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Don't close, get creative: Restaurants and catering finding new ways to generate revenue

Rather than worry her way through it, Jennifer Earnest decided to work her way through it.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — As we hit the one month mark since life began to change around the First Coast, many businesses have closed their doors hoping it will only be temporary.

The restaurant and catering industry has been hit especially hard, but one local restaurant owner want to encourage others to get creative.

This spring was on track to be the best one yet for Chef's Garden.

With the café outside the Cummer Museum and catering events, Jennifer Earnest has been growing her business since 2005. Then coronavirus happened and in the blink of an eye her restaurant was closed and events began canceling. 

Rather than worry her way through it, she decided to work her way through it.

"People were saying, 'I am going to have to do some virtual visits' and I thought we could actually change our business in this way," tells Earnest.

In days, they had a new business model and website focusing on meal delivery and virtual cooking classes. While it isn't the same revenue as before, it has been enough to pay their employees - which was her priority.

"Being able to offer these options to our team members is really everything to me," she says.

Her advice, don't let fear the best of you, get creative. Also, ask your friends and customers for their ideas.

"Ask your friends, ask your neighbors – do you have ideas for how I can take my business and still serve you?" tells Earnest.

Don't be afraid of thinking outside the box when it comes to saving your business.

"If we can figure out how to go through it with a little bit of peace..." tells Earnest. "...we will come out the other side stronger."