On Wednesday morning, three thieves smashed through the door at Hamburguesas El Gordo, ransacked cash registers, and made off with a safe containing around $15,000, reports restaurant owner Claudia Gutierrez.
"We can’t really see their faces, they were wearing masks," says Gutierrez, who reviewed security footage of the incident that occurred around 12:45 a.m. in south Minneapolis. "They went for the cash only, they didn't take anything else."
Insurance will cover some of the losses at 4157 Cedar Ave. S., but coronavirus-related financial stresses are already squeezing Hamburguesas El Gordo, Gutierrez says. That's why fans of the shop's epic burgers, street tacos, and asada fries launched a GoFundMe earlier today to help cover employee wages.
Gutierrez, whose family also runs a Hamburguesas location in St. Paul, is grateful for the support and for her employees.
"It'd be really hard for them to come to work, put their family their risks every day, and for me to tell them I don’t have their money," she says, "Especially with how hard things are already.”
Business has "been OK" for Hamburguesas El Gordo since Gov. Tim Walz shutdown dine-in eating two months ago due to COVID-19, but third-party delivery companies take big cuts and meat prices are spiking, says Gutierrez, adding: "We're surviving."
Local restaurants are especially vulnerable amid the pandemic, according to Gutierrez, and she implores other owners take precautions that Hamburguesas El Gordo didn't have in place: a high-quality safe, security system, heavy-duty locks, and daily bank deposits.
"It will keep happening," she says, "so be prepared.”