James Herb is becoming the ultimate multitasker, taking a few moments to talk about how proud he is of his team while making a to-go cocktail.
It’s the new normal for the managing partner of Finney’s Crafthouse & Kitchen.
He has to play the role of bartender, host, cook, manager, janitor . . . the list goes on.
“We are staying open for the people, hands down,” Mr. Herb said. “We will not close our doors unless we are mandated by the county or state.”
That is seemingly echoing what hundreds of others have also decided to do — adjust the business model and continue to serve.
For Mr. Herb, that means operating with an eight-person staff — a pair of managers, three at the front of the house and three at the back of the house.
And each are being trained to do everything.
Mr. Herb wasn’t exempt in having to make very difficult decisions over the past two weeks, laying off between 90-95% of his staff.
But he hasn’t forgotten them.
Mr. Herb is still offering 50% discounts on two meals per day for that staff — and “they can and will be rehired, whenever we get past this thing.”
That’s the Finney family effect, Mr. Herb refuses to look at these folks as employees — they are family, and they will be taken care of.
And that extends to the community, albeit regulars or newcomers.
He has lowered prices in an effort to help people budget their precious dollars, potentially allowing them to enjoy their favorite foods a bit more often.
He introduced a “family meal” on Friday — hot wings, churros, two pizzas of your choice, a salad of your choice and either a 6-pack of beer or bottle of wine. The tariff? Only $50.
“We have to think about the long haul, help our families budget and we just hope that they’ll want a meal or two from us over time,” Mr. Herb said.
Mr. Herb has also reached out to the Boys & Girls Club, as well as Habitat for Humanity, just wanting to know what he can do to help those families that might be going hungry.
He’s instructed those organizations that families just have to shoot him a note that they are in need of a little bit of help and they’ll get 50% off.
“We need to get food in everyone’s stomachs, just one way we can help out the community,” Mr. Herb said. “Whatever we can do.”
Mr. Herb is running on fumes, arriving at 35 State St. around 10 a.m. and rarely leaving before 10 p.m., if not much deeper into the night.
But he reminds himself that Finney’s can play a major role in helping people “stay calm and collected.” The normalcy that a real meal can provide is powerful, even if the customer has to wait a few minutes.
“People are so thankful, we hear that so much,” Mr. Herb said. “And that’s why we are doing this, to help people.”
And it’s folks like Mr. Herb and the rest of his staff that show us that we will get through this — together, and maybe a little less hungry.