly been stressful, Michael has enjoyed the challenge to be creative and roll with the punches. And he’s been rewarded by the community response.
“Customers seem grateful and want to help neighborhood restaurants. We couldn’t be more grateful to them. As a neighborhood joint, we’ve seen a lot of beautiful support from the local community.”
Hot Mama’s Wings, 420 W 13th Avenue, Eugene OR 97401
This story is part of a series that explores how COVID-19 has shifted the landscape around how people in Oregon buy, use, and store food. As an agency committed to reducing the environmental impacts of food, we are grateful for the ongoing commitment of all who are doing the vital work to get food to our table and make sure little goes to waste during this unprecedented time. To learn more about how these partners are helping and how you can help, click here