Just like any day, the phone rings at 1425 14th Street, Suite C in Sacramento.
“Hello Pizza Supreme Being,” Ben Roberts says, rapidly. “One whole cheese pie,” he repeats the order. "Your name?”
It’s the same conversation with a customer as thousands of others. This is the sound of business still being done in Sacramento. The difference is that now it's the only way business is being done since the front door of the restaurant is locked.
Roberts and his wife, Pembe Sonmez-Roberts, own Pizza Supreme Being on 14th Street in Sacramento. He says orders for the public to self-isolate and for restaurants to first reduce their seating capacity by half and then only provide takeout options have caused them to rethink things. With a capacity of nine patrons, it made sense to just lock the door. But could they still stay open, somehow?
“We’re normally known as a by-the-slice pizza joint that offers whole pies. Seeing as we don’t have crowds, we ixnayed our slices,” he said. "We do have our squares available a la cart. Everything is call-in and pre-order now..We don’t want to have walk-ins. Walk-ins will be given a time to return."
Typically, he says Pizza Supreme Being sells between 90 and 150 pizzas a day before the restrictions. But now they're limiting the number of pizzas sold, partly to help other restaurants survive.
“We figured 45 pizzas is what can keep the lights on here at our pizzeria and then we want to distribute the wealth evenly beyond (among) our hospitality peers,” Roberts said. “So, 45 is plenty for us.”
It also limits the number of people at the restaurant at any given time.
“We’re doing four pizzas every 30 minutes and that way we can schedule a time that no more than four people can ever come up and pick up their pizza. (We’re) trying to eliminate crowd,” he said from the restaurant, by phone.
There is one more change to the way they operate, and that’s the process of taking credit or debit card payments.
“We have a square bottle of sanitizer. Every time somebody signs, we spray it down with sanitizer. We wipe it down,” he says. “We have one person manning that station. That person’s not going to touch food. That person, all they do is take credit card transactions.”
Remember what your mom said about putting your hands in your mouth after handling money? Roberts says they feel the same way, but, as a last resort, they will take cash.
“We still do take cash if that’s your only means of payment. We don’t want to discriminate,” he said.
But he hopes people will add a mobile payment option to their phones.
Roberts says this is the first anniversary of he and his wife getting the keys to the space. But instead of a big party, it’s a day to celebrate the things that have recently become much more important in our consciousness, like the health and well-being of friends, family and employees.
Pizza Supreme Being employs two full-time and four part-time employees. Pizzas can be picked up until 8 p.m. It will not take any pre-orders for future days. Deliveries are made by third-party apps like Postmates, Caviar, and Doordash.
“We’re taking it day-by-day,” Roberts said, “Until they tell us to stop, we’re here to provide food to the people.”
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