January 2021: Restaurant Good News Roundup
The pandemic and post-holiday season have created a sense of depression and anxiety for many, which has made it difficult. Fortunately, science has shown that receiving good news has a positive effect on your health, and we have good news to deliver. Since last month, vaccines have started rolling out, with many advocating for restaurant workers to be among the earliest wave of inoculations. Just the idea of a vaccine has restaurants stocks rising, as a return to normalcy becomes more likely in the future. That’s just the beginning of better days to come, so read our January 2021: Restaurant Good News Roundup.
Business is Booming
You’ve likely read about the many restaurants that failed due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. It’s easy then to miss the good news that new restaurants are opening, and old restaurants are thriving. In London, the artisanal hot chocolate cafe Knoops is expanding. In Dubai, more than 1300 new food outlets have opened up. In the U.S. there are new restaurants opening around the country. Keep these examples in mind to the resiliency of the industry.
Tipping continues to be a source of controversy, with new rules in place that may leave some restaurant staff struggling. While there’s the potential for higher restaurant staff minimum wages, there are some good samaritans out there who understand the value of hard-working restaurant workers.
At the Masala Mantra Indian Bistro in Florida, one guest left a tip for $2020, hopefully leaving a somewhat nicer impression of a difficult year for the waiter. In Cincinnati, Ohio, a tip war has broken out where fans from local sports teams try to out-tip one another, to show their support for the wait staff and their favorite team.
It’s not the holidays without a feel-good story, and there were plenty this year, from innovative ideas to helping those in need. Restaurants around Dublin, Ireland united to share boxed meals for New Year’s Eve, creating stay-at-home alternatives for traditional holiday celebrations. Entrepreneurs in Indianapolis, Indiana have established an accelerator to help aspiring minority restaurateurs develop virtual kitchens around the country. Last, but surely not least, the Adopt a Server campaign on social media has gained steam as a way to help struggling restaurant staff to pay their bills until the industry can properly recover.
For much of 2020, the English were on an extended furlough, funded in part with government stipends. While that stipend was initially set to expire in December, government officials have extended their furlough period until at least April. For British restaurant workers, that means that they will continue to earn 80% of their income, without having to work directly with the public.
Restaurants Delivered Good News
Third-party delivery services have proven to be a double-edged sword in 2020. While they offer a convenient lifeline to struggling restaurants, their (often) exorbitant fees cut deep into the razor-thin margins of restaurateurs hustling to keep it together. The National Restaurant Association has found common ground with third-party delivery services to better maintain the relationship between restaurants and delivery platforms. Additionally, UberEats has pledged to share more data with restaurants in a bid for transparency. The two initiatives are designed to maximize equity between restaurants and delivery services, as off-premise dining is expected to remain a driving force in the industry.
News of the Weird
Before we go, let’s catch up on all the news that was a little off the beaten path. Hot on the heels of their Mario Lopez rom-com, KFC announced a new gaming console that simultaneously keeps chicken warm. Hopefully, they bring chicken-oriented games like Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley to the system. Not to be outdone in out-of-the-bun news, White Castle recently hired Oscar-winner Richard Dreyfuss for a campaign to raise money for struggling restaurant workers.
Last but not least, a restaurant in Chennai, India has made waves with the message at the bottom of their receipts. Each ticket reads, “never hurt a samosa or kachori by saying no,” two dessert pastries served at the restaurant. The pun is that to never hurt their “fillings,” marketing copy that has so far spread the word across the globe.
It’s been a hard year, but things are looking up. Last year was daunting but prompted great innovations, all while chains thrived, and bankrupt restaurants found a way back. With a new political administration coming into office in the U.S., hope for federal aid for restaurants has become renewed. Between that, there are a lot of reasons to remain optimistic as we head further into the New Year.
Did we miss anything in our January 2021: Restaurant Good News Roundup? We always love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below if you’ve heard any great news and we’ll try and share it.
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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. At home, like the rest of the world right now, he’s finding time to play with the kids and create art.