August 2020 Ruminations & Ronnifications

I’d like to take a survey of my customers as they enter the restaurant. Here are the questions:

Since the shortage of toilet paper, and a lack of brand choices, is your tuchas (rear end) more sore, less sore, or about the same?

What did you do when your natural roots began showing gray? Let it grow out au natural, buy the dye and do it yourself (and pray that someone is home to help), or go to the colorist in the still of the night?

Did you re-acquaint yourself with those metal nail clippers that cost about a dollar? Or use a scissor? Or let them grow out like Vicki in Carle Place?

Did you try to play hair stylist and focus on the terrible job, sides being uneven? Or how much money was saved?

Are you wearing clothing that you hadn’t worn in five years? ten years? fifteen years? Or do you just wear the same clothes every day because no one is seeing you anyway?

Did you gain as much weight as I did? Five pounds? Ten pounds? Or fifteen pounds? Let’s see if we make a match.

Did it just seem that we have more garbage now than we had pre-pandemic? Or is it now filled with empty cardboard boxes?

Have you started to measure your life in how long you can make the toothpaste last? Or the mouthwash? Or the Clorox wipes?

Did you realize that almost all your needs can be met by Amazon? A delivery company — vertically integrated — and conglomerate reaching into all businesses, facets of life and your personal business?

Lastly, and less irreverent, what can we do to better serve you? What will it take for you to come and eat in our indoor or outdoor restaurants and feel safe doing so? What can we do to enhance your take out experience? We are here… and have been here working hard to safely serve you and help get through these challenging times.

Stay well and safe.

See ya at the deli,
Simply Ronnie

July 2020 Ruminations & Ronnifications

Where have all the years gone? I began this journey as an idealistic twenty-four year old hoping to satisfy anyone and everyone. And at the beginning of this journey I did but I had this incessant need to grow the business and to build on the last accomplishment. An overwhelming need to prove myself caused me to go home late at night, almost every night, and plan the next adventure on this journey; this was accomplished  after working 100+ hours per week for at least seven years.

At first, I enjoyed much success. I was told that everything I touched turned to gold. I knew better. And some of my  future failures proved me right. But I got up, dusted myself off, learned some very valuable lessons and marched on.

It is now forty-eight years later as an almost seventy-two year old continues on this fateful journey with a little less energy, a slower step in my walk, and a mind that is less sharp and nimble but with the ever present goal of pleasing our patrons… all while keeping over 300 employees employed and the tradition alive. My goal is now to try and get all our employees on the same page, by teaching and training while disseminating all I have learned on this Quixotic journey.

This is no easy task as we embark on our ever-changing new world. We will navigate with you and for you following new guidelines and protocols to provide the eastern European foods of our ancestors… all to be enjoyed in safety and comfort in the new normal.

See ya all at the Deli,
Ronnie

To Ben’s Deli Patrons

The letter below was received on Saturday, June 6th from Woolbright Development demanding the premium rents of April, May and June in the amount of $86,688.51 which is close to $30,000 per month (no small amount) without warning or discussion.

Is this how a 15 year plus tenant is treated who has never missed a payment in over 15 years, always paying their rent promptly?

I realize that neither Woolbright Development nor Ben’s created this Covid 19 pandemic. Woolbright is the only landlord (or agent of a landlord) who has chosen this path. Every other landlord has worked with Ben’s. This tells Ben’s that Woolbright doesn’t care about our tenancy now or in the future.

Aside from being unreasonable in my opinion, Woolbright is putting over 55 jobs in jeopardy during these turbulent times.

If as loyal patrons you feel that is it is unfair or premature to evict Ben’s, please call Woolbright Development at (561) 989-2240 and let them know of your disapproval.

Kosher Delicatessen & Restaurants are an endangered species; they will become extinct without patron intervention.

With best regards,
Ronnie Dragoon
CEO/Founder

June 2020 Ruminations & Ronnifications

It’s amazing how species develop, evolve and are able to change their behaviors. We have all learned to adapt through this pandemic; but we will be forever changed, in one way or another, for better or worse.

As June approaches this will be the end of my second month in isolation. And although I am engaged in Ben’s seven days a week, working harder than ever, I feel in some way disengaged and removed.

I am anxious to get back to my Greenvale office and resume business as usual. Of course, usual is the operative word as this too will need to be re-defined. We are working tirelessly, planning, purchasing and implementing changes to ensure the safest and cleanest environment for our dining customers and staff.

Our Boca dining room has already reopened successfully, at partial capacity. And we are excited to re-open our Manhattan store for take out only, June 1st.  Forward movement and our new normal is on the horizon.

It won’t be long until we can re-engage with our customers eating in our New York dining rooms. But I wonder, if and when, will we ever resume shaking people’s hands? Hugging each other when greeting? Or feeling safe in large gatherings? I do hope, that those days will come, but only time will tell.

See ya at the deli.

Simply,
Ronnie

May 2020 Ruminations & Ronnifications

I am hoping:

that the better part of the Corona virus is behind us so that we can begin anew;

that most if not all of our employees will be back working sooner rather than later;

that families enjoyed the best of each other if they were lucky enough to stay at home but if they weren’t, they were able to face time with their families as we did with our grandchildren;

that those individuals who were not at home with their families –– but on the front lines –– know how appreciative we all are for their service;

that all those who have a 401k plan or other retirement plan dependent on the vagaries of the stock market see an upward movement in their account;

that all our vendors emerge from this devastating blow to our economy;

that we see many more smiles and the playful bantering that typically is part of the genuine kosher deli experience when we reopen fully;

that the pages devoted to the obituaries lessen, and the New York Times marriage section becomes greater;

that everyone emerges with greater empathy for those who are incarcerated for nonviolent behavior;

And lastly, I am hoping that we never have to be a participant in another pandemic in our lifetimes, so that we don’t have to imagine a world without restaurants, without kosher delis.

Thank you to all our patrons for your past, present and future support. I am hoping.

With best regards,
Ronnie Dragoon
CEO/Founder