April 2020: Restaurant Good News Roundup
Life under quarantine and social distancing has each of us either in our head or buried in our news feed, and the information out there isn’t always the most uplifting, especially for restaurants. Of course, we all already know that the hospitality industry is struggling to stay solvent as in-house traffic dropped to zero in mid-March and that those losses translated into millions of unemployed workers. You’ve probably read about the CARES Act, which has sought to help citizens and businesses across the country. We’re inundated with so much, that it’s easy to lose sight of the sweeter moments going on in our community and how it brings us together. Join us for our April 2020: restaurant good news roundup to see the great work people are doing to overcome adversity.
Helping the Help
Before we get into the little stories that add spice to life, some more prominent organizations have pulled together to help out. We’ve already mentioned the CARES Act, which is a federal initiative to help out. Still, on the national level, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) has developed a program to help displaced workers and affected restaurateurs and continue to petition every day. Restaurant tech businesses have worked to offer free solutions for the increase in off-premise traffic or have waived some or many of their fees. Everyone wants to help, from the top down, whether that’s helping find the money for unemployed workers, or suspending student loan debt for restaurant staff.
The LEE Initiative
When celebrity chef Edward Lee understood the gravity of the situation, he got to work. Since last month, Lee has worked on the LEE Initiative, a restaurant workers relief program now operating in several major cities around the United States. Primarily geared towards helping displaced members of the restaurant service industry, the initiative recently partnered with Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, to feed emergency workers who have continued to serve the community throughout the pandemic.
Take Me Down to Flavortown
Guy Fieri is the butt of a lot of jokes, but he is legitimately awesome. Like Chef Lee, when Fieri recognized trouble, he got right to work championing restaurant/hospitality industry workers. Fieri and the NRA teamed for another restaurant workers relief program that grants $500 to displaced workers. Now, Fieri has pivoted his Diner, Drive-Thrus, and Dives series to focus on off-premise options to highlight the excellent work that our community continues to put out every day.
It’s not just the restaurant industry cheerleading for one another to succeed, but for everyone performing a vital service to get a slice of the proverbial pie. Like with the LEE Initiative story above, restaurants around the country are feeding hospitality workers free of charge. Some restaurants are even donating their overstock to food banks to help feed the public.
Inside and out of the hospitality industry, CEOs are cutting their salary entirely to help stay solvent. In the restaurant industry, the respective CEOs from Yum! Brands and Texas Roadhouse are forgoing their wages to help mitigate their financial loss and unemployment. Many others have offered their employees emergency pay during the pandemic, another example of people before profits.
Tipping is always a source of conversation, whether it’s generous or not-so-much. Since quarantine, though, the world has stepped up to help the people who help us every time we go out. On a national level, virtual tip jars started popping up last month to provide support for restaurant workers. Guests know how hard this is on everyone, like the mystery customer who left 10K to a restaurant in Florida or patrons in Texas and Ohio, going enormous tips. Even celebrities like Tyler Perry are tipping big to help out.
If there is a silver lining to a global pandemic, it’s in the generosity and kindness that we see in communities around the world. Whether that’s people singing in the streets, or someone driving a car around blaring feel-good music, everyone wants to look on the bright side when possible, and that includes caring for the restaurant community. We’re all in this together, no matter where you are. Thanks for joining us for our April 2020: restaurant good news roundup! Share some of your favorite feel-good stories in the comments.
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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.