Restaurants Fill Demand for Takeout

Staff Reporter

Since supermarket employees began picketing, business has been booming at L.A.'s largest delis.

At Junior's in Westwood, the phones have been jammed with takeout orders, and calls for staples like milk, cheese, eggs and cottage cheese are becoming common, said David Saul, Junior's vice president.

"Our biggest increase has been in our fresh sliced meats," Saul said. "We sell a lot of the same items markets sell. Our regulars know that, but now it seems like we are getting a lot of new customers for those items."

It's a similar story at Canter's Fairfax Restaurant, where sales of bread and other baked goods have increased by at least 10 percent, according to Gary Canter, son of restaurant owner Alan Canter.

"It's been very busy," Canter said. "The deli is up, the bakery is up, but I'd bet any takeout place has to be up. People have to eat and people can't get to their grocery stores."

Not all restaurants with takeout business have enjoyed such an uptick.

Peggy Cherng, chief executive and president of the Panda Restaurant Group, said her company has had to close about half the Panda Express restaurants it has in Vons supermarkets because of declining sales.

"Some stores have gone down to serving only a couple thousand customers a week," she said. "At that point, it doesn't make sense to keep them open." The restaurants that remain open are only capturing 40 percent of their normal sales, she said. Its stand-alone operations, she said, have been busier.

Selwyn Yosslowitz, part owner of the Marmalade Caf & #233;, said his takeout sales has stayed the same. "(They) have edged up a little bit but nothing extreme or that's out of line with our normal range," he said. "Personally, my family hasn't gone out more in the last two weeks. We have two kids and we're still cooking the same amount."

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