BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Right now, many local businesses are turning to social media to get the word out about daily specials, changes to their hours, and unfortunately, often times... closures. So, when one Bakersfield eatery saw an influx of new customers, it wasn't because of something they posted, but an act of kindness from one of their regulars.
Vida Vegan in Southwest Bakersfield has only been open for less than a year, but owners say business was doing great, up until a few weeks ago.
“We thought that we were doing great. We’ve been open almost a year. The first 10 months were great. Last month... all our dreams started crumbling little by little,” Mao Granada, co-owner of the plant-based eatery, said.
Granada said the coronavirus pandemic and all of the new regulations that come with it are having a significant impact on business.
“Two weeks ago I was in a dark moment... because I didn’t know what was going to happen. I really thought we were gonna be closing.”
They've had to lay off 5 staff members so far. But last week, Vida Vegan saw some new customers, and they were all ordering the same thing, but Granada wasn't sure why.
“I started getting people here that I haven’t seen before, that’s something we do here when we see new people, we ask how did they find out about us?”
It turns out, one of their regular customers posted a photo of her takeout meal from the restaurant, pleading with the community to support Vida Vegan. Her tweet got nearly 2,000 likes and more than 600 retweets.
“It started just bringing in more and more people. And it’s amazing what a single tweet and a single act of kindness from someone can do to a business like ours,” Granada said.
And he says it's simple acts like this that can keep a business open through tough times.
“Right now, it feels like we have this little momentum, and hopefully we keep going with this. We still need the support from everybody, but I’m thankful for what you’re doing to us.”
He also believes the tweet may have helped the community realize that vegan food is not what they normally envision.
“When people think about vegan food, they think they’re coming here to eat lettuce and tomato. And that’s not what we are. We prepare food for everybody and I know you’ll like it, I know you’ll be full, the portions are huge and our sweets are the best in town.”
Granada says their hours and specials change daily, and they always post the most recent updates to their Instagram. You can find them @vidaveganco.