COVID-19 Not Stopping Restaurant from Saying ‘Thank You’ to Loyal Customers
Remon Karian established Fiorella’s Cucina and Express in 2020.
What a year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of your restaurant chain. But that’s what Fiorella’s Cucina and Express is doing in 2020, which will go down in history as the year of COVID-19.
The chain of five Greater Boston-area restaurants was established in 2020 in Newton, Mass., by Remon Karian. It has since added four more locations.
The restaurant industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. Many restaurants have closed and will continue to close. Some are hanging on for their dear lives. While Fiorella’s Cucina and Express is thankful that its restaurants have persevered, it is not celebrating its survival during the coronavirus crisis — it is celebrating its customers.
In November, Fiorella’s is giving back to the community members who have supported its restaurants over the years — helping it to reach its 20th anniversary. The Newton location is giving away $12,000 in $20 gift cards to guests dining in or ordering take-out food throughout the month to say “thank you” to its customers. Additionally, all five locations will commemorate the occasion by giving away 3,000 jars of Fiorella’s Signature Marinara Sauce for guests to enjoy at home.
“Restaurant ownership is not without its challenges, even in good times,” Karian said. ‘The pandemic created a situation I never could have imagined in my worst nightmares. It’s been incredibly hard, but we can’t just ignore our 20th anniversary. We want to say thank you to everyone who has dined with us over the years.”
Today he’s the CEO, but Karian has filled every role in the organization, from busboy to cook, server, manager, accountant and marketer. He started with a simple business plan and belief from his father, Marcel, a former restauranteur who taught him the hospitality ropes as a teenager. Karian’s passion and commitment to success still keep him energized after all these years.
“I’m never satisfied. I’m constantly trying to learn, to become better,” he says.
John Gallagher, Fiorella’s director of operations, has been with the organization for seven years. Through the recent coronavirus challenges, Gallagher has had many sleepless nights worrying about the team and the future of Fiorella’s.
“More than anything, we missed seeing our regulars and creating experiences with the families who dine with us,” Gallagher says. “It feels really good to see them coming back in.”
Karian said the chain is on a long road to recovery, but he and his staff are more optimistic with each passing day.
“We’re staying focused on team training, following every safety protocol, and creating new and unique dining experiences,” Karian added. “Curbside pickup is here to stay. We’ve also launched a new family meals [program]. We are meeting people where they are.”
Fiorella’s recently released a video to show guests the steps the chain has taken to address safety and sanitation for guests and team members.
“We want guests to have confidence in the steps we’ve taken to keep them safe,” Gallagher says.