COVID-19 and Its Impact on Your Favorite Restaurants & Bars
By Kristen Margo Daukas
If you had asked any single person two weeks ago that our world would look like it does today, no one would have believed it. As I write this, it is still unfathomable to me that we are facing one of the biggest threats of our time. Not only as it relates to our health but the financial impact is going to prove to be nothing short of a disaster. And the ones who immediately saw this impact are our bars and restaurants. When the Governor ordered every food and beverage business to shut their doors to their customers on March 17th, you could almost hear the audible cry of anguish.
However, the funny thing about humans is that we’re a pretty resilient lot and when forced to change in order to survive, we always find a way. Almost immediately once that issue was mandated, every establishment that had the capacity to do so changed their business model and instead of serving their foods to their customers in-house, switched to delivery and to-go services. Unsure how residents would react to the change in business model or if they would even continue to patronize them. While it’s definitely not business as normal, most of our establishments have been pleased with the support that the community has shown them.
I reached out to several establishments to get their take of everything that is happening and how they personally are faring with all the changes. Here are a couple of the responses that I received:
“I would love to let everyone know how this is a complete business model transformation. Necessity creates opportunity. We love the to-go business. It’s not doom and gloom. It’s the new way to present your product to the public. We have a strong group of people that are really enjoying the opportunity to work. Often in today’s industry it is difficult to find staff. However, this new way of doing business has excluded the need for lazy or indifferent employees and staff. It literally is a joy to go to work every night. We laugh, share and bond as we take pride in serving the community…to go home after a hard day’s work feeling nothing but sheer pride is a blessing I haven’t experienced in a long time in this industry. It may be just what the doctor ordered!!” Aaron – Smohk’d
This really is a tough time, but tough times bring out the best and worst in people. At Bib’s Downtown, we have been very fortunate to see the good in both our customers and employees. Our customers are picking up take-out orders regularly, and our employees are taking drastically reduced shifts in stride. Those that have been permanently laid off fortunately have a streamlined unemployment process to go through. We have been part of the Downtown, West-End community for 12 years, and after this is over, we look forward to many more years in this community. At the end of the day, we cannot afford to take the smallest thing for granted. Robert Moreau – Bib’s Downtown
As the fallout from COVID-19 shows no signs of going away anytime soon, restaurants will continue to pivot and adjust their business approach. Some are offering to sell their overage of meat and produce as the grocery store’s shelves seem to be empty of those items. How can you support them? Continue to order takeout or delivery. Make sure you are tipping your delivery or takeout person what you would normally tip them if you were eating in because they’re suffering the loss of their income in a major way as well. Buy gift cards. Remember them when life goes back to normal and we can all sit down together again.