Longtime East El Paso Buffet says business will never be the same following COVID-19

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Gallegos Mexican Buffet has been open since the 1990s. Now once again customers can walk inside and enjoy a meal.

However, the way it’s served has changed from their traditional buffet style.

“There’s a lot of people that enjoy the buffets and I’m one of them,” said Lorenzo Arias a Gallegos Buffet customer.

Gallegos Buffet says they are busier than they had anticipated when reopening, but now when customers come in to eat they can no longer serve themselves. The buffet area has even been blocked off.

“We have to adapt to that so now as the government stated we have to serve them ourselves and there has to be some restrictions like some type of barrier between the food and the customer,” said Nancy G. Luther the manager of Gallegos Buffet on Yarborough.

Some customers didnt seem to mind the change.

“I think that’s good that way you dont have to be touching anything and they serve you they bring it to you,” said Arias.

Meanwhile, other customers are still ordering take out instead.

“I’m not comfortable yet so I rather take out. I feel better eating out,” said Rachel Alvarado a Gallegos Buffet take out customer.

According to the manager, buffet sales before the pandemic were 75% of the restaurants income. Since the reopeing they are still the majority but are less.

“I don’t know if I could say that buffet business is dead yet, I hope not. And from our part we are doing our best for it not to be,” said Luther.

Dr. Hector Ocaranza with the El Paso Health Authority says he doesn’t think the buffet business is dead either but people will have to adapt.

“People will learn to adapt and live with the virus in the community while observing strict hygiene and protecting each other by continuing to wear face coverings. Also being mindful of those considered to be of higher risk,” said Ocaranza.

Luther says even once Gov. Greg Abbott says it’s okay for people to serve themselves at buffets she doesn’t think buffet industry operations will completely go back to how they were before the pandemic.

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