‘Fat Guys’ Helping Promote Local Restaurants During Coronavirus Crisis
When Travis Clark opened Clark Crew Barbecue the economy was thriving. That was just a few months ago before the coronavirus (COVID-19) was making headlines.
“A lot of employees we’ve had to let go. We’ve only been open about 90-days. We were up to about 140 employees. We’ve had to let about 130 of them on furlough now,” said Clark.
And Clark isn’t alone.
“We’re probably one of the top 10 destination points in Oklahoma and we get people from all of the world. It’s really interesting. But to all of the sudden have all that cut off from you,” said Dee Downer of Kendall’s Restaurant in Norman.
“You know our sales went from amazing to half right now.,” Erik Deloera of San Marcos Mexican Restaurant/Senor Shots added.
“It just caught everybody off guard,” Clark said. “You go from a huge day one day thinking, man we need more people to just a screeching halt. It’s a heartbreaker.”
That’s where Oklahoma’s Fat Guy Club comes in. The Fat Guy Club is an online men’s group where members post pictures of food, booze and, well, other stuff. They also cook for veterans, take nursing home residents out for dinner, and hang out together.
Now, they’ve come up with an idea to hold restaurant bingo, encouraging their 5,000 members to buy food from local restaurants to win prizes like t-shirts and gift certificates. It also reminds folks many of these restaurants are open for delivery and curbside service.
“These are our brothers. They’re our brothers. We want to help them, do what they can to succeed and at the same time give our guys something fun to do,” said Terry Owen of the Fat Guy Club.
“It’s just a fun way to promote the small businesses. There’s going to be a lot of them unfortunately that will not make it through this,” Clark added.