August 2021: Restaurant Good News Roundup
Well, it’s been a month. While many were happy to put the pandemic behind us, the pandemic had other plans. New variants of the virus have again imperiled people around the globe, in turn putting pressure on businesses to help mitigate public safety hazards. While it doesn’t seem that there are any lockdowns in place, they might be on the horizon. But fear not gentle reader, there is hope. Industry professionals are working tirelessly to rebuild revitalization funds, to enhance health measures through vaccine passports, and to continue to innovate with restaurant technology and just plain old human goodness. Let’s take a look at the brightest moments in a cloudy month, and reflect on the best that there is in our August 2021: Restaurant Good News Roundup.
The expression “good help is hard to find” has never meant more than it has since the pandemic turned the restaurant industry upside down last year. With approximately 5.5 million people unemployed at the height of U.S. lockdowns, workers had time to reflect on what they needed most. For many, that meant receiving higher wages, benefits, and the other types of incentives that many other jobs offer. With the industry hungry for workers, would-be employees have found leverage in obtaining more upward mobility, enough so that the average hourly wage has officially exceeded $15. One major chain has explored child care as an incentive to bring in new works. Remember, happy workers lead to less turnover, and turnover equals lost revenue and opportunities.
Kindness is Key
Part of the various reopenings around the world has been a return to a norm that many hospitality employees haven’t missed: rude guests. At Botica, a Mexican restaurant in Georgia, Chef Mimmo puts his employees first by listening, mindfulness, and speaking their language. Literally. While it might not seem like a story, it’s easy to forget the people in the world who work to make it better for one another. It’s not just as part o an employee retention campaign, although Mimmo’s efforts are provably useful in that area, but in just showing kindness to one another for better or worse times. We could all use such compassion in our lives.
Innovation has been the name of the game since the onset of the pandemic, with restaurateurs scrambling to keep up with consumer demands and short staff. These efforts have led to enhanced off-premise dining strategies and improved contactless technologies designed to mitigate public health concerns. In response, Insider is seeking nominations for best innovations to help shine a little light on the clever ways that owners and operators have persevered. Elsewhere, National Restaurant News recently founded the CREATORS awards to recognize and honor restaurant industry innovations. Both awards are meant to showcase our biggest and brightest while pushing the industry ever onward.
While the aforementioned awards are meant to highlight innovations, one Australian scientist has already won an award for his work in fighting diabetes. When Dr. David Kannar, the founder of food technology company Nutrition Innovation, lost his brother to diabetes, he set out to help. To do that, he developed a low GI (glycaemic index) sugar that would minimize diabetes and obesity. This type of sugar is absorbed into the system slower than high GI sugars, which is beneficial to metabolism. His efforts were recently recognized by the United Nations, for the positive impact it has and will continue to have around the world.
Here Comes The Breakfast Wars
If you’re anything like us, you love breakfast. No matter what time of day it is, breakfast sounds good, a sentiment so common that it has quickly become a new burgeoning opportunity for restaurateurs looking to cut through the noise. Restaurant Brands International is working to reimagine Burger King by improving upon digital initiatives and reimaging their menu, including items like breakfast. While we can’t say for sure, we hope that this is the spark that starts not another chicken sandwich war, but a race to have the best breakfast around. That’s a victory for everyone.
Space exploration is in the news again, this time through NASA’s efforts to plan and train for Mars missions. To do that, the venerated organization is recruiting for simulated missions to study the physical and mental rigors of a long-term stay on another planet. While this isn’t specifically restaurant industry-related, participants will work with NASA’s Advanced Food Technology researchers to determine limitations to the physical and mental challenges that astronauts might face. Again, while this might not seem like a story about restaurants, don’t forget the impact that NASA has had on food and food safety.
August 2021: Restaurant Good News Roundup
As we wrap up our August 2021: Restaurant Good News Roundup, remember that we yet have a long road ahead in terms of the pandemic, albeit one that we will overcome together. Restaurateurs are fraught with worries over staffing, financial aid, and ballooning prices, but there is always hope. Innovators are already working to provide robots and kiosks to mitigate staffing, and filling human roles with teens and, at times ex-cons. There are so many people out there doing good things. Don’t let the loudest voices tell you otherwise.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments section below. We’d love to have even more good news to share.
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About the Author
Syd is a content marketing specialist, which are fancy words for writing pretty to tell a good story. He likes writing things about food, drinks, and music. He’s a musician himself, a father of two, and loves his wife a whole lot.