Dennis Leung; owner and general manager over Palette Tea House, located in Ghirardelli Square, has been operating and serving the people of San Francisco for just over a year now since their opening on April 9, 2019.
Palette Tea House focuses mainly on Dim Sum, Chinese, and Cantonese cuisine that features fresh seafood. It’s a place where one can experience atmosphere, thoughtful presentation, and authentic food made with quality ingredients.
Like most small businesses, Palette Tea House has been hit hard by the recent events of the COVID-19 pandemic. Leung has put his best foot forward to try and keep this business up and running for his staff and customers during this difficult time.
“[COVID-19] affects everybody on a different level. For us, we have switched to a to-go model which we only were only able to retain about six staff members including myself. The rest of the staff have been laid off. Hopefully, depending on when we can open again, we wish to bring them back,” said Leung. “So far, from what we’ve seen from the CDC guidelines, we don’t think that a full capacity will be happening any time soon because there are still so many uncertainties.”
“Other issues we’ve encountered are whether we can even afford the rent,” continued Leung. “So, it’s a fact that businesses are tremendously affected by this. If things continue like they have been, we don’t even know whether or not we’ll be able to keep the doors open for another three months.”
One of the main objectives of The Palette Tea house is to value presentation as much as one would value taste. With an array of colors in each dish, Palette Tea House has continued to make presentation a priority even with the curbside service they are currently offering.
“We try to present our orders as nice as possible in the to-go boxes. Of course, there are some difficulties with traveling and so on,” said Leung. “We are actually in the works to see how we can create a family meal kit for about four people. When we have a set meal, we want to make them in a way that one can have a full experience as if they were eating at the restaurant in terms of presentation, quality, taste, and everything.”
Palette Tea House is continuing to sell special frozen, take-home meal kits that customers can pick up and make in the comfort of their own home. This will also provide customers with the full Palette Tea House experience.
During the pandemic, Leung stresses that he’s trying to make sure everyone is being taken care of, including his staff and customers. This includes selling food at cost and making sure that those who do not qualify for unemployment still have a place to work at his restaurant.
“We always say that restaurant business is a people business,” said Leung. “You are always dealing with people, whether it’s your employees or your customers. You have to take care of them and that’s what we want to do, especially during this time.”
Residents of San Francisco can help support Palette Tea House in many ways. Some of which include buying their cooked or the frozen items from their to-go service, eating at their outside patio area, or just simply purchasing their gift cards that are available online so customers can come whenever they feel comfortable.