Small businesses struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic


Jacqueline Cochran

The once crowded business is empty due to the pandemic. This small business is struggling to stay afloat since county issued restrictions on outdoor dining. Dec. 7.

Eileen Osuna, Staff Writer

Los Angeles County has issued another stay-at-home order, which includes a ban on outdoor dining for three weeks due to surging COVID-19 cases, furthering the struggle of small businesses to stay afloat during the pandemic.

One of the businesses that has been affected by this ban is Bakers & Baristas, a café owned by brothers Joe and Eric Quan and which they started because of their love for the industry and how much influence one restaurant can have on its community.

“Honestly, I don’t really know what we’re going to do. Right after the ban, we saw an immediate drop in business,” Eric said, “We are going to see how the next couple of weeks go and make our decision then.”

Eric said the current ban on outdoor dining will be the final straw for most restaurants and we will see a lot of closures within the coming months because takeout is not enough for a restaurant to be financially sustainable in his opinion.

In response to the closure of outdoor dining, the Los Angeles County Development Authority recently launched a program on Dec. 3 that allows restaurants to apply for a grant of up to $30,000 to aid with financial relief.

Eric said they plan on applying for the grant. “It’s better than nothing, but truth of the matter is that it’s not nearly enough for most businesses to sustain for more than a couple of weeks,” he said.

Not only have these small businesses been affected financially, but they have also had to make changes to their business operations in order to adapt to COVID-19 safety and health regulations.

“Most restaurants operate on very slim margins and we are no different. Business is down about 50%, so we had to lay off a majority of our staff.” Eric said, “We have setup online ordering, run as minimal staff as possible, setup contactless payment solutions and adjusted our menu to a more takeout friendly version.”

Since 2015, Bakers & Baristas has been serving desserts and pastries, coffee and tea and food to the Cerritos community.

“Our food style has an emphasis on Filipino and Asian cuisine, but we aren’t bound by those flavors or rules.” Eric said, “We set out to not have anything be an afterthought and wanted everything to shine equally.”

The menu features customer favorites like Jimbo’s Burrito, honey lavender latte, vanilla bean latte, tapislog, which consists of garlic rice, sirloin steak, and a cage-free egg, as well as a milk and cereal cake-an homage to Candlelight Bakery, their family business, which is known for their tres leches cakes.

Bakers and Baristas is currently open for take out and orders can be placed online by visiting their website.