Coronavirus impact: Family-owned business in Torrance forced to lay off dozens, barely staying afloat

TORRANCE, Calif. (KABC) -- The coronavirus pandemic has led to layoffs at restaurants across Southern California, including Local Kitchen, a family-owned eatery in Torrance.

The establishment, like many others, has shut down its dining room to try and slow down the spread of COVID-19.

Local Kitchen now only takes takeout and delivery orders - and the owner says it's been brutal. The business was forced to lay off dozens of its employees and is barely managing to stay afloat.

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"We went from the week prior to that having the single busiest week we've ever had in the three years we've been open to literally almost nothing overnight," said Jim Krohn, owner of Local Kitchen.

Krohn says his staff of 60 is now down to 16.

"They are family and it's hard, but right now we don't have an option," he described.

Now more than ever, his regulars are helping them survive.

"Just get out here and support these local businesses, you don't have to eat in here. You can take the food to go you can buy a gift certificate," said Al Palazzola, who owns the business next door and usually eats every day at Local Kitchen.

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U.S. Foods trucks have been dropping truckloads of food at The Dylan in Brea all for people in the community who responded to the restaurant's offer to order basic food products for pick up.

Palazzola bought $1,000 in gift cards to help his neighbor's business.

Krohn is grateful to his tight knit community. He said he has a plan to try to meet a demand.

By Wednesday, Krohn said he hopes to set up a small grocery store offering basics such as eggs, milk and bread.

"Some real basic staple items that people need and in most cases can't find on the shelves in the grocery store, and if they do find on shelves they have to battle the crowds," Krohn said.

He hopes this move will not only help keep his remaining workers employed - but also provide items in need for local residents.

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