Pizza shop relies on Dinuba support

New York Pizza and Grill has been open for less than a year, and the support from their community has helped them stay afloat throughout the pandemic

DINUBA – Opening a restaurant is one of the riskiest business ventures one could make. Add a global pandemic to the equation and this is a potential recipe for disaster. Despite the uncertainty, New York Pizza and Grill in Dinuba has managed to stay afloat following their grand opening last November.

Back in March, restaurants everywhere were forced to close the inside of their shops. Places like New York Pizza and Grill were fortunate enough to have the delivery infrastructure in place, so they could still service their customers. Nonetheless, their business still took a major blow as losing dine-in customers has been the biggest obstacle to staying open over the last few months. According to Jas Singh, the nephew of the shop’s owner George Singh, the store lost 60% of their dine-in customers. In addition to pizza, the more popular items on the menu are dine-in foods such as grilled salmon, pastas, and chicken marsala. They had even gone through the extensive process to get a license to sell beer before they were forced to shut down the inside of their shop.

To ensure that they’ll be ready to serve customers when it is time to reopen, New York Pizza and Grill has completely revamped their point of service (POS) system. When an order is ready to go, customers will get a notification to come pick it up, which will minimize congestion in the lobby. The new POS system also utilizes touch free payment software such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, which will help minimize unnecessary contact.

Instead of the traditional reusable menus that restaurants normally have, New York Pizza and Grill has transitioned to using disposable paper menus. To take it a step further, they also have barcode scanners that allows people to scan with their phone camera and the menu will pop up on their device. They’ve also installed clear barriers in front of the cashier to help minimize the spread of germs between employees and customers.

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Dinuba’s New York Pizza and Grill has defied the odds of staying open during the pandemic, despite opening just five months prior to the state’s shutdown.Photo by Jermaine Johnson II

Despite all the changes taking place on the inside of the store, it has been the outside support from the local community that has allowed the shop to stay afloat.

“We’ve gotten immense support from some of our regulars who have kept us going. People from Reedley and Kingsburg have come all the way here just to support us,” Jas Singh said.

The pizza shop has done their part in giving back to the community throughout the pandemic. Back in April when cases of COVID-19 first began to spread rapidly, New York Pizza and Grill donated pizza to Kaweah Delta hospital in Visalia. Three weeks after that, they donated pizza to the Dinuba Police Department.

“We tried to do whatever we could to help community. They were out there serving us regardless of the pandemic so [the donations] was a token of our appreciation.”

Although their first year in business has been beyond unpredictable, Singh is appreciative of the fact that he isn’t stuck inside his home and can play a major role in serving the community.

“We are able to serve the people in this hard time and be a part of the essential business community. I have seen other people who have had to close their business and stay at home indefinitely,” he said. “I’m glad we weren’t amongst those people so we can come to work and feed people, everybody needs to eat.”

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