Submitted by the Minuteman Diner
To the Bedford Community, all surrounding towns, Hanscom Air Force Base, hospitals and all first responders, local businesses, schools/colleges, friends and family that came from many towns and all over that have supported us….THANK YOU!!!!
Minuteman Diner opened on January 15, 2020. It was a delayed opening but it was worth the wait and we were open for 8 strong weeks.
We were not able to have a soft opening we needed to open and generate money, staff needed to work and so we jumped in. We definitely had kinks to work out and appreciated the support during this time. We were open for take-out only starting on March 17, 2020, and delivered through our online ordering system (I delivered every order myself and was so happy to do so).
Minuteman Diner joined partnerships with Ubereats, Grubhub, and Doordash that kept us busy and generated some sales. We created some great family-style trays that were a huge success and from there we started delivering those family trays to hospitals, medical buildings, police, and fire stations, ordered by friends and staff family members. The hospital’s staff and many first responders did not forget those deliveries and came in to order takeout for their own families. We had a lot of families come every week to order family style trays and we appreciated that. They loved that a loaf of delicious scali bread came with each tray.
Minuteman Diner, along with other restaurants, joined “Operation Feed the Soul” started by Suzanne Koller from Bedford and also joined “Fuel the Fight” from Concord. These projects kept us busy too and were a win-win for everybody. We also had the amazing Snack Pack Project started by Deborah Ann with so many people who volunteered to purchase items and put the bags together. We prepared approximately 300 large bags at the diner that each contained at least 25 snacks. Every delivery to the hospitals, fire/police stations, or any medical offices received a large bag with snacks for the entire staff. There were so many bags they took up every seat, booth, and table in the diner. At a depressing time with all the challenges everyone was going through this year it brought a smile to me knowing those bags were making people happy, and that felt good.
In June, we were able to have the entire side parking lot for Minuteman Diner’s outside dining; this helped tremendously with sales and kept staff on. People loved being able to go out to eat and feel safe. Customers sat outside in 95-degree heat, rain, chilly winter temps, and—believe it not—at the tables in the snow.
I missed talking with my customers, sitting with them, and just asking how they were doing. I was so happy to see them, even before we had the outdoor/indoor dining. They came to eat and sat on beach chairs in the parking lot, socially distanced to enjoy food with their friends. Positive Google and Yelp reviews, with customers’ constant “hang in there” comments, kept me strong and determined through it all—along with a great staff that I am very grateful for.
In August we received some PPP money; thanks to Fox 25 News and Ted Daniel for helping us out with that. I was able to keep my entire staff on and we re-arranged schedules.
Besides the daily operational tasks, my main concern is keeping customers and staff safe: every day the entire diner is cleaned, steam-cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized to keep it safe for staff and customers. Customers definitely noticed that.
As Thanksgiving approached, I realized there were going to be so many people, mainly senior citizens who would be eating alone instead of with family members, so we offered an individual turkey dinner and a dinner big enough for families. We prepared 35 individual turkey dinners and 6 full family turkey dinners. I hope that for Thanksgiving 2021 Minuteman Diner will be open for breakfast in the morning, then off to the Bedford/Concord football game.
In December and January with a 25% capacity mandate and 6-feet socially distanced tables, my friends/staff employees Sheryl and Kelley hung plastic dividers for all tables so that customers would feel safe. All the mandatory PPE supplies were expensive; masks, gloves, disinfectants, sanitizer, laminated menus, microfiber cloths, disposable cups, eco-friendly take-out containers, plates, utensils, napkins, single-use condiments, condiments to-go packets, picnic tables, umbrellas, and tablecloths. We did not raise our menu prices, but charged a $1 PPE fee to help cover the costs.
Minuteman Diner has changed its hours to save money on labor and food costs to get us through the winter. We’re open Sunday through Thursday from 7 am – 2 pm, Friday and Saturday 7 am – 8 pm.
We want to THANK YOU for all the continued support of our customers, friends, family, community—in Bedford and the surrounding towns—that helped us make it to ONE YEAR OF BUSINESS on January 15, 2021.