Honey Hut working around tight quarters, eliminating equipment to serve essential comfort food

Honey Hut working around tight quarters, eliminating equipment to serve essential comfort food

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -It doesn’t feel much like ice cream weather, but in times like these, every day is ice cream weather.

It’s an affordable luxury that’s helping some people find a bit of normalcy through all this.

“We really grappled with all of our customers bombarding us on social media and email saying ‘We need ice cream. We desperately need ice cream!The world sucks right now. We need some comfort food,'" said Jonathan Rosati, of Honey Hut Ice Cream.

Honey Hut runs five Northeast Ohio locations, and Rosati’s Frozen Custard.

“Our Brecksville store is set up galley style, only about four feet wide space for employees to fit in,” he said.

They’ve been working hard behind the scenes during the last month to make sure they can reopen safely.

They are an essential business, but decided to shut down for a while to make some significant changes.

“At all of our locations we’ve installed new physical barriers and Plexiglas windows, and new speaker systems. We’ve diverted customer lines. We’ve reduced the number of people who are able to be in the store and the number of employees that we have working as well," Rosati said.

He said figuring out how to navigate the store as an employee was what took them the longest.

"We had to refit the interior of all of our stores to accommodate an entirely new workflow,” Rosati said.

Employees are now working further apart and taking new paths to equipment and products.

They’ve eliminated certain products because they had to get rid of pieces of equipment to make room for social distancing.

“It takes us longer to make products. We’re not able to make all products. But our goal all along was if we can make sure our employees are safe then everything else will fall into line like dominoes,” said Rosati.

They’re asking the public to be patient, and take a minute before they come to their locations to research online how they’re supposed to move around in and out of the stores, and even order online to make it easier on the staff.

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“A lot of our business is families coming in to celebrate things, soccer teams and parties and things like that. We have taken a hit from that, from big groups. But we are seeing a lot of families coming up to pick up things to take home.”

Grater’s Ice Cream, based in Ohio, has stayed open throughout the pandemic.

“We were lucky enough that we have an app and we’ve had online ordering for a really long time. So you can order pints and ship them to yourself or a friend. And we really quickly put into place the curbside which was nice because we already had the platform to do it,” said Shanna Martin-Gornall.

She says they’re tapping in to the population binging on streaming services and indulgent eats.

"It’s a good treat to indulge in, because people aren’t spending money on extravagant things right now. But ice cream is a small indulgence that’s always good,” she said.

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