August 2020: Restaurant Good News Roundup
Restaurants have suffered the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic, serving as the unexpected economic and socio-political frontlines of the year's travails. As of this writing, 53% of restaurants are permanently closed, with a running total of $120B lost so far. The industry is at an ever-shifting crossroads, hampered by diminished in-house capacities and intermittent closures. The news has been a mix of marginal gains and new opportunities for the industry at large. Finding a ray of light over the last five months isn't always an easy task, but in our August 2020: Restaurant Good News Roundup, we attempt to do just that.
Since the start of the pandemic, the English have run a comparatively tight ship, going into a deep quarantine and setting up a robust public dole for anyone misplaced economically by the virus. Last month, the British government announced it was going to help boost restaurant sales by helping to pick up half of all customer checks outside of alcohol sales. Even the monarchy has come out in support of the restaurant industry, offering glowing praise for the difficulties that face workers.
Contactless Delivery On The Rise
Technological innovation has become more commonplace due to health-related restrictions that have left many restaurants in need of new solutions. It's because of this that restaurant tech companies have continued to grow, to fill a niche that our current crisis has underscored. Tech is reshaping the industry, from digital kiosks to business intelligence. Perhaps the most critical piece of emerging technology is in the field of contactless interactions. This shift has pushed companies like Coca-Cola to develop contactless freestyle machines. It's why there are more contactless solutions in the world, including apps and mobile ordering options. What's more socially distant than never physically interacting with another human?
Serve the Servants
As of this writing, there are several organizations out there backing up the restaurant industry in their time of need. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is simultaneously lobbying to garner federal financial assistance for restaurateurs, including enhancements to existing PPP loan structures. Still, they are also fighting for workers to gain access to quick and easy testing. Fortunately, they aren't alone, as public donations to relief funds are on the rise, and as politicians across aisles are listening to that need for effective and efficient testing.
In that spirit, the owners and operators are also helping out those in need in their communities. Since March, Red Lobster has provided 10K meals to frontline workers in 48 cities. Meanwhile, a Massachusetts restaurateur has turned her efforts inward, helping her workers to learn critical survival skills in harsh economic conditions. Mehzabin Shaikh, the owner at Guru the Caterer, saw an opportunity to help her workers to learn new skills, including English, in the advent that the business suffered any loss.
The Good and the Weird
Before we close out our August 2020: Restaurant Good News Roundup, let's take a look at the small bits of good (and weird) news that have made headlines and brought smiles to faces around the world. First up, McDonald's recently introduced a net-zero energy restaurant, designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible. McDonald's is still a little green, but are working towards ecological equilibrium.
Somehow masks have continued to remain a political sticking point for many, with the science called into question. In response, a restaurant in Madurai, India, has crafted edible masks to help raise pro-face-covering awareness. Lastly, a San Antonio, Texas restaurant has installed a disinfectant spray wash at their entrance, to help disinfect occupants on their way in.
Never lose sight of the fact that things are in perpetual motion, always subject to change. No one can guarantee tomorrow, and today is all anyone can know, which is why even in the most infertile of grounds, restaurateurs have continued to push forward to realize their dreams. Did we miss anything in our August 2020: Restaurant Good News Roundup? Let us know in the comments.Subscribe to the blog for more interesting restaurant content!