For today’s Q&A with a local business, we talk to Alyssa Kadow, owner of Greens On The Go.
A provider of California-inspired salads, grain bowls, smoothies, snacks and seasonal specials, Greens On The Go is located inside Pine Street Concessions. It’s open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, offering pickup and delivery through Uber Eats. Kudos said she plans to have online ordering up and running by the end of this week and to have a new mobile app launched by the end of May.
Here’s our interview.
New Canaanite: Tell me how you are faring at Greens On The Go amid the public safety emergency and related restrictions.
Alyssa Kadow: It’s complex. We had to shut down completely and I had to let a lot of my staff go, and I have gotten half of them back which is good. We had to shut down to figure out how to safely reopen—safely for our staff members and just trying to figure out how we could all safely work in the kitchen while distancing ourselves from each other. We have a small kitchen but it’s heavy volume, especially at lunch. When I reopened the first time we were just doing family meals, thinking that’s what people would want and that did not seem to go over well. So we shut again and decided to do limited menus Monday through Friday, and I got my daughter and one other worker to see how it would go and it is going great. Every day, the word is getting out and lunch is busy again. Everything is different because it takes longer to do everything and you have less people doing it, and then you have this phone thing where people are calling and giving numbers and sometimes that’s a problem because people are driving and or they pull over and there’s no service, so that is why we constantly, every week, are realizing at the end of the week what went right and what is not right and what can we make better.
Though all of these all of these changes and adaptations, what has the response from the community been like?
I feel like the community has been extremely supportive. It is overwhelming to me. Sometimes I get a little teary-eyed, it is so wonderful to see that love and support for our little Greens On The Go. And 99% of the time people are just happy to get healthy food, and some are upset with how long it takes or they could not get through, but for the most part people are positive it’s been a good response to our being open.
What are your best sellers?
Well it depends on the weather, that is a factor. Because, obviously, being healthy foods, the warmer months are our busiest months, May and June. One would be the Calif Salad, but we sell a lot of soups and hot food, too. Because it’s not really warm yet, it’s still snowing in fact, so we do a lot of hot plates, tacos, bean dishes, soups.
Nobody knows for sure how long the restrictions will be in place or just how things will work in the wake of this. Given that, what is your sense of the ability of Greens On The Go to outlast this crisis?
I think that we are going to be OK, because we are open-minded and I’m not one of these chefs where it’s ‘I’m not going to do this’ or ‘I’m not going to do that.’ I feel like we just have to reinvent ourselves and be open-minded to these changes. At first it seems weird but then it’s more normal the more you do it. Like cooking with a mask on goes against everything that chefs do, because we use all of our senses—we taste the food, we smell the food. So it’s all different. Some of the changes are a little weird, so we are all adapting and putting out the food and I have a more limited menu but I do think the way we have survived is just to embrace it. We already had 90% of our orders were takeout anyway. We are trying now to get in with corporations because when they start allowing employees to come back, they will not want them to leave for lunch, they want them to stay at their desks, so we are looking into different delivery options for that.
What is your message for customers?
My message is that we are adapting like everybody else and that we are following all the protocols as every day we get new information. There are some things we have always done—we have always been clean and sanitized everything, but now it is at another level. And customers need to feel secure and safe that the food we are putting out is fresh, which it is, nothing has changed with that. There’s just fewer of us in the kitchen now. We are looking forward to the summer. We will have outdoor seating on the [May] 20th, though it will be different at a place like Pine Street Concessions because it’s communal seating. So we are trying to iron things out among the four restaurants in building the and figure out a plan that works for us. The other message is that there has never been a better time than now to be eating healthy food. This is the best time to be be eating healthy. It will boost immune systems. All of our food is fresh. It’s all ginger and turmeric and put out all of these things to keep people healthy, including smoothies—smoothies have taken off. We are happy to serve nutritious and healthy food and keep moving forward.