By this point, it's impossible to find anyone unaffected by the Coronavirus pandemic. The health care industry is facing one of its toughest challenges ever. The state of Indiana has cancelled standardized testing for the 2019-2020 school year. Small business owners are being met with a cloud of uncertainty as social distancing and shelter in place mandates have many Americans testing the durability of their couch cushions.
Chris and Kristy Bardol ('88) are meeting the challenge head on.
Owners of Stop 50 Wood Fired Pizzeria in Michiana Shores, the Bardol Family has a long and strong connection to Marquette. Kristy's grandmothers graduated from then St. Mary's in 1938. Her parents, Bill and Carol Root, graduated in 1954 and 1958, respectively. Kristy's siblings are also Marquette products: Tom ('81), Linda ('82), and Brian ('84). On Chris's side of the family, his brothers Matt and Mike graduated from Marquette in 1992 and 1994, respectively, and his sister, Sarah, is a 1994 graduate as well.
Chris and Kristy's four children are either enrolled or have graduated from Marquette: Mackenzie ('18), Cormack ('20), Sean ('21), and Riggs ('22).
Like any restaurant, the Bardols are closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak.
"In addition to our own high standards of cleanliness, we are practicing under the additional CDC guidelines and adhering to state and local directives. We are working tirelessly to ensure the health and safety of our own employees and our customers," Bardol said.
We checked in with them earlier this week to see how Stop 50 is adjusting.
How long has Stop 50 Pizzeria been open?
Stop 50: We have been open for 14 years now. This year will start our 15th season.
What hours and stipulations is your restaurant currently experiencing?
Stop 50: We are keeping our normal spring hours of Friday, Saturday and Sunday and providing carryout and/or curbside carryout on our full menu.
Have you experienced anything in the past that has made you close/adjust your hours for a day, a couple of days, or a week?
Stop 50: We have not seen anything to this extent. In the past there have been power outages that closed us down for a couple days (we now have a complete back up generator system, so power outages will not be an issue for us), we have seen food recalls that effect supply and produce customer concerns, i.e. Lettuce recalls, meat recalls etc., but we have been insulated from those recalls in that we purchase our lettuce and basil from local indoor growers. This is a complete, across the board, systemwide, worldwide event that we have never known.
One common idea is that purchasing gift cards to use at a later time is one of the most helpful things a customer can do right now. Is that so and is there anything else we can do in the interim?
Stop 50: Gift cards can and will help with cashflow. It is a very generous option in lieu of ordering, especially if customers are concerned about person to person contact. However, I encourage people to continue to order carryout in place of dining in, if dining in at any establishment was on your list to do. We continue to have good fresh supply of ingredients and prepare and cook everything to order. The food service supply chain is healthy and is working well.
As a business owner, this presents unprecedented challenges not only for yourself but for your employees. How are they responding?
Stop 50: We are a healthy business operation. We have always planned forward and kept a simple approach to our business, as well as our food. Therefore, we are blessed to be in a position to assist our employees through this unprecedented time. We plan on paying our salaried employees and will offer shorten shift rotations for our hourly staff. We will rotate our servers as food runners for curbside carryout, a separate rotation for our dish staff to perform extra sanitation precautions, our hosts will manage phones and organize carryout packaging.
Stop 50 Wood Fired Pizzeria is located at 500 El Portal Drive in Michiana Shores.