Loyalty is the best dish served during the pandemic, says LA restaurant owner Lien Ta

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Lien Ta outside All Day Baby in Silver Lake. Her restaurant has been operating out of a takeout window with a skeleton crew. She says, “The loyalty has absolutely been the best dish served during the pandemic.” Photo by Thessa Diadem.

All Day Baby in Silver Lake serves $13 breakfast sandwiches all day. Co-owner Lien Ta closed it on March 15 due to LA County’s orders on coronavirus safety. But at the end of May, with the help of a PPP loan, the restaurant was allowed to reopen. 

She says she decided to reduce her staff down to six hourly employees. It’s a small skeleton crew to push out their takeout and delivery model. 

She’s happy that her customers have stuck around. “The loyalty has absolutely been the best dish served during the pandemic. It’s absolutely amazing to see guests come weekly, some even come daily.” 

However Ta acknowledges that All Day Baby’s future is uncertain. She can’t control whether she’ll be able to keep paying her rent or water bills. But she is trying to focus on what she can control: her product. “What I can control is making something compelling enough to drive people to still join us at the restaurant. We need to generate sales.” 

Ta’s been innovating, particularly by working with the nonprofit El Nido. She explains that people donate money to El Nido Family Centers, and then her restaurant staff gets paid to make meals and deliver them to a housing community in Watts. They have been doing this for the past few weeks, making about 110 meals per week for adults and children, which helps to generate revenue for the business. 

Ta says she got into the food service industry simply because she loves food. “It really enables me to capture a true connection with guests. And through something that really is a fundamental part of being human, which is true nourishment. And if we can do that on a food level, on a human level, and communicating and all of that, it really is extraordinarily fulfilling for me. These are really challenging times right now, but I still love going to work.”


Lien Ta inside All Day Baby in Silver Lake, where she is drumming up innovative ideas to help generate more revenue. “I have an idea for a cocktail gram … to send cocktails as a delivery with a nice message.” Photo by Joyce Kim.
Credits

Guest:
Lien Ta - Owner of All Day Baby in Silver Lake and of now-closed Here’s Looking at You in Koreatown

Host:
Steve Chiotakis

Producers:
Christian Bordal, Jenna Kagel