It’s been interesting to see how people and businesses are responding to the forced changes in their lives. Many people have found ways to adapt. Some have not.
The owner of a restaurant that Kathy & I frequent when we travel recently posted on Facebook something along the lines of “well, our food doesn’t translate too well to takeout, so we will remain closed for duration of the coronavirus situation.” So now he just spends time posting photos of his tattoos and sharing articles about how the government is going to have to step up and make loans to all these businesses that are affected by the shutdown. Meanwhile, two of his neighboring businesses – also very fine restaurants – are offering takeout meals and posting words of thanks to all of their friends that are responding positively to their efforts to provide takeout. When I read the stuff that the one guy posts, I think, “dude, you need to figure it out!”
On the flip side, I was inspired by a recent article about a Michelin-star chef in NYC who “created a menu that eschews complex, hard-to-deliver items like tuna tostada in favor of homey offerings like chicken — a food he never thought he would serve.” The article goes on to say that “he has also had to get used to seeing delivery drivers mishandle his carefully assembled dishes. And he has learned to package certain orders in foil containers so the dishes do not have to be removed from their delivery vessels to be heated in the oven.
“Before, we were a Michelin star restaurant where people would have a bunch of mezcals and hang out for a while and spend money,” Mr. Steele said. “Now we’re sending chips and salsa and soup to people.”
This is a guy who has figured it out.
I know that my criticism might seem a little unfair, because this is hard for everyone. But we see examples everywhere of people figuring it out. Locally, our local breakfast/lunch diner has setup a drive-up/pick-up service. They figured it out. Many other restaurants, including our favorite fine dining restaurant and favorite Italian restaurant, have set up online ordering so you can do “contactless pickup” of their dinners. They figured it out. A bartender at one of those restaurants has started preparing mason jars of pre-mixed cocktail ingredients to sell with their takeout orders. You just have to follow instructions and add your own booze. She has figured it out. Our favorite bartender, who just happens to enjoy concocting many of his own mixes, has come up with a line of bottled Old Fashioned mix that he is delivering – reasonably priced – to anyone who asks for it. I won’t be surprised to see him expand his offerings. He has figured it out.
No one is coming through this unscathed, and unfortunately a lot of businesses will not survive. By the time this is over though, we’re all going to need haircuts! Many of us will be looking forward to that first sit-down meal, wherever it might be. And we’re surely looking forward to planning and setting off on that first adventure, whether by land, air or sea! But in the mean time we all need to figure it out, in whatever way works for us.