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Contributed Photo / Tickets for pickup orders line up at Public House, where family-size takeout meals are becoming increasingly popular since the coronavirus threat has closed dine-in service at area restaurants.

Restaurateurs in Chattanooga, like others around the country, are having to rethink their business strategies, and many are reaching out via social media and their websites to let customers know they are still open, though not open in the typical sense.

Nathan Lindley, owner of Public House at Warehouse Row and Il Primo in Riverview and Ooltewah, says all three restaurants are now serving takeout meals. Public House is making family-size meals, while both locations of Il Primo have scaled back their menu to feature just a selection of their Italian specialties.

Response has been positive, Lindley says.

"People want to show their support and are tipping extremely generously," he says.

But with no in-house dining and some folks afraid to venture outside their homes, takeout is not making up for lost revenue.

"It's like putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound," Lindley says. "We're just trying to keep a few people working and some servers getting tips. It's not a long-term sustainable plan."

Tim Mulderink, owner of The Chef and His Wife, a Hixson-based catering company that specializes in take-home heat-and-serve casseroles in various sizes, has seen a marked uptick in orders since the closing of area restaurants and, in some areas, limited supplies in local grocery stores.

"Once the kids got out of school, our business tripled," he says, adding that his catering business came to a halt as events were canceled.

Ordinarily, people can come into his business and shop without ordering ahead. That's all changed now. Orders need to be placed online or called in. Payment, if not made online, is collected by an employee coming out to the cars. Orders are then placed outside the front entrance for pickup.

"We're trying to keep our distance as much as possible," he says.

Email Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com.

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