The restaurant and bar business has always been close to my heart, having worked for 20 years in chains, bars, BBQ joints and fine dining establishments.
The workers that have long found restaurants and bars to be sources of steady income have found 2020 and COVID-19 to be one of the toughest years of their working lives.
This article explores the unique challenges of restaurants, focusing on workers and methods to make the restaurant business work for both workers and our economy in a pandemic economy.
2.5 million fewer jobs exist today in this critical industry for our nation’s economy. Many of the jobs that have come back are not seeing wages or benefits match their earning potential before COVID-19. That is a larger threat to local economies across the nation.
Small family businesses lagged behind the rest of the nation in accessing the Paycheck Protection Program. As these small restaurants have reopened their doors, but only to limited capacity, workers and owners are both seeing a disparity that is difficult to absorb.
With no national strategy to help stabilize the restaurant and bar small business industry during this difficult time, it is up to states and local communities to fill the gap with ever diminishing resources. Another reason to follow the House Democrats and provide immediate relief for local and state governments seeing their tax revenue streams severely diminished and impacted by COVID-19.
Many rural communities haven’t even begun the harder conversations of how to save these vital industries that support hundreds and thousands of jobs let alone contend with revenue shortfalls. We must come together to support workers and small businesses that fuel our local economies if we are going to successfully weather the fall and winter, which appears to be bruising economic months for these industries.
We also must hold ourselves, our small businesses and our workers up to higher levels of service and efficiency, utilizing training programs that increase revenue, decrease costs and minimize waste.
Simply having a job is not enough when that job does not pay the bills. The restaurant and bar industry is under threat. That threat further threatens the lifeblood of our local economies as we head into the fall and winter.
We must work together now to safeguard our workers and small businesses through this pandemic. We all will benefit.