Valley restaurants awarded $3,000 loans amid post-pandemic struggles

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — The kitchen at Bulldoc Korean Fusion is back to its pre-pandemic glory.

The small business felt the pain of the pandemic, the closure of the neighboring movie theater and Fresno State campus, along with the cancellation of events and graduations at the Save Mart Center.

“The Campus Pointe location here, we heavily rely on the traffic that all of these events bring forth,” says owner Kaye Kim.

Kim says the Paycheck Protection Program and disaster loans kept the business afloat, but even though diners are walking back through her doors, the COVID-related impacts aren’t over.

“With the supply chain issues that’s been going on for the entirety of this year, it’s affecting us a lot,” she says.

Now, many restaurants are faced with a labor shortage, increased rent, and increased costs.

Which is why $3,000 loans from the California Restaurant Foundation’s Restaurants Care Resilience Fund couldn’t have come sooner.

“Restaurant owners are scrappy – they are so creative. We saw how so many restaurants changed up their business model and concept to get by,” says Alycia Harshfield with the foundation.

Over 350 restaurants were awarded the money, including Bulldoc, Kocky’s Bar and Grill downtown, Las Mananitas in southeast Fresno, and 14 other valley restaurants.

Kim says she has had to get creative to deal with costs for ingredients that have more than doubled.

“We used to pay less than $20 per case before the pandemic. Now it’s $48 to $50,” she says.

Individual restaurant employees are also eligible for help from the foundation – workers facing an unexpected crisis, including an injury, housing disaster, or car accident.

Workers could be eligible for grants worth as much as $1200. You can find more information on how to apply here.

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