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'Product, service, and facility': How a 75-year-old family restaurant chain is weathering the pandemic

Reggie Wade
·2 min read

Many challenges and hardships come with owning and operating a restaurant, and the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown an extra wrench into the mix. Gates BAR-B-Q’s COO George Gates knows this all too well. He joined Yahoo Finance Live to talk about how his family-owned business is navigating the pandemic.

“Well, this pandemic is a little different than the other challenges we’ve had in the past, but again, we have three basic things that we stay with, and that’s the product, the service, and the facility. And with restaurants, if you have those three basics in place, you normally can outrun the rest of the challenges you have,” Gates said.

This year the Kansas City, Missouri staple is celebrating its 75th year in business. It first opened in 1946 when George W. Gates pooled his resources to leave behind a life working on the railroads. The first restaurant on 19th and Vine has since blossomed into 5 locations throughout the Kansas City Metro area. George W. Gates’s grandson and namesake now runs the restaurant alongside many family members, including children and grandchildren.

Gates BAR-B-Q original location — Gates BAR-B-Q
Gates BAR-B-Q original location — Gates BAR-B-Q

Gates tells Yahoo Finance that the community support has carried the Kansas City eatery for years. “It’s been wonderful, the community, the city itself has been great ...The community ... has been supporting us through the good times, the bad times, the bad times, and the lame times.”

Like many small businesses, Gates applied for PPP loans to help the restaurant weather the pandemic. He told Yahoo Finance that the process of applying for such help was not as arduous a task as many others.

“It wasn’t as difficult as a lot of processes have been in the past. We have good people working with us in the financial field with our banks and accountants. So with all those people in line to help us, it was pretty simple for us to move our way through that mess.”

Gates says that the restaurant’s reputation for stability and longevity is a big part of its success.

“I think because of the fact that we’ve been a staple in the community for so long and been steady there, people tend to gravitate to us because they know we’re going to be here.”

Gates BAR-B-Q History — Gates BAR-B-Q
Gates BAR-B-Q History — Gates BAR-B-Q

Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.

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