Billings Shiloh Crossing restaurants see less weekend customers after stay at home directive

Posted at 10:43 PM, Mar 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-29 01:05:01-04

BILLINGS — Billings restaurants in the Shiloh Crossing shopping complex are seeing up to a 50 percent loss of sales Saturday following Governor Steve Bullock's directive to stay at home.

“As you can see, around the parking lot, it’s been dead. Our revenue has been cut in half. It’s just been me and my manager doing everything since March 15. Me and him every day for nine or 10 hours a day," said Charlie Anderson, Bullman's Wood Fired Pizza assistant general manager.

The 80 acre shopping complex was mostly barren of cars Saturday. With no shoppers browsing the racks at Kohl's or watching a movie at the AMC theater, fewer hungry people were walking through restaurant doors in Shiloh Crossing.

“Today has been a very, very slow day for a Saturday. Today has been a very unproductive day to sell pizza. Compared to last weekend, I would say it is fifty, fifty. Last weekend was a lot better than this weekend. The night is young still, but I think this Governor order is going to put a dent into what we’ve been used to doing," Anderson said.

Bullman's moved its hours to be open noon to 8 p.m. and shifted operations to a take-out format. Business this weekend is slower than when the restrictions were more loose last week.

Scheels was the only large anchor store open Saturday.

Across the shopping complex, Jersey Mike's Subs has seen an average 30 percent drop in daily sales since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, store Assistant Manager Jensen Williams said.

“We’ve definitely taken a little bit of a hit. We definitely see it in our sales. We’ve been very blessed, we’ve only usually taken on an average day about a 30 percent hit in our sales. We’re still one of the top stores in the nation, as far as that goes," Williams said.

Last weekend, Jersey Mike's had eight staff members on shift. On Saturday, the store had five on shift, Williams said.

"We've had to dwindle down who we have on staff, how long they are on shift all depends on the sales. Right now the sales have kind of been dying down a little bit, so I've had to adjust accordingly as far as payroll goes," Williams said.

Williams said the larger retailers usually help pull people in to buy a sandwich, but that wasn't the case Saturday.

“The area that we’re in … has died down a lot. We don’t have the traffic from the movie theater. Scheels is not as busy as it usually is. Kohl’s is not as busy as it usually is. And that drives in a lot of business. The bar across the street, Manny’s, that would give us a little bit of business on the weekends especially. And we’re not seeing that," Williams said.

Jersey Mike's ran a promotion on online orders this weekend that helped boost sales.

“We went from 30 percent down in sales to 20 percent up, as far as our projected sales go. So, that helped out a little bit. Today it’s not as good. Tomorrow, I have a feeling is going to be really good because they are pushing the advertising again," Williams said.

On the bright side, restaurant staff at Bullman's have had the opportunity to get to know their customers better.

“We get to interact more now, because we have more time with them. It’s not so fast paced. That’s kind of the blessing behind it, is we can interact with the customers more often. We can sit down for a minute or two and BS. It’s always a good conversation," Anderson said.

Both restaurant managers said they've been seeing the same names come up on orders week after week, and thanked the community for its continued support.

"And the customer base that we have is really genuine. They continue to support us through this thing. I’ve seen the same names come through the online ordering system time and time again since this has started. So you really know that we have an awesome base and people keep supporting us. We are blessed, god has been good to this business, that’s for sure," Williams said.