By Michael J. Billoni
The Buffalo Launch Club on Grand Island followed the state and county mandate for all restaurants to close its doors in mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once restaurants offered takeout and delivery services in the weeks following, the BLC began brainstorming on how it could do the same and provide opportunities for some of its furloughed restaurant staff.
“We made sure our employees knew they were being furloughed and, when we could, they would be called back to work,” explained Ken Pelletier, the club’s rear commodore.
Within a short period of time, chef John Dobson and Acting General Manager Lisa Harris presented club officials with a plan offering a takeout menu for Wednesday-Saturday dinners for individuals or a family of four to six.
Club member Dr. Gary Ehlert, M.D., advised the team if they were going to pursue this opportunity they must comply with all health agencies and do it as safely as possible.
“Safety of our staff and customers is our No. 1 goal,” explained Pelletier, who said everyone in the club and kitchen wears gloves and face masks at all times.
Ken Knight, a club member and founder of Pickleball Island, led the marketing efforts to promote dinners to the public through the BLC website (www.buffalolaunchclub.com) and advertising. Service began March 26 for both club members and non-members. The most popular item has been the club’s famous fresh fish fry, which is offered in a variety of ways.
Customers call in (716-773-7629) to place and pay for their orders and give a pick-up time. They can drive up to the portico, where staff will bring a bag with their order to the car on a serving tray to eliminate human touch.
“The customers have really appreciated our attention to detail in regards to the safety measures,” Pelletier said.
Beginning next week, the Buffalo Launch Club will expand its takeout service to Wednesday through Saturday evenings.
A new menu is posted on its website each week.
“We now have this down to a science and business has been picking up, so we will be bringing in more staff,” Pelletier continued. “I also believe we will be offering this takeout service for the foreseeable future, even after the restaurant is open.”