COVID-19 means staff is 'building your plates for you' at Pizza Crafters all-you-can-eat buffet

Tim Rohlfs

MENOMONEE FALLS -- As the state reopens amid COVID-19, operations have changed in a big way at Pizza Crafters in Menomonee Falls. Normally, when you think of a buffet, you think of self-serve, all-you-can-eat dining, but while the concept of Pizza Crafters remains the same amid the coronavirus pandemic, how you dine is different.

"I'm looking forward to getting a revenue stream again," said Tim Rohlfs, owner of Pizza Crafters.

While things are starting to get back to normal at Pizza Crafters in Menomonee Falls, diners will notice some changes.

"The biggest thing we're asking our guest is to just to be patient with us as we work our way through this," said Rohlfs.

The restaurant reopened Friday, May 22 to dine-in customers -- greeted by signs at the door. Those who are sick are asked to stay away. The buffet, normally self-serve, is now hands-off.

"We're building your plates for you," said Rohlfs. "We're still an all-you-can-eat buffet, so you're more than welcomed to come up as often as you'd like," said Rohlfs.

The way things like flatware and fountain drinks are handled has changed, as well.

"We're just trying to eliminate touchpoints as much as possible," said Rohlfs.

Employees are being screened each time they come to work -- asked a series of questions about the coronavirus.

"Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?" said Rohlfs.

Their temperatures are checked every shift.

While it's not what Rohlfs is used to, he said this new way of doing business is what's best to keep people safe.

"We just want to make sure that everybody is following the guidelines," said Rohlfs. "We don't want to be responsible for a spike."

Rohlfs said during the "Safer at Home" order, they were able to do carryout and third-party delivery, but sales were down about 80%. He said this is the only way to stay afloat -- but he wants it to be done in a safe way.