Why did we create this video tribute for the men and women of the restaurant industry and the entrepreneurs who risk it all? This is why.
Building a business is one of the most American things a person can do.
It’s also one of the most difficult. You’re chasing a dream while feeling your way around blind corners. You’re risking everything on the idea that you can do it better, make it better, leave it better. Whatever it is about running down this most American of dreams, it isn’t for everyone. More than 20% of new businesses fail inside a year. Just 30% will live to celebrate a 10-year anniversary. From there, the odds get slimmer still. Success is anything but guaranteed, and failure often brings financial ruin. The highs may be high, but the lows offer sober perspective for anyone who has the bug to start a business.
Competitors lurk on every corner, reaching out with abandon in an endless bid to steal occasions from their neighbors. Customers are greeted with a dizzying daily array of tempting options from restaurants large and small, and often for less money than they should cost. Making reasonable margins in the restaurant business is no easy feat.
This is the backdrop for the restauranteur’s dream.
The challenge is to create an offering that’s unique enough to draw attention, broad enough to pull a crowd, and fresh enough to keep people coming back week-after-week, month-after-month, and year-after-year. Delicious food is table stakes. Good service is expected. Tight operations are a given. It’s plain hard work to run a restaurant, and it’s even harder to find people to help you do the job. When the economy’s strong, turnover is notoriously high. When times are tight, employees stay a little longer, but customers come less often. Succeeding in the restaurant business, especially in the early going, can be like walking a tightrope. One false move, one bad break, and the hard ground starts coming at you fast.
It takes a special kind of entrepreneur to stare down odds like those and choose to go ahead just the same. It’s a choice fueled by passion, energized by a strong work ethic, and sustained with pure grit. Most of all, the restauranteur’s choice is a decision to serve others. They build their dreams on a promise to feed us day and night, and through thick and thin.
They’ve put themselves in harm’s way and have taken financial losses along the way. In fact, the restaurant industry has suffered the greatest sales and job losses of any industry. It’s been nothing short of devastating, with losses totaling $80 billion at the end of April. Still, restauranteurs keep fighting to serve their customers. They’ve made fast and dramatic shifts in operations, worked furiously to keep up with changing health and safety guidance, and fast-tracked technology and delivery systems to get food to our front doors. They’ve done it all with the hope that it will be enough to make the turn when our crisis finally fades.
Americans can’t wait to get back to their favorite restaurants when the coast is clear.
Going to a restaurant tops the charts across polls asking people what they most want to do after sheltering in place for weeks on end. Who can blame them? Our favorite restaurants serve so much more than food. They serve as vital members of our communities. They’re the places where we meet our friends, celebrate with family, and share our lives over a meal. They fill our neighborhoods with friendly places and familiar faces. Restaurants are places we go when we want a break from the routine, and everyone is ready for a break from this routine.
So, as restrictions start to lift and dining rooms are deemed safe, we will indeed go back. We’ll enjoy our favorite meals at our favorite restaurants with our friends and family. And we’ll enjoy a taste of normal with a hearty side of gratitude for all those who choose to serve.