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Okanagan Mexican restaurant serves up orders with complimentary toilet paper

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Jake Searcy

A Mexican restaurant that gives free toilet paper with orders? Most times, that would be a terrible marketing effort, but for an Okanagan Mexican restaurant, this is quite unlike most times. 

Viva Mexicana, based in Lake Country, figured customers would be in on the joke of the spicy food restaurant caring for customers with complimentary toilet paper after a global pandemic made the stuff hard to find. Like all restaurants across B.C., is only providing take-out and delivery options.

Jake Searcy, who plans to take over ownership of the restaurant in the coming months, said while building a tower of toilet paper with the current owner, they decided the essential item could better be put to use by their customers. Toilet paper is given out to every order over $20.

READ MORE: Liberals pledge financial aid to sectors of economy hit hard by COVID-19

“I thought it would be a good way to raise publicity and get the community involved and put some smiles on people’s faces,” he said. “Everything in the last month has been pretty tough on everyone so we’re trying to create a stir for ourselves and give back to the community.”

So far, they’ve distributed about a box of TP, but not everyone takes one, he said.

“For the vast majority, people like it. We’ve still got a tower and some rolls left. If everyone took one, we would have been out a lot time ago,” he said.

The restaurant has recently partnered with DoorDash, a food delivery-service company, so they’re able to deliver in the Lake Country area, and will be making take-home taco kits that people can take home and share with their families, he said.

It’s a cheaper option for restaurants and it gives people a break from their own cooking, he said.

“People still want to go out and try new food and try new things, so I like to give them that option,” he said.

The province has been flattening the curve of COVID-19 cases, but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Saturday that businesses should be thinking of alternative ways to operate that follow physical distancing guidelines.

“I would also suggest for people to start planning for hybrids to increase online presence.... If this is going to be the new normal for the next year, think of how you can maintain social distancing measures," Henry said.

READ MORE: No large events will be held this summer, says provincial health officer

The province is currently "in the eye of the storm," she said, with much work left to be done.

The easing of restrictions will be "slow" and "gradual," she said. In the next two weeks, plans are currently being made for what will happen if the province is able to ease some restrictions.

“We are not at the point when we can let up our guard… the risk of a spike or another outbreak is a real concern to me,” Henry said during the press conference. “This is still a major problem in communities around us.”

"It's a tough time to take over a restaurant," Searcy said, adding that 85 per cent of the business has been take out. Some workers are still employed so they order during the week and people seem to be out and ordering more on weekends.

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