Local restaurant faces new challenges as it rebounds from pandemic

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TULSA, Oklahoma. – As small businesses prepare to enter the third year of the pandemic, many have overcome huge economic challenges, but now face different challenges.

Kenny Chan is the owner of Sushi Hana. He said business was back and doing very well. Now, the difficulty is to bring the workforce back to what it was before COVID.

Chan’s Restaurant is located in the heart of Midtown. For the past ten years, this former New Yorker has enriched the palates of the Tulsan community with sushi.

“We’re a fusion of all types, a little bit of Korean flavor, mostly Japanese and Chinese,” Chan said.

Since the start of the pandemic, operating his small business has not been the most colorful experience. Like most restaurateurs, the pandemic has been difficult. In January 2020, Chan sold one of his two stores, not because he didn’t have any customers, but because he couldn’t find a sushi chef.

“It’s high stress, there are days when you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” Chan said.

That same year, it closed its doors for two and a half months. He said the community of Tulsa had helped him survive.

“We had a rough time when we closed, but they were all there for us with our take out orders and that helps us a lot to keep us afloat,” Chan said.

Almost two years later, the doors are open again for dinner, but now he is facing a staff shortage. Before the pandemic he said he needed five servers, but right now he has about two servers running per day.

He said sometimes some of his employees call sick, others are just exhausted.

HE SAYS SOMETIMES SOME OF THEY CALL SICK, OTHERS ARE JUST GRILLED.

“We have to juggle a lot. If my employee doesn’t come to work, I bring my wife or I have a little help… my daughter, both… my daughter helps us with the dishes or helps me at the table, ”Chan said. .

He said supply chain issues or shipping delays also made it difficult.

“Sushi is harder to get, a lot of things are harder to get,” Chan said.

Regardless, Chan is grateful for a supportive community and hopes next year will be filled with better days to come.

Chan said he plans to open a ramen restaurant soon next year. This location remains to be determined.


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