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SALT LAKE CITY — It was a long-anticipated day for buffet restaurants in Utah. Owners can finally open their doors after getting the green light from Gov. Gary Herbert’s office.
“It feels so great. I’ve had customers come up and say ‘thank you, thank you so much’,” said Rene Shuurman, the president of the company that oversees Chuck-A-Rama. “It’s been kind of a hard deal. Our employees have hung in there. We have a company filled with long-term employees.”
Chuck-A-Rama has 10 restaurants in Utah. Three are open right now, but more are expected to open up in the coming days.
“We are so happy to be back, and we could not wait to get you your food,” said Shuurman.
Manager Nick Jiang at the King Buffet in South Salt Lake was also thrilled to open his doors. They’ve been shut down for more than four months. With three stores, he estimated they’ve lost more than $300,000.
“Very hard time for us. Yes hard time for us,” said Jiang. “Since we open, business has also taken a hit right now; it’s only 30 percent compared to our regular customers.”
It’s a different day of going to the food bar to serve yourself, with new restrictions in place.
According to the new food order, customers must wear a mask when entering the restaurant and while at the food bar. No more picking up your plates and utensils to serve yourself — they must all be given to you by employees.
There are two options when at the food bar — either employees serve you, or customers must use hand sanitizer with each visit. If customers serve themselves, serving utensils must be replaced every 30 minutes.
But even with all the restrictions, Shuurman said you can still expect great food.
“The food is still good ole Chuck-A-Rama food. Homemade, as fresh as can be,” he said.