ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Some metro businesses — big and small — are turning to services like Doordash and Grubhub as indoor dining remains closed. However, one locally-based online ordering company is hoping to lend a helping hand to small businesses, all by offering a similar service.
COVID-19 was almost the end of business for Chef Marie Yniguez. Her family-owned restaurant, Slow Roasted Bocadillos, located in the Wells Fargo building downtown, took a hard hit. They closed for a month as they worked on how to adapt and protect employees and customers.
“It almost took us down. It got real close, it got real close to not knowing what to do,” said Yniguez. “We didn’t have any online or delivery service before this. It was all just walk-in, call-ins.”
That’s when she heard about Selflane through other local restaurants. The Albuquerque-based restaurant tech company is owned by Kevin Zhou.
“I grew up in a restaurant family,” said Zhou, who says the experience led him to creating a business that makes things easier on restaurant owners. “As a kid, I saw my parents work really hard.”
Zhou says the pandemic hit Albuquerque small businesses hard, with around 80% of restaurants they do business with, losing more than 50% of their sales. He says the service, which offers online ordering and delivery, is helping many pick up business again as they navigate the loss of indoor dining.
“Now we’re delivering for about 120 restaurants in Albuquerque. We just expanded our delivery radius to eight miles,” said Zhou. “We’re just doing everything we can to help them stay afloat by doing social media marketing for them.”
Yniguez says while business isn’t the same as before the pandemic, she’s grateful for the help as they move forward, while also helping out a fellow local. She says going online has opened the business open to new customers and they hope to continue.
“Our sales still aren’t at 100% far from it. But, it’s been better,” said Yniguez. “It’s gotten better and that’s all you can do is adapt and overcome.”
Selflane owners say they’re working on creating more COVID-safe options for local restaurants, like contactless payments and QR code ordering. They’re also offering digital gift cards where customers can support restaurants, even if they’re not getting out just yet, saving the cards for future orders.