Fat City Brew & BBQ is a restaurant and catering company on Pacific Avenue in Stockton, CA. Prior to March 2020, owner Don King had a thriving catering business, but due to Covid-19 shutdowns, Fat City BBQ suffered because of lack of catering orders and eventual closure of its in-person services during the pandemic. In order to survive, Don had to quickly pivot the business to a take-out model, which he was unprepared for. Due to lack of catering bookings and slow sales, Fat City BBQ became delinquent on their rent. In addition, as the restaurant started its in-person services again with the re-opening of the economy, staffing the restaurant became an issue as Don had down-sized his operations during the shutdown. Don then had to cut his hours of service due to inadequate staffing levels
In January 2022, Don reached out to the San Joaquin SBDC in search of help because the property management company would not accept partial payment for his rent and had threatened him with eviction. The SJ-SBDC assisted Don with securing EIDL funding and also advised him on how to negotiate with the property management company to resolve the rent dispute. Under the guidance of the SJ-SBDC, Don was able to get a loan for $30,600 to assist with rent and also to help retain his existing employees.
Today, Fat City BBQ is seeing a return to pre-Covid sales and has also increased the hours of service back to before the pandemic. The lines of communication with the property management company has improved and therefore, the relationship is in a stronger and more amicable place than before. Don continues to seek advice from the SJ-SBDC for staffing assistance because of the challenges in finding and retaining good quality workers in the service industry right now. In spite of these challenges, the future looks bright for Fat City BBQ since the catering side of the business continues to grow with future bookings of 200, 500, and 700 people events. The restaurant also has plans in the near future to create BBQ cook-off events in the local community to attract more customers.