Team members of a popular Med City bar and grill are not only making the food, they are also hitting the streets to deliver it to customers’ doors without going through an outside service.
When national restaurant delivery services were not covering all of Rochester and were still taking so long that food became cold, Kevin Smoot looked to his own staff to get the job done. Smoot owns Brothers Bar and Grill at 812 S. Broadway, in the Soldiers Field Plaza.
“I thought, ‘We’re fully capable of plugging an address into Google Maps and running food to places,” he said. “I’m trying to be creative and put people back to work.”
The result is that Brothers is now offering free delivery of anything off its menu within the Rochester city limits. There’s a $5 charge for orders going to Stewartville or Byron, and there’s a $10 fee to deliver to Oronoco.
In addition to getting hot food to customers in a timely fashion, the change means any tips from customers go directly to his employees.
“My staff really want to work. This is a way we can keep them working,” said Smoot of his 10 employees. “We’re trying our best to support our staff.”
He likes that customers will see the same faces on their doorstep as those taking their order inside the bar, once the virus is under control. One downside to the delivery project is that means Rochester’s Waiters Express won’t be working with Brothers right now.
“We love Waiters Express, and they have always been a great partner to us. At the same time, I’m trying to feed my staff,” he said.
In an amazing display of bad timing, Smoot took over ownership of Brothers just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. After renovating the longtime Rochester spot, he re-launched, keeping its classic American fare menu intact. That means breakfast-all-day, plus burgers, meatloaf and other Midwestern dishes.
While it wasn’t anything like before the pandemic, Smoot was optimistic when the grill had its best month under his ownership in October. That progress disappeared with the most recent state closure order. Now, while “scraping by,” he is trying different ways to keep Brothers afloat.
Recently, the bar got a big boost from selling its popular Bloody Mary mix. Smoot said people are buying the mix as a holiday present, as well as gift cards.
Brothers is also honoring local law enforcement by providing 25 meals to the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office this week.
“Even though we’re taking it in the pants, we still want to support our community,” said Smoot.