Dazz Collins, who owns and operates two Eggs Up Grill restaurants, a Woodruff Road facility and one on Pelham Road, knows firsthand that running a restaurant can provide its challenges. However, never in her wildest dreams could she have foreseen a scenario such as the one that has unfolded in 2020!
Dazz implemented many changes at her restaurants in early March to address concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak. They removed all the condiments from their tables and made them available only upon request. In addition, they started to employ single use, paper menus. Above all, their facility stepped up their already stringent cleaning practices. Yet, the day came when in-house dining had to be stopped by order of Governor McMaster. Dazz’s facilities as well as restaurants across the state of South Carolina struggled with the impact of that decision.
Eventually, Dazz was able to implement online ordering made available through the Eggs Up Grill corporate office. That system allowed the customer to place their order and pay for it online. Alternatively, they could simply call Eggs Up Grill with their order. The customer could then drop by the restaurant to pick up their meal, with staff bringing it directly to the car. The restaurant also partnered with delivery services to incorporate that element into their venue.
On 3-23-2020 though, Eggs Up Grill at the Woodruff Road location closed completely while the Pelham Road facility remained open. Such an abrupt shutdown posed many problems and concerns. Dazz shared that not a moment of that time was wasted. They thoroughly cleaned and sanitized the entire facility during the downtime. She says that throughout this difficult period, the corporate office has been extremely supportive, calling her on a regular basis, and she is very thankful for that.
On 4-24-2020, the Egg Up Grill on Woodruff Road opened back up for take-out and curbside pickup. Then, on 5-3-2020, the Woodruff location offered outside dining as well. Whereas the Pelham Road restaurant has a large patio perfect for outside seating, the Woodruff Road site posed some problems. They had to block off part of the parking lot in front of the restaurant with traffic cones to make room for the tables and chairs.
Finally, on 5-11-2020, the day after Mother’s Day, the Woodruff Road Eggs Up Grill opened its dining area for the first time in a long while. Of course, things are not exactly as they were before all of this happened! They can currently seat at 50% of their capacity according to the state’s guidelines and customers are more spread out. Dazz says that they will probably keep the outside area open for a little while to accommodate additional guests. They still use single use, paper menus and supply condiments on request, not leaving them on the tables. They have incorporated a 2-step cleaning process to be used after each guest with the whole table being wiped down. They have augmented their already thorough cleaning and disinfection protocols throughout the facility and increased the frequency with which high traffic areas and commonly touched surfaces are sanitized. Finally, each staff member must wear a mask and gloves.
Dazz is excited that she was able to retain all her staff. She has kept in touch with them as they waited to reopen. A PPP loan provided much needed help in this entire process.
During these difficult times, it occurred to Dazz how supportive the community had been over the years and she wanted to give something back to show her thankfulness. Recently, her restaurants collaborated with the Powdersville Eggs Up Grill to recognize the Medical/Surgical ICU nurses of Prisma Health Upstate. They donated biscuits during National Nurses Week to thank dedicated healthcare personnel for their service. Recently, Eggs Up Grill also provided breakfast to the employees at a nearby Walmart in recognition of their support over the years and their ongoing service during this pandemic.
In the meantime, and despite all the challenges posed by this pandemic, Dazz still dreams big. Her original plans to open a Simpsonville restaurant in January 2020 were upended by the COVID-19 outbreak. At present, she still plans to open the Simpsonville Eggs Up Grill with Sherry O’Sullivan, current assistant manager at the Woodruff Road location, as its manager. They have completely remodeled the Rail Line Brewing building, located at 301 North Main Street in Simpsonville and readied the parking lot. Most of the staff have been hired. Their only remaining limitation has been finding enough cooks to cover the operational hours. Dazz says that this new staff will complete their training in the next week or so. She now hopes to open the new facility probably by the end of May 2020. They will follow the same guidelines in place at their other sites. Sherry says that she is very excited about finally opening the Simpsonville site. “It’s been a long time coming!” she adds.