Story by Bardia Khajenoori U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart.
It’s been said that “an army marches on its stomach,” and that doesn’t change when every day is COVID day. The Originals Café on Panzer Kaserne still marches along, serving breakfast and lunch five days a week—albeit now for a smaller clientele that doesn’t have the option to hang around and eat on site.
Daily headcounts are down from 100-150 per day during pre-COVID days to fewer than 20, according to SFC Dirk Yamaguchi, the dining facility’s manager.
The major turning point, in his view, was the identification of the Stuttgart military community’s first cases in mid-March, after which widespread teleworking significantly reduced the number of people physically on post.
The reduced demand is reflected in much smaller supply deliveries; an inventory process that used to take two people up to two hours can now be accomplished by one person in about 15-20 minutes, said Yamaguchi. They have put regained time to productive use, he added, including training and administrative work that a normal schedule makes difficult to accomplish easily.
With carry-out meals still mandatory, Yamaguchi said menus have been simplified to offer options customers can carry out and handle relatively easily—pointing to a recent day’s offering of grilled chicken sandwiches or garden salads as an example.
The café is open to all DOD ID card holders with base access, and Yamaguchi would love for new patrons to stop by and have a fresh meal at a good value. “I think they’ll be very happy with what they see here.”
The Originals Café is located in Building 2963 on Panzer Kaserne, near the Panzer shoppette, and is open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. for breakfast and 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for lunch (except federal and training holidays). Currently the Café is serving customers carry-out only.