Kindness and Patience as Restaurants on the Suncoast Attempt a New Normal
Close your eyes for a moment and think back to one year ago. Yep, that horrid time when we all had just started to learn what quarantining would look like. Restaurants closed, hotels shuttered, schools sent children home to learn virtually, and the pandemic raged across the globe. We bemoaned a time when things would get back to normal as the weeks, became months and then a new year turned over.
Cautious Optimism – New Normal
As the vaccine news started trickling in, and 2021 looked to be the year of hope we waited anxiously to start back to normal lives. Here in Florida, we have been granted a lot of freedoms to resume activities that in some places are still limited by government regulations. Unfortunately, we are hearing from numerous restaurants and other business owners that bemoan this change – not because of the business coming back but rude patrons driving them near to the brink.
Yes, you heard right. Now in a time when understanding should be prevailing restaurant after restaurant is telling tales of the rudest customers in their history. Customers berating staff, screaming at teenage hostesses, and literally acting the parts of small children due to extended wait times, or other grievances they perceived to single them out. We might have all forgotten the pandemic in our rush back to our routines, but the restaurants cannot.
Here are a few post-pandemic issues hurting restaurants:
- Vendors – not all vendors are back at 100% capacity and caught up on shipments. This makes restaurants in many cases short on items they normally would carry, not because they didn’t order something. Additionally, so many states are reopening causing additional shortages on both manufacturers but restaurant sides of the business. Shortages are not expected to miraculously end in the near future, so if you have a favorite something you wish to order maybe call ahead to ensure it is in stock.
- Staff – this is by far the hardest concern with restaurants right now. Even with ads out, interviewing everyone that walks through the door, several businesses in our community are reporting severe understaffing issues. From the loss of childcare, people still fearful of being in crowded spaces not applying, and unemployment benefits still in place – people aren’t applying to these jobs. If you know a hundred people looking for a restaurant job, please send them to Suncoast restaurants. Demand for services is in most Suncoast Restaurants is heavily outpacing supply.
- Open Tables – this is a result of number two above and social distancing rules. If you have two wait staff and a restaurant has forty tables, even if they seat you service will be so bad the staff will not be able to keep up. They are all doing the best they can, honestly in the most trying of times. Just because you see open seats this day does not mean you can get one immediately. Please especially in high peak times go prepared to wait or maybe wait for a different timing to ensure quicker seating.
- Hollering and unruly behavior – it is a privilege to be able to eat out once again, if you believe that screaming, hollering and general unruly behavior will somehow motivate stressed, overburdened, and already taxed employees at your favorite restaurant – it won’t. In fact, these behaviors are driving what little staff some of them have, back home again! Yes, service might not be what it once was, but they are trying. Restaurant staff is not doing this to irritate you, so before starting in on a tirade – maybe ask some questions to see if there is a valid reason behind the service, menu, or seating times.
Here is the plea from all in the service industries here on the beautiful Suncoast, and around the globe – please bring kindness and patience with you when coming out to your favorite establishments. These two ingredients will go a long way to ensuring everyone can enjoy these places. The staff will get to you as quick as possible; they will try to make the experience worth it after a tough pandemic and together we will work our way back to a new normal – it’s just going to take a little time.
Photo’s courtesy of Deposit Photos