March 2021: Restaurant Good News Roundup
Whether it’s financial relief packages in the U.S. or England, mutual aid efforts in Canada, or reopenings in Turkey, restaurants around the world are rallying together as they start to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Stateside, that relief was hard-earned and designed to include smaller indie operations, as well as bars and live venues. As the larger restaurant community continues to struggle through pandemic-related lockdowns and capacity allowances, let’s reflect on the nicer moments in our March 2021: Restaurant Good News Roundup.
The Rising Tide Lifts All Ships
Building your community can seem like a daunting task until you realize that you’re not in it alone. For Adolfo Melendez, the owner of El Mezcal in Wisconsin, helping his fellow restaurateurs helps everyone. Melendez believes in the cascade effect of kindness —paying it forward— that enriches everyone around you. That’s why he spent his own advertising money to help promote other restaurants, to bring a little shine to his slice of the Earth.
Elsewhere, credit card companies are incentivizing giving back to the community. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express has developed a grant program for small restaurant businesses. The grants are specifically aimed at “historic” restaurant businesses, which are in danger of closure due to the pandemic. Amex, Dell, AT&T, and more have pledged to help as well, with each donating money to fund operational improvements.
Planning For Tomorrow
Speaking of operational improvements, a recent survey indicates that 91% of restaurant operations plan to invest in kitchen automation in 2021. Since pandemic lockdowns started at this time last year, restaurant technology has risen to the occasion of streamlining operational efficiencies. Off-premise dining trends were a robust revenue stream prior to lockdowns, which have evolved into an absolute necessity. For the back-of-house, that means that restaurateurs are interested in enhancing their off-premise functionality. The fact that so many are eager to invest promises a brighter future and (hopefully) quick recovery.
Thinking About Thos Beans
When professional stuntman Hunter Ray Barker says that he loves Los Toros Mexican Restaurant in California, he means it. In order to bring attention to his favorite struggling restaurant, Barker set up a 24-hour live stream that involved the stuntman sitting in an inflatable pool of bean dip for an entire day. To cap off the stunt, Barker also received a tattoo of the restaurant’s logo, to help get the word out. The trick worked, drawing national and celebrity attention alike.
Leveling the Playing Field
Racial equity and social justice initiatives grew in scale over the summer of 2020 and fortunately have continued into the new year. Studies indicate that minorities were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, DoorDash has implemented an accelerator program for women, immigrants, and people of color-owned businesses to help them get a leg up.
On a smaller scale, Seattle teen innovators are helping black-owned restaurants transition into the future by helping them build a website. Through the Youth Web Design Pilot Program, the tech innovators were paired with accompanying businesses to help them develop their online presence. This is a huge step for restaurants challenged by modern technology and has the potential to help them capitalize on off-premise sales, now and going forward.
Conclusion – March 2021: Restaurant Good News Roundup
As lockdown restrictions are slowly eased and warmer weather returns to the northern hemisphere, there is much hope for optimism. Economic recovery may yet take some time, but as vaccinations continue the ability to dine in at your favorite restaurants becomes an increasingly viable option. Remember: your guests are hungry for indoor seating again, and with time, that will happen. As we stay the course for public safety, let’s reflect on the best of the month.
Did we miss anything in our March 2021: Restaurant Good News Roundup? Let us know in the comment section below!
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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.