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Hot Chicken Takeover thrives during pandemic

While other restaurants have struggled, the owners of Hot Chicken Takeover have not faced any issues with staffing or other problems brought on by the pandemic.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The last couple of years have been devastating for a lot of restaurants from COVID-19 closures to staffing shortages. However, there's one local restaurant that has not only survived, but has flourished.

“Countless mistakes, global pandemic, multiple restaurants. It's been a wild eight years,” said Joe DeLoss, the founder of Hot Chicken Takeover.

It's been eight years since DeLoss and his wife came up with the idea of their restaurant.

“We started frying chicken in our living room eight years ago. We fried so much chicken, I had to throw away some curtains because they smelled terrible,” DeLoss explained.

Along with tasty chicken and sides, the business leaves a good taste in your mouth as well.

“Our business was intentionally built to hire folks who have been affected by adversity. That adversity shows up in people's lives as being involved in the justice system, being affected by homelessness, incarceration, addiction,” he said.

Especially with the pandemic, many have faced adversity in the past two years. DeLoss explains they were able to survive and thrive throughout the pandemic thanks to their staff.

They were able to open two new locations during the pandemic.

“Through COVID-19 when every other restaurant was recalling 20-30% of their team prior to the pandemic, we had a 90% recall of our team because people were eager to get back to work,” DeLoss said.

DeLoss explains because of their hiring practices and the way they treat their employees, he says they haven't faced some of the same staffing issues other restaurants are facing.

“It's kind of common sense to me, but if you treat people well, they will treat you well. It's the golden rule. A lot of employers, in particular, that are having a hard time now, have spent decades behaving pretty predatorily towards entry-level employees,” DeLoss said.

Hot Chicken Takeover currently has seven locations and DeLoss says there's more to come.

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