Mon. Jul 4th, 2022

The pandemic has changed the livelihood of millions across the country in all sorts of businesses and workplaces. Today, I will be focusing on a small restaurant located in Upper Bucks County, PA, that has not only survived the pandemic unlike other small restaurants in the area, but thrived throughout it. The Rockhill Filling Station is a restaurant that offers a wide variety of food and beverages, specializing in traditional American dining and cuisine. A relative of mine, my younger brother Max, is one of the main chefs at the restaurant and discusses his thoughts and feelings in an interview that went as followed:

What do you do for a job at your company (title/responsibilities/etc.)?

Max: I am a line cook at The Rockhill Filling Station restaurant, I am responsible for preparing food in a timely manner when it’s ordered, cleaning and maintaining my work area and collaborating with the head chef in the kitchen. Occasionally I create my own dishes which are featured on our menu which allows me to show off my creative and culinary skills.

What changes to working in the food and restaurant business have occurred throughout the COVID-19 pandemic?

Max: Sanitation and cleanliness have always been a part of the kitchen I work in, but I notice there has been much more emphasis on cleanliness especially in the earlier stages of the pandemic. Another change that occurred in our restaurant is all the employees having to wear a mask at all times while indoors and working. Prior to the pandemic it was more common for customers to dine in, but nowadays the majority of our orders are served through curbside pickup where families come in and pick up their meals.

Do you believe the changes that occurred were good or bad, and what sort of adaptations did you have to make in order to better serve customers during the pandemic?

Max: The Rockhill Filling Station overall had good changes throughout the pandemic. We had around the same amount of those dining in as before with social distance practices following CDC guidelines, but now on top of that our market expanded into being a popular carryout restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Families who don’t leave their house often due to the pandemic have been great customers as they buy multiple meals to last them over a week at times. This extra income allowed for our wages to increase and for us to expand into more exotic food, for example we had a limited time special, the camel burger, which would’ve been impossible before the pandemic.

What challenges does your food business face in regards to COVID-19?

Max: There has been a struggle to grow the number of diners attending our restaurant as many new customers flock to carryout and pick up orders. One of our main goals at the moment is to enhance our dining experience in order to draw more people in rather than simply picking up our dishes. As a chef, the scenery and environment of eating in a dining room is important to how the dish is to be enjoyed and delivered.

Following my interview with Chef Max, I not only learned the ins and outs of how a small restaurant business is surviving throughout the pandemic but how it is also thriving. Innovation plays a key part in these restaurants succeeding to the extent that they do and The Rockhill Filling Station is no exception to this. With constant innovation among the owners and chefs rises the ability for them to stand out amongst other restaurants and fast food chains in the area. COVID-19 didn’t destroy this business, but rather, helped it move in a new direction. New opportunities rise in this culinary field everyday and if a business wants to overcome the hardships of the pandemic they must be willing to adapt and change just as The Rockhill Filling Station had demonstrated.

Zach Veltri is a fourth-year Political Science major with a minor in Journalism.

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