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May 20, 2021

Business as usual isn’t going to cut it

The pandemic illuminated a majority of the long-standing issues in hospitality

Coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re seeing restaurants struggle to adjust to business as usual — because business as usual isn’t going to cut it any longer.

The pandemic isn’t to blame for this, precisely; rather, the pandemic illuminated a majority of the long-standing issues in hospitality. The labor shortage indicates that the standard pay and lack of benefits aren’t enough to lure workers, who now have options of working less stressful jobs for equal pay and more benefits at companies like Amazon.

The customer-is-always right mentality is under question as the stress of the pandemic brings out the worst in some customers, leaving restaurant employees afraid of the confrontations they’ll experience at their jobs.

Menus with myriad offerings are no longer sustainable, as chefs struggle to make a profit on food that keeps rising in price.

There are ways to solve these problems, and the simplest is this: as diners, we need to change the way we think of hospitality and the value of dining out. Hospitality should not bring the expectation that we are in charge and deferred to, rather, we are seeking out the guidance of an expert in their field.

Menu prices, too, will have to increase — and we will have to support this. For us to maintain the restaurant industry we love so much, we must come to understand that menu prices don’t reflect solely the food on the plate. They reflect the salary of each person who played a role in your meal making it to your table, the ability of the restaurant to provide them with health insurance and vacation time, the expertise of sommeliers and bartenders and chefs, the Spotify subscription that sets the mood, and the price of the chair that you sit in.

That dollar amount is intangible, but certainly more than adding up what the food on your plate would cost at the grocery store.

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