NYC restaurant-turned-bodega delivering financial help for struggling food-service workers

REUTERS/Luis Cortes

A New York restaurant-turned-bodega is stepping up to help out food-service workers in the area.

Avocaderia — which has locations in Industry City, DUMBO, and Chelsea — converted its model to announce the opening of Friendly Bodega, which will ensure their employees remain working while supporting the restaurant industry around the Big Apple.

“Since we closed all our locations 5 weeks ago, we have been thinking a lot about how we could leverage our existing assets to create something that would benefit the community in this time of crisis while bringing our people back on the payroll,” Avacaderia co-founder, Alessandro Biggi, told amNewYork Metro. “Access to quality groceries is an essential service that New Yorkers really need right now but most delivery services are overwhelmed with requests, so we saw the opportunity to transform ourselves into a small, friendly bodega that could resell a limited selection of high-quality products from our suppliers and farmers.”

The switch allowed Biggi to bring back six employees, who will help Friendly Bodega provide a delivery option for essential products such as produce, proteins, dairy, flour, bread, gloves, and masks.

“Our suppliers and farmers are also struggling with this crisis as most of their clients are closed for business. This, unfortunately, has caused a lot of waste in agricultural products that are currently in-season even though there is still demand for it,” Biggi said. “So, we’re excited to potentially be the intermediary between the large producers/distributors and the final consumer.”

Orders can be submitted each week on Friday by 8 pm to be delivered on Sunday in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Any order of $95 or more does not have a delivery fee.

All of Friendly Bodega’s profits (100%) during the month of April will be donated to the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, providing direct cash assistance for restaurant workers in New York City who are struggling economically during the coronavirus pandemic.

“There are way too many people out there who are currently jobless and struggling to make ends meet, so we want to give our contribution to them,” Biggi said. “I think that these difficult times are teaching us that we can be very weak as individuals or strong as a community.”