INDIANAPOLIS — A local carryout deli wants to stay in business long after COVID-19.
The owner of "Greiner's Deli" turned to a young man for a way to provide deliveries safely and healthily.
The Indianapolis deli wants to make sure customers know they're open at a time many small businesses are struggling to survive.
"We've gone down to about 15% of our original business that we have, with the dining room being closed; it's just killed everything," Joshua Lopez, the Greiner's general manager, said.
Todd Tyrone, the owner of Greiner's on 86th Street, is also looking for ways to keep his people on the payroll.
To keep employees and customers safe while practicing social distancing, the business has deployed drones to make contact-free deliveries.
Once the order is driven to a home or business, the drone operator who is FAA licensed drops off the food from several feet away.
The drone can deliver a meal weighing up to three pounds. No drinks for now, but service it is free.
"People are really protective of their health, and we are too, and we don't want to be in contact," Tyrone said. "We still want to feed them. Because they're stepping up, doing their work, and we want to do our work."
"We've got buildings over there, apartment complexes, big houses, that we deliver to. All these businesses around that we deliver to -- this is the thing of the future," Lopez said.
The drone pilot, Tegan Tinsley, says all deliveries are done in line of sight, and the drones don't go above 400 feet.
In the past two weeks, the drones have made seven deliveries.
It's made some people smile.
It's kept employees engaged.
And it's a reminder that while the situation in our country is "up in the air," the future is just around the corner, ready to deliver.
Greiner's Deli Sub Shop
1738 E 86th St
Monday - Saturday: 10:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.