Joe Cohen cut both straws nearly in half so Nathan Ezrre, 5, and his sister Lauren, 4, could drink out of their cups.
The Brighton siblings were munching burgers and fries with their parents Tuesday at Cohen’s restaurant, Old School Burgers in Aurora.
The straws were an easy fix for Cohen compared with the challenges the fast-casual fresh-burger restaurant operator faces in this recession.
Although his business card says “president,” Cohen doubles as janitor, fry cook and order taker.
“Like most restaurants, as the economy has suffered, so have we,” Cohen said. “We are operating more efficiently, but if things get slower, we don’t have the strong reserves a bigger company might have.”
Sales at Old School Burgers, which has three locations in the metro area, have decreased nearly 25 percent since last year, Cohen said. The company makes 800 to 900 burgers a day across the three stores. Saturdays and Sundays, the burger count tops 1,000 daily.
The company has about 50 employees. It closed its original location in Parker last year because of poor sales. Plans to open two more stores are on hold.
Cohen competes with burger restaurants such as Smashburger, but his biggest fight for customers is with fast-food chains with $1 menus.