A suburban barbecue restaurant owner serving hot meals to workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic says he is focused on surviving now, so he can worry about making money later.
Kris Schoenberger’s BBQ-d Productions has two locations in Third Lake and Lake Zurich. His restaurants only remain open for carry-out and deliveries as the nation takes drastic measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Schoenberger said he’s had to let go several employees.
But the pitmaster said a community effort to help feed first responders and medical workers is helping to keep his restaurants open. Members of the public are buying discounted barbecue sandwich meals from Schoenberger, who, in turn, delivers the food to police officers, firefighters and hospital workers.
“It allows me to keep my employees working. It allows us to pay the bills. And it allows us to survive,” the pitmaster said.
A few weeks ago, Schoenberger set a goal to serve 10,000 meals to first responders and other essential workers. He recently reached the half-way point.
Schoenberger said he only makes a penny to a penny-and-a-half on each discounted meal. The meals typically cost $11, but are being sold for $6.
Schoenberger, former community services officer, said his late mother urged him to open his first restaurant.
“Feeding all these first responders and hospital workers, that’s what mom and I did all the time,” he said. “So I feel like there’s a higher power giving me the strength to do what I’m doing.”