By now it’s no secret that the industries taking the most visible hit due to the Coronavirus pandemic are the Entertainment and Hospitality industries. As the need for social distancing becomes more a mandate and less of a request (where the government has prohibited public congregation for groups larger than 10) restaurants have been forced to close off all dine-in service and only offer curbside pick up and delivery options.
Thankfully we have companies like foodDROP and Market Movers offering digital solutions to help restaurants and entrepreneurs deliver their products to consumers.
However closed dining rooms still means that FOH (front of house) staff will have to perform back of house duties to maintain job security as restaurants try to deal with a situation that is becoming more challenging on a daily basis. In the US and other countries around the globe, the situation is rather grim for all restaurant staff as there are numerous reported cases of restaurants closing their doors.
Fortunately here in Trinidad & Tobago we still have options available to us to mitigate the effects of the impact of Covid-19 but we must be aware of and plan for what may come.
Over the years, working with restaurants and chefs as well as featuring content that highlighted graduates from the Trinidad & Tobago Hospitality & Tourism Institute (TTHTI) allowed me the opportunity to form relationships with many culinary professionals. Getting a behind the scenes look at what they do and being privy to the amount of hard work they put in to keep the industry alive compels me to use our platform to speak on the current situation and bring some much needed attention to it.
At this stage in the game we need brilliant minds and creative thinkers (of which I am neither on this topic) to come up with solutions to help people with job security for as long as the current state of contagion in the country will allow.
In the US the restaurant industry is calling for a bailout to help with the imminent fallout from social distancing while some restaurants have found creative ways to supply food to “niche markets”. Initiatives like the Covid Clinician Meal Support Program provide support to health workers.
Here in Trinidad & Tobago the government implemented a host of Social Support Measures for Covid-19 which includes: “Food Support to families with children registered to receive meals under the School Feeding Programme and do not have a Food Card”. Initiatives like this highlight opportunities to employ the services of restaurants to provide support to our health workers and protective services but it also creates an opportunity for the government to provide meals to the most vulnerable in our society.
Restaurant owners as well as staff should be getting involved in these social programs. In addition to taking care of the less fortunate, these programs can be a great initiative to support hospitality workers with taxpayer dollars while still adding value to the people on the frontline who are dealing with public health and safety amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.
While we may not have “the solution” to the challenges being faced by our restaurant workers I thought it was important to use the platform not only to raise awareness but also to spark a conversation between industry professionals.
In this time of social distancing it’s easy to fall into a pattern of thinking that we need to operate in silos but this is far from the reality. While we may have to distance ourselves physically, the internet and digital space can and should be used to bring us together to find ways to help each other.
We have to take a proactive approach and also keep our eyes and ears open to some of the different solutions that are being deployed around the world to deal with the impact of the pandemic. I urge all my colleagues in the hospitality industry as well as any of our brilliant minds in finance and economics to come together and discuss the options available to keep the industry alive and vibrant in the face of the growing challenges. If you have any suggestions or you are able and willing to offer assistance in this regard please leave a comment below, let people know how to get in contact with you.