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Las Vegas restaurant owners find clever way to connect with customers

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Posted at 11:44 AM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 12:08:06-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Watch their story on Thursday morning on Good Morning Las Vegas. GMLV is on from 4:30 to 7 a.m. Mondays through Fridays.

COVID-19 fears and limited capacity are forcing local restaurants into survival mode. One key to surviving is adapting. The owners of a couple popular spots found a clever way to stay connected with their customers. 13 Action News anchor Tricia Kean shows us how they’re rebounding.

"Show you how to do it. But still come to the restaurant and buy it later. Make sure you're wearing pants," says John Simmons on a social media post.

KEEP PEOPLE ENGAGED

Even when the pandemic closed his kitchen, this local chef was still cracking jokes and cooking things up for fans online.

"Just to keep people engaged and kind of stay front-of-mind," says John.

As the owners of Tacos & Beer and Firefly restaurants, John and his wife Tabitha say, they couldn't just sit around and wait.

PEOPLE ENJOY IT

Three weeks into the pandemic they started shooting videos of John doing what he does best.

"We kind of just talked to each other. It definitely brought out our relationship and our dynamic," says Tabitha. "And she was the camera girl. So we would kind of have marital banter back-and-forth, which people seem to enjoy," says John.

THOUSANDS OF VIEWS

The videos were an instant success!

"People tuned in from Canada, from all over the country. It was cool. We got tens of thousands of views," says John.

DOING DIFFERENT RECIPES

Viewers like Megan.

"They were doing different recipes for different tacos. The one I really like is the shredded chicken," says Megan.

This New Yorker eats at Tacos & Beer anytime she's visiting Las Vegas and says she spotted their videos on social media.

"Definitely feel more of a connection to the place. You put a name with the face of the chef, which I didn't really know before. I just knew I liked their food... I follow a lot of restaurants and I haven't seen really anything like this," says Megan.

STAY CONNECTED

That's exactly what John and Tabitha were aiming for.

"We wanted to stay connected to our customers... and give them their favorite Tacos & Beer and Firefly recipes at home," says Tabitha.

They've even moved on to corporate events, providing Zoom cooking classes.

"For companies that haven't been able to get together, I'll cook along with them. So I have them on the screen and they can ask me questions," says John.

PLANNING A NEW RESTAURANT

The couple is still dealing with the temporary closure of their Paradise Road locations, due to a significant drop in business on that side of town.

Firefly at Buffalo and Warm Springs is the only spot offering dine-in and curbside pickup. But that doesn't matter. They're planning to open a new restaurant later this year called, Graze Kitchen, serving plant-based cuisine.

"We're working on the menu and stuff. It's in the same complex as Firefly on Buffalo," says John.

BATTLE EVERY DAY

This couple may appear full steam ahead but admit it's a battle every day and have some encouraging words for all valley businesses.

"We're gonna get through it. Just fight as hard as you can to live another day," says John. "And maintain hope because we think it's worth it. This town is worth it," says Tabitha.

Longtime locals will remember, Firefly has been in rebound mode before, bouncing back from a huge salmonella outbreak to once again run popular places to eat.