Dacula restaurant owners talk about coronavirus' impact on their lives, their employees

The coronavirus pandemic has had a debilitating effect on small businesses. The owners of a restaurant in Dacula said they never could have planned for anything like this.

Friends Dacula Grill is about to celebrate its 10th year in business in a couple of weeks.  But there will be no dinner and drink specials, no tables filled with families.  The restaurant was forced to shut down in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.

"Things were going great, we were operating well, clicking on all cylinders, and all of a sudden Coronavirus happened and we went down like that," said owner, Ray Stanjevich.

They tried to do takeout orders, but it wasn't worth it.

"We were losing money left and right, trying to do the right thing and stay open, for our employees," said Ray Stanjevich.

Ray and his wife, Suzanne, own the restaurant in Dacula and seven others just like it, all are in small Georgia towns.

When they first started hearing about the coronavirus, they didn't give it much thought.

"Didn't seem to be affecting us so much because we're out in the neighborhoods and away from the big city," said Ray Stanjevich.

Then the emergency orders came down, and reality set in.

"Small businesses, there are some of us that aren't going to come back, we don't have the deep pockets," said Suzanne Stanjevich.

No one knows how long this will last. Suzanne fears, some of their restaurants will never re-open.

"I think we'll have to end up picking and choosing if this goes on beyond June or if we don't get the loans we need," said Suzanne Stanjevich.

But they're not going down without a fight. They're going to experiment and open their Jefferson location Wednesday night for takeout orders. If it goes well, maybe they'll try to take out in Dacula too.

"I do believe we'll come back from there, it might not like where we were, but it will be close," said Ray Stanjevich.