Our ability to reach people in the digital space is always secondary to someone walking by, seeing a new place is about to open, getting a look at the amazing design of the space and being intrigued to come in and check it out. With fewer people out and about right now, that certainly makes it a tougher job to let people know, “Hey, we are open!”. DRN: If applicable, were you able to access local resources or work with your investors or landlords to make it more successful or viable? And tell us two things you learned from the experience that could help other operators. First and foremost, we have a great landlord who understands fully the environment in which we all are operating right now. We could have opened a month earlier but really wanted to get past Labor Day and hope that some of that office population returned. They were great to work with on that, as well as on other ways to lessen the burden we are carrying right now, with sales being depressed versus normal times. We are incredibly grateful for the support and the true spirit of partnership they have brought to this whole situation. As for two things we can tell others, I would say that, first, there is no perfect model for addressing the pressures we are under. It really is brand- and location-specific. Some of the things that have worked well for us revolve around reaching farther than our front door and the traditional delivery zones, to make up for the loss in normal revenue. We deliver group orders out to the suburbs. We have pop-ups in farmers’ markets around town. We actively look to meet any new customer where they are and where operationally we can do so while maintaining the highest quality of food for them. Second, now is the time to really remember why you got into this business in the first place. We feed people; that is way more than just a functional effort. It is a gift to elevate the functional into something intangible, even blissful. When you do that well, you build friendships and loyalty for years to come. When we come out of the pandemic, those relationships are going to play a big role in how much faster we recover than the general
Taim opens in Dupont Circle, its second local restaurant after Georgetown. Photo by Taim.
industry, because we’ve focused on treasuring every single guest, every time they order. DRN: How does your Mediterranean concept differ from others in the Metropolitan Washington area? What are popular, new items that locals should try? What makes our food truly stand out is the elevated cooking with high quality and fresh ingredients. We were founded by a chef and we live and breathe the standards that come with making beautiful food from scratch every single day. We use traditional culinary techniques and the very best ingredients around. We make our hummus, for example, sometimes four times a day; you just won’t find creamier, fresher hummus anywhere. As for other popular items, we recently launched (to much pent-up customer demand) a warm, in house toasted cumin blended Jasmine rice bowl that has been really popular, as has been the equally delightful hummus bowl. Our falafel will always reign supreme but our Impossible Kebabs and Cauliflower Shawarma are some of our other fan favorites. Our smoothies are pretty spectacular, too, and made 100% from ingredients you know and can actually pronounce - just real fruit and great milks and milk alternatives. All our meals are highly customizable, which our guests appreciate. Our DC locations are available for dine-in or outside seating, delivery and takeout. To order, head to taimfalafel.com.