September 2020: Restaurant Good News Roundup
It’s hard to believe that quarantine protocols have been in place for just over six months today, but here we are. It feels trite to discuss the difficulties that anyone in the restaurant industry already knows, whether that’s in the loss of employment to so many in the field, to overwhelming odds for staying open. As with every month, we mention the sour to highlight the sweet: in spite of the circumstances, restaurateurs are persevering and in some cases thriving. In our September 2020: Restaurant Good News Roundup, we’re highlighting the best of the best, from restaurants lending the next generation a helping hand, to sushi serving strong men.
Reaping the Rewards
Customer rewards programs are a great way to build long term loyalty in guests, while adding potential revenue to your business. Normally, rewards programs are between a restaurant and their patrons, but in an effort to boost their struggling economy, the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development offered grants to local eateries. The catch? They have to give half of it away. To accommodate this requirement, restaurateurs are offering discounted meals, gift certificates, and more to help connect with customers ready to eat.
Across the U.S., one Vermont community has initiated the Everyone Eats! program that taps into CARES Act funding to ensure that no one in the community goes hungry. This initiative considers the local farming community as well, in an effort to guarantee that everyone has an opportunity to help one another. Everyone Eats! is designed to help vulnerable parties, no matter their economic turmoil, and is an egalitarian example of how we can overcome adversity together better than apart by rewarding each other.
Restaurants Are For the Kids
The expression, “think about the children,” is emotionally affecting because it addresses the struggle by some of our absolute most vulnerable. The kids are alright in one New Jersey city, with the Better Together initiative. Just like the Everyone Eats! program listed above, Better Together brings the community together, urging patrons to dine at local restaurants, who then donate to children in need. The drive took place during the last week in August, and was a win for everyone involved by helping children, struggling restaurant businesses, and giving customers something to look forward to.
Restaurants: The Next Generation
Speaking of expression, it’s easy to forget that “the darkest night is just before the dawn.” Right now, we’re all struggling, from the economy, to the environment, and even our mental health. We struggle alone, because in quarantine it’s easy to forget that we’re together. But the future is bright, and there are opportunities for those looking right now, as the restaurant industry and beyond work to rebuild once we’re post-pandemic. Coca-Cola are investing $1.5 million in the future of restaurant leadership, to help bring in fresh eyes for a better tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Yum! Brands recently announced that they are investing $6 million dollars into their own community, to help fight equity and inequality in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s part of their long term commitment of $100 million worldwide, to help communities around the world face a more equitable future. The two contributions to the industry promise a more optimistic and fair post-pandemic landscape.
Winter is Coming
There have been a lot of innovations in restaurant technology, whether that’s contactless tech or enhancements to off-premise delivery functionality. For many operators, a short-term fix has been to utilize their outdoor space during the summer months, to help safely circumvent existing restaurant capacity maximums. Unfortunately, the Autumn winds are blowing, signaling the coming winter. As the days get cooler, restaurants are faced with a fresh dilemma: how do they serve guests on premises without the outdoor space they’ve come to rely on? To address this, the city of Chicago is sponsoring a contest aimed at creative solutions to keep people warm in the cool. Winners are rewarded $5000 if their ideas are accepted.
Getting Weird With Sushi
Every month, we have the opportunity to highlight innovation from around the world, from restaurateurs eager to generate a little buzz. In our September 2020: Restaurant Good News Roundup, we’re featuring a story from central Japan, where a sushi shop owner had the novel idea to offer deliveries courtesy of… bodybuilders. Sushi chef Masanori Sugiura decided to flex on his competition, by having weightlifters deliver meals to customers looking for something to break up their norm. Guests who’s order exceeds the right dollar menu are treated to bodybuilders bringing their charms to their front door, a fun way to help get the word out.
As our September 2020: Restaurant Good News Roundup draws to a close, we end on a high note. The National Restaurant Association have launched a restaurant revival campaign to raise widespread awareness that restaurants are ready for you. People want your restaurant to reopen, and have ran when they perhaps should’ve walked to express just that. Guests are anxious about going out, but they want you to succeed, so that their favorite restaurants are there when quarantine restrictions are lowered. So far, they are. While sales are sluggish, there are signs that the industry is starting to endure, including mass re-hirings.
Did we miss anything this month? We’d love to hear your good news stories. Comment below and let us know what you think.
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About the Author
Syd was 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.