From Twizzers to Takeout: An Interview with Chef Jane McGoldrick

Written by Jim Bamboulis

Located in downtown Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, East Street Pizza Company is one of the city’s most popular restaurants. Owner, operator and chef Jane McGoldrick proudly combines fresh ingredients and premium recipes for a gourmet pizza experience with a northern twist.

We caught up with Jane to learn more about the challenges she faced pre-pandemic, how she’s coped, and what she anticipates post-pandemic.

Before Covid, was takeout a major part of your business?

Absolutely! Pizza is primarily takeout, so we were lucky that we were already set up for takeout. Our biggest struggle was that we opened only six months before the pandemic hit, so we weren’t able to show the decrease in revenue that you would have to prove in order to be eligible for a lot of the government subsidies. Instead of our growth being where we had projected, we were going a lot slower because everybody was working from home, so lunch downtown was non-existent.

What was the transition like for you to offer more takeout than dine-in?

Everything was accelerated! We opened and wanted to get through all of those opening things like recipes, quality, consistency, staff, etc. and all of a sudden, we were hit with another enormous task, immediately after opening. We had to think quickly, and trying to set up delivery services took longer because they too were overwhelmed, only because everyone else was also making this transition. It was chaotic, there were a lot of moving parts to that, especially in a small city like Sault Ste. Marie, where everyone started doing more takeout, struggling to find takeout containers, boxes, and delivery drivers, all of which was and still is a huge struggle.

Did takeout save your business?

Definitely! Takeout IS my business.

How do you see yourself accommodating takeout demands going forward?

Here, we have a hard time getting delivery services, and reliable, dependable delivery drivers. Moving forward, that’s something I’d like to tackle, but it’s kind of like this ‘horse-before-the-cart’ thing; do you pay your own delivery driver and take that loss until people know you have your own delivery driver – and they order more delivery – or do you try to promote your delivery enough that you can pay a driver. Definitely ease of access is key, and something I’m going to invest more time into, no matter if customers want to pick up their order or have it delivered.