The Health of Small Businesses: Frodo Joe’s

Small businesses across the country are experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Local San Lorenzo cafe, Frodo Joe’s has also had to readjust.

Frodo Joes is a family-owned cafe, with a second location in Fremont. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dessert. Frodo Joe’s is known for their delicious crepes and the adorable pug on their logo.

Though coffee and tea are advertised on their logo, crepes are the main attraction. From sweet strawberry and banana crepes to a savory chicken pesto crepe, there’s something for everyone to try out.

The San Lorenzo location is the original cafe. Emily, the manager, is the daughter of the owner. Her father opened the location in 1999.

Since the shelter in place regulations have taken into action, Frodo Joe’s can no longer allow dine-in customers. All their food and drinks are available for take out.

Frodo Joe’s in Fremont is temporarily closed. Emily stated that because that location depends heavily on the dine-in customers, they couldn’t remain open. The San Lorenzo location is a smaller location and has a good flow of to-go orders.

“There is not much we can do,” Emily stated, “We do have a  community here who supports us and helps us.” Emily feels really grateful for the customers. 

Unfortunately, employee hours have been cut down due to the smaller revenue. However, the staff tried to remain positive.

Frodo Joe’s is heavily complying with all safety and health regulations. Their employees all have masks and gloves. When first walking into the cafe, you see that there are tables and chairs blocking the counter so customers aren’t anywhere near food preparation.

They even set up a station for signing your receipt. One bin holds sanitized pens, and the other holds the used ones to be cleaned later.

When asked if she was aware of grants that were being given to small businesses in Hayward, Emily replied that she wasn’t aware until after they were distributed. “If you don’t tell me about it, I wouldn’t know about it.” Emily referred to how information about grants and loans is being reached out.

She isn’t too sure about where to look for information, since San Lorenzo is under Alameda County, but borders Hayward.

She also is concerned about whether or not the money is in a grant or a loan. She doesn’t believe small businesses should be looking into loans because there is no guarantee when the business will be at the same revenue it was before the pandemic.

“You’re just digging yourself deeper in the hole.”

Emily stated that the cafe feels lucky they can remain in business and hopes for the day when everything goes back to normal.

Frodo Joe’s location and contact:

17665 Hesperian Blvd.

San Lorenzo, CA 94580

510-481-1844

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