Dear Greater New Orleans Members,
As I work with many of you as clients and associates, or know you personally as a friend, we have labored and strategized through what I believe everyone thought would be a 60 to 90 day problem. Now, we know differently. This international pandemic will go down in history like many times we have lived through, such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. Events like these change our lives forever, but don’t have to take us down.
As a CPA, I work with, coach and consult businesses through challenges to grow and financially succeed. Through devastating times, and even to the point of bankruptcy or closure, I’ve been there with clients and friends. I’ve also been there when many have dug in and overcome the difficulties and succeeded, even in the face of financial troubles. My passion is to assist my clients prosper in every aspect of their business is the fuel that motivates me every day.
For the last 25 years practicing as a public accountant, there have been ups and downs and trying situations for myself and my clients. The last seven months though has made those look easy in comparison. On my CPA firm side, to think that 12 staff could work remotely and just four work in the office each day on a rotating schedule is crazy. We did it and did it well. The team showed, in spite of the adversity, their focus remained on our clients and counseling them during the pains of the shut down and accompanying financial distress.
I’m also a restaurateur. With my restaurant partner Scot Craig and general manager Jimmy Capella with Bienvenue on Hickory, the conversations were early on and often. We, like every restaurateur, had to make decisions about staff, operations and marketing to adapt to the COVID-19 world. Between us, we have over 70 years in the business, and among us said things like, “Well, I have never had to not serve customers in the dining room,” “Wearing masks to serve guests?” and “How can every restaurant be forced to close? Isn’t this the United States of America?”
The world was much different the last time there was a pandemic of this magnitude. At the time of the 1918 Pandemic referred to as the Spanish Flu, the average American ate roughly equivalent amounts of lard and chicken – 11.5 pounds and 14 pounds, respectively, per year. A century later, the ratio had thankfully widened and so had Americans’ livelihoods, lifestyles and ability to rely on a restaurant industry one million locations strong with a 15.3 million person workforce to support their mealtimes.
It’s a blessing that in current times, we have resources like technology, and whether good or bad, a 24-hour news cycle to gather information quickly to adapt earlier one. The Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) has been in league with major news outlets in my experience and strictly focused to help restaurateurs learn, adapt and now, begin to recover—albeit seemingly slow and hopefully steady. The value of the LRA has never been more important, relevant and clearly committed to each of its members and the industry at large than during this time. The LRA team remains plugged it at every level – federal, state and local—and all in service of you and me. Please take the time to schedule a consultation with a LRA staff member to learn more about the benefits you can be taking advantage of in your pursuit to be a greater operator.
Born and raised in South Louisiana and married to a “French Quarter girl,” I know that we are a resilient people. We’ve been dealt more consistent and consecutive blows to our state than most others. Often I share my feelings with sayings like, “Every day’s a holiday, we are living the dream,” and “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Those have never been so real than in the last seven months. With my faith in God and witnessing incremental improvements in our daily lives as we learn to live with COVID, I’m secure in my belief that there are better times and a brighter future ahead.
Patrick J Gros, CPA APAC
Bienvenue on Hickory
2020 LRA GNO Chapter President