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Executive Chef Quinnton Austin is the owner of Louisiana Purchase, a restaurant in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego that aims to “bring New Orleans to North Park” with a soulful menu of savory bites. Like many other small to midsize business owners during the pandemic, Austin (aka “Chef Q”) was forced to continually adapt to ever-changing regulations with real impacts on his business. Austin’s flexible attitude and ability to “rise to the occasion” unexpectedly created new opportunities for the restaurant, even amidst a global pandemic. 

Using his Cox Business Internet account, Austin relied on software programs like Plate IQ to keep up with trends that required Louisiana Purchase to constantly change their menu items. “In current times, it’s more beneficial to have automation, especially when it comes to frequent menu changes where you need to price out each dish based on overhead and revenue goals,” he explained. 

At the height of the pandemic, Louisiana Purchase was forced to come up with innovative ways to spread the word about their offerings. “The shutdowns changed the way we approached business,” said Austin. “We started to utilize all our social media platforms to tell our story, from behind-the-scenes content and new dishes to giveaways and to show how we were supporting frontline hospital workers with meals and students in low-income neighborhoods with school lunches,” he continued. 

Louisiana Purchase continues using their Cox Business Internet to power other restaurant technology tools like Toast 365 and Shamrock for order processing to ensure the unique dishes on the menu are always available to area foodies.

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And Louisiana Purchase isn’t just drawing in the locals; the restaurant’s excellent food and welcoming vibe are luring foodies from all over Southern California. “The biggest silver lining of the pandemic was that people seem less scared to try new things, and they are willing to go out and have culinary adventures. On average we welcome 20 customers each week from Los Angeles who come to experience our menu and atmosphere,” said Austin. “We just had a family of about 40 who took the train down from L.A. the weekend before Mardi Gras!” he exclaimed.

Austin and his team have worked hard to curate the distinctive, hospitable New Orleans feel of Louisiana Purchase, and they have extended that convivial warmth into the community by helping to connect Black professionals and chefs within the industry. Austin recently launched “Bad Boys of Culinary,” a community of Black chefs who visit various cities and restaurants to showcase their talents. The group also hosts culinary expos for the public, with two events upcoming in San Diego.

There’s no doubt that Austin’s instinct for innovation will continue to take him (and his endeavors) to great heights. Soon, he and fellow Bad Boys of Culinary Chef Kelston Moore are opening a new spot in Oceanside called Q&A Restaurant and Oyster Bar, which vows to “bring NOLA vibes to Oceanside” with first-class service and food. Southern California dining enthusiasts, rejoice!

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