Community PSA: check on your restaurant people during the COVID-19 social distancing order. They are not okay. Also, now is not the time to be writing negative online reviews. Have patience, show empathy, and support your local hospitality industry. They’re doing the best they can.
Last week, we shared a video answering some questions we were getting from restaurant owners and managers on what they should be posting on social media as they navigate through the COVID-19 coronavirus situation.
Today, this post is more of a call to action to the community and a PSA.
As we’ve been working hour by hour with restaurant and bar owners, since the pandemic has forced them to dramatically modify their operations or temporarily close, our biggest takeaway has been this:
The hospitality industry is going through it right now.
That’s not to say other businesses aren’t in the same boat, but to give you some context — the hospitality industry is an extremely dynamic, social, dramatic, and fast-paced environment. The day-to-day is go, go, go, go, go. You are working with teams of people who are like your family. It’s constant hour by hour problem-solving with customers, front-of-the-house, back-of-the-house, point-of-sales systems, inventory, and on and on. It’s putting out fires as they come, over and over and over and over again, and then you’re moving on to the next thing and you’re going.
Now, the hospitality industry has been smacked in the face with a problem they can’t immediately solve. It’s out of their control, and it’s driving them crazy. In a matter of days, restaurants across the country have been forced to dramatically modify their operations or temporarily close, and it’s extraordinarily traumatic. Not only from a financial standpoint, but from an emotional standpoint, as well.
For some restaurants, this is the first time they’ve ever partnered with a third-party delivery service, so they’re navigating that relationship. For some, they’re figuring out how to properly package their food so that it travels well and customers can eat it at home. All the while, they’re having to reduce their staff and increase their safety precautions.
For other restaurants, the lights are off. They’re closed. And they’re sitting in their dark restaurants or bars, alone, worried about their staff, worried about the paperwork, worried about their expenses, worried about their inventory.
For some of these restaurant owners and managers, this is the first time they’ve ever stopped – for sometimes 15, 20, 30 years. And they’ve been forced to stop with very little warning, and now they’re struggling to figure out what their purpose is during this time while they’re waiting to re-open.
All of this is to say: check on your restaurant people right now.
Send them a message. Support local restaurants financially, if you can. Remember that a lot of corporate restaurants are still locally, family-owned franchises. Take a second to write a review for your favorite restaurant online. Have grace. Have patience. Remember that restaurants are doing the best they can in a situation they didn’t sign up for.
If you have a challenging situation with a restaurant right now, call the restaurant and talk to the owner or manager. Help them to learn and know what they can do better, instead of writing a negative review online. It doesn’t help. Just remember that these are real people dealing with a situation that’s unprecedented. Have some compassion and empathy for their situation.
Finally, if you’re a restaurant owner, manager, or hospitality professional: talk to your customers.
Check-in with them online. Share updates on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Post a video, post a picture, share your feelings, even if it’s just a quick, “Hi. Hello, I miss you.” The community wants to love you. They want to connect with you. They want an opportunity to reach out to you. Talk to them. And when you open your doors again — which will happen – the community will be so eager to come in and visit you and support you.
We’ll get through this.
Did you know?
We've been managing social media accounts for restaurants since 2012. For almost a decade, we've partnered with restauranteurs who are serious about using social media to generate business. Whether you're a good fit for our service or not, let's schedule a call and we'll give you free personalized advice on how to improve your social media presence. Either way, you'll walk away from the call more confident about your ability to promote yourself online - completely for free.