I'm scared. But not of the things you might assume.

 

I have the pleasure and honor to work in the hospitality industry in the most exciting city in the world. I’m the middleman, so I don’t make anything or provide direct service to consumers. I buy what I think is a good product and sell it to folks that I think can benefit from passing it on to their customers. That means that my happiness and peace of mind rest on the shoulders of the owners, chefs, GMs, AGMs, servers and sommeliers of restaurants all over this town.

Now, as fear of the unknown pushes all of us further and further into uncertainty, these great people need us more than ever. This is not a political issue, it’s a human one. It’s about compassion. I saw it after 10/1 and I hope I see it now. Casinos are empty, conventions are cancelled, people are cancelling vacations and business trips and locals are hunkering down. 

Those with the resources to close down and wait it out are doing so. But independent restaurants don’t have this option. What they do every day is what they love and what they need to do to provide for and protect their families. Margins are thin, hours are long, and they depend on our patronage …  just like a lot of us depend on them.

So what can we do? It’s simple. If you have the means to do so, spend money at restaurants that you’d like to still be here when the sun finally comes up again. Order carryout locally a little more. Leave a slightly bigger tip if you can. If you have a friend in the industry who is furloughed or laid off and hurting, buy them lunch or get them a gift card for things they might need. If you’re worried about contact, get curbside pick-up, or buy gift cards (directly or even on-line) from restaurants and then treat yourself later when things get better. And believe me, if we look out for each other, things will get better. 

Good people need our help. And I know these folks. They’ll be too proud to ask. And you know what? They shouldn’t have to. 

For every chef at a local bistro who made your birthday dinner special. For every server who went that extra mile for your anniversary night out. For every restaurant manager who got you a hard to get table on a busy night. For every bartender who stiffened up your drink or lent you a friendly ear. For every sommelier who recommended that special bottle of wine that made you look good at the table. It’s our turn to show them that we noticed it, we appreciated it and that we care. 

Help if you can. Stay safe. Take care of each other.