Webb’s Captain Table Stays Open Throughout Pandemic
MAYVILLE — It’s been a tough year for the restaurant business and Webb’s Captain Table Restaurant has been no exception. But even as difficult as it has been, owner Ben Webb applauds the county officials, his staff and the local community for all of their support.
Webb’s Captain Table Restaurant was one of the 28 businesses that was awarded a loan from the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency’s new Revolving Loan Fund, created by a $10.5 million grant from the federal CARES Act in its first round of funding. While some businesses are using the funds to remodel or rebrand themselves, Webb said they’re using the loan to help with their operating costs.
“Our fiscal year ends in August. For the year we were down over 15% but because of the work everybody did, we could have been down a lot worse,” he said during a recent interview.
While some restaurants shut their doors either for the summer or permanently, Webb said they were able to stay open the entire time.
“We’ve had great community support. Everybody worked really hard. We were fortunate enough to get some Payroll Protection Funding. That helped tremendously. It allowed us to keep our staff on board,” he said.
In fact, Webb’s was able to keep nearly everybody employed, even through the spring and summer. “Almost our entire staff stayed on board with us. We’re just really lucky and blessed. We have a tremendous organization of people here,” he said.
The most difficult part was in the spring when restaurants were not permitted to have indoor dining. But luckily for Webb’s, they had been working on a plan before the pandemic hit, to do more curbside
takeout with online ordering. “The week before St. Patrick’s Day we had gone live with that module,” he said.
Before this year Webb said they “tolerated” take out; now it’s become a major part of their service.
He noted customers have appreciated the convenience of takeout, from ordering and paying for their food on line, to pulling in and having a staff member place their order in their vehicle’s trunk or back seat. “It’s very safe and very convenient,” he said.
Once they reopened for in-person dining, Webb said they were already accustomed to doing deep cleaning, as required by the county Health Department, so they only need to work on spreading out customers throughout the restaurant.
Webb’s Captain Table is a 12-month operation, but usually peaks in the summertime. They’re not too far from Chautauqua Institution, which was not in operations this summer. But even with the Institution and other summer tourism events on hold, Webb said they did see a lot of regional visitors coming to the area to go hiking, bicycling and boating. They developed partnerships with area businesses promoting the outdoor opportunities Chautauqua County offers.
That partnership, Webb believes, will get our area through this next phase. “Small businesses working together and really helping each other is the way we’re all going to get through this,” he said. “It’s been a real please to see local people working together.”