Food on the fly at El Chubasco to Go
March 17, 2016
It was one of those problems that are good to have. Each day, patrons would line up at El Chubasco, some dining in and others hoping to grab and go. The lines stretched so long that kitchen staff sometimes struggled to keep up with the demand.
Carrie and Jeff Schwartz, who have owned the popular Mexican food restaurant for nearly two years, think they’ve solved the conundrum. They recently opened El Chubasco to Go, a separate location just a couple of storefronts from the original restaurant at 1890 Bonanza Drive. El Chubasco to Go will serve takeout customers and also allow the Schwartz’s to continue to expand their catering services.
The goal, they explained, is to offer a better experience for takeout customers as well as those who want to dine in at the original location. They hope that diners will no longer have to battle long waits to get their food.
"You see the rush of people and you want everybody to be happy," Jeff Schwartz said. "You have your to-go orders and your regular orders and a lot of people end up being frustrated. We decided that this would be a good idea to help us get a little bit more efficient and streamlined."
Online and app-based ordering systems that are set to roll out in coming days will make the process even easier for customers, said Carrie Schwartz. Additionally, two parking spaces in front of the new location are designated for patrons who’d prefer the food to come to them.
"You can order from the ski lift," she said. "And you don’t even have to get out of the car if you don’t want to. The other cool thing about our online ordering is it can take orders a full year in advance. So if you, on a Thursday, say, ‘Oh, gosh, I have 40 people who are going to be in town next week,’ you can put an order in for next week. It’ll just make it easy."
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Offering as much convenience as possible, Jeff Schwartz said, is where the industry is headed for restaurants like El Chubasco. And they hope it sets the restaurant apart in Park City.
"I think nationally, with the concept of fast casual, you’re seeing that happen in larger cities," he said. "In Park City, with our clientele, I think you have to ask yourself how do you differentiate yourself. If you have good product, how do you add another layer?"
The Schwartz’s are also hopeful El Chubasco to Go will allow their catering offerings to flourish. They cater everything from a casual dinner for 20 to a 200-person rehearsal dinner. Already, the benefits of El Chubaso to Go’s larger kitchen are paying off.
"This is when I realized that we’re on to something: We did an order for 35 people and turned it around in 21 minutes," said Jeff Schwartz, explaining that it would have never been possible at the other location. "The person came in, and they were just going to hang out for 20 minutes. But we were just like, ‘Here you go.’"
But perhaps the element of El Chubasco to Go that will be most pleasing to frequent customers is that its menu will be nearly identical to that of the original location — and that includes the 20 different salsas the restaurant is known for.
"That’s, like, the biggest concern people have," Jeff Schwartz said.
The Schwartz’s are still trying to get the word out to customers who are used to ordering takeout at the original restaurant. But the effort has been successful so far. They are pleased that patrons seem to be embracing the concept.
"I had an expectation and said, ‘If we can do X within the first month per night, we’re doing great,’" Jeff Schwartz said. "We’ve been doing three times that from Day 1. Six days is not a trend, but people want El Chubasco and are learning you can go to El Chubasco to Go. We’re very fortunate."
But the pressure to deliver an excellent experience for El Chubasco enthusiasts still looms. Carrie Schwartz said customers will hold El Chubasco to Go to a high standard.
"When we took over, nobody wanted anything to change," she said. "They want their tacos the way they’re used to getting their tacos, and they want their enchiladas the way they’re used to. It’s a tremendous amount of responsibility."
For more information, visit elchubascomexicangrill.com.
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