This year has presented tremendous hurdles for our industry. I know each of you may be struggling to regain traction through shutdowns, COVID-19 phases, and hurricane preparation and recovery. It has not been easy work. Late nights on backlogged websites, securing facilities, juggling PPP loan usage, rightsizing your organization, and learning to smile with your eyes are a few new skills we have added to our repertoire. I know for me, this has been a year of career growth, as I have faced these challenges head on and learned from them.
Our industry is perhaps the most resilient in the world. Hospitality has the power to overcome any obstacle and inspire communities to engage and evolve despite the situation. We may be operating at 75% occupancy, but resources are bountiful. I encourage you to lean on your partners and associations. If you’re able, lend a helping hand. Hospitality extends far beyond than that of what we extend to our customers. Many local organizations are eagerly seeking volunteers. What better way to show support and engage than to volunteer? Coordinate with local restaurants in your market to ensure your restaurant is keeping up. Saturated markets tend to compete for the same customer base, so now may be a great time to alter your concept to capture more traffic.
Our industry must adhere to the guidelines presented by our elected officials. We all know that social distancing and PPP can be a burden; however, it is the only means by which we can operate at this time. Take this opportunity to revisit important safety information provided by ServSafe, the LRA and the National Restaurant Association. Guest safety in your facility should paramount.
At the end of the day, know that you are not alone in these challenges. This virus knows no exceptions. Louisiana is a state that is known for hospitality and cuisine. I am convinced this industry will overcome. As industry leaders, it is up to us to set the tone, do the work, and rebound with a smile!