The Southern-style restaurant in Dublin, Ohio, was forced to shut down March 15, after the state-mandated closure of restaurants in a push to thwart the spread of COVID-19 in the state. Hen Quarter’s owner, Ron Jordan, who is also the CEO of Jordan Hospitality Group, told Fox Business why he chose not to offer curbside carryout options to the public.
“Unlike my other counterparts in the market, I made the decision to shut down immediately,” said Jordan. “The reason I did it is because it costs way more money to open our type of dining segment of restaurant as a carryout institution. It costs way more than it benefits in the end.”
Jordan furloughed his employees but kept everyone on their benefits so they would have no trouble receiving health care during the pandemic. Another decision that Jordan made differently from his counterparts was to use the PPP funds he qualified for to keep some of his employees on to make meals for service and hospitality professionals who were laid off. In addition, Jordan spearheaded the donation of meals to 800 area health care workers at three different central Ohio hospital systems.
“I think the people that do the real work typically get overlooked, so we wanted to make sure we at least gave the frontline workers an opportunity to feel appreciated,” said Jordan.
Hen Quarter officially reopened to the public on June 10. Jordan personally retrained every one of his returning employees and told FOX Business that he decided to limit the days and stay open for five days a week.
“Going down to five days a week has been phenomenal and put us in a much better position and profitability,” said Jordan. “Through July, we were up 27% year-over-year when a lot of people in my industry are doing 50% to 70% of what they did last year. We are excelling.”
Jordan wants to use his success to leverage change amid COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on not only the health of Black Americans but also Black-owned businesses. As a member of the Ohio Restaurant Association Alliance Board, as well as his local Governmental Affairs Board, Jordan told FOX Business that he is working to address the problems facing minority-owned businesses.
“I think the biggest challenge for Black-owned businesses is access to capital,” said Jordan. “The vast majority of us do not come from an abundance of resources, so I think the biggest thing is getting a firm understanding of how to obtain some of these resources while also providing a better path to access to that capital that's out there.”
Jordan said that Hen Quarter is on pace to set an all-time record in August and that he looks forward to continued growth and learning.
“Right now, this is one of those transcendent moments in history where you're either going to be able to grow from this and rise to the occasion, or you're going to falter and go under,” said Jordan. “I think those that realize this is a true opportunity for us to figure out how to work smarter to get to a point to figure out how to get access to capital, to resources, to get to a point where you can grow, will get past this and set up for long-term success.”
For more on Ron Jordan’s leadership and business decisions amid the coronavirus pandemic, watch the full video above.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.