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Milwaukee restaurant experiments with drag queen delivery service

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Posted at 5:56 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 12:25:42-04

MILWAUKEE — Hamburger Mary's in Milwaukee has rolled out a drag queen delivery service in hopes of keeping business going during the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's bringing a little bit of joy to people that are maybe cooped up at home, and they're like, 'Hey, I can have a drag queen bring my food.' That's kind of fun," Brandon Wright, the co-owner of Hamburger Mary's said.

With each burger delivery, Hamburger Mary's will send a drag queen along with the food to do a quick dance for the customer. It's a way to make ordering from the restaurant a little more fun.

The coronavirus is forcing local restaurants and small businesses to think outside the box to stay afloat. That isn't easy when more and more bans continue to go in effect.

On Tuesday, March 17, Gov. Evers' prohibited gatherings of 10 or more people. Friday, March 20, the governor ordered places like hair salons and tattoo parlors to close too.

It's keeping the remaining open business owners on their toes, which is why Hamburger Mary's decided to roll out this new plan.

"Yeah, I mean, it's been pretty much devastating. I'm not going to lie," Wright said. "It's Friday tonight. We would have a packed show tonight. We'd have packed shows all weekend."

Transitioning to delivery and takeout for this established dine-in bar and restaurant was difficult.

"We decided to do takeout delivery. We had two orders (Thursday)."

However, around 11:30 on Friday, the new marketing tactic seemed to be paying off.

"We've been open for 30 minutes, and we've already got 5 or 6 orders, which is more than the past two days combined. So we are pretty ecstatic about it so far," Wright said.

This new service could bode well for drag queens too.

"During the day, I work in the medical field, but we're not working right now. But also, I'm a full-time entertainer at night, and all the bars are closed. All the restaurants are closed. So, unfortunately, we are out of work," drag queen Marbella Sodi said.

Many drag show performers are out of work due to the gathering ban. Now, this gives drag queens like Marbella Sodi, the chance to make some tip money off of deliveries.

"I'm super stressed. I'm super nervous, and I'm worried," she said.

Whether this new delivery tactic will work is yet to be seen. All that is clear is that businesses will have to continually re-imagine the ways it attracts and reaches customers as long as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

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