A Love Story
In these tough times, now more than ever the world needs our hospitality. This uncertain and rapidly changing landscape has fear on the rise. We see panic and irrational behaviors emerging from our communities and neighbors. Making it all the more critical that this is our time to shine.
We didn’t join this industry because we were afraid, quite the opposite. To do it right; this is a very uncomfortable business. Continually growing and being pushed to learn new skills. Our business tides shift with the fads and we have to not only be adaptable but be brave enough to get ahead of these news trends.
This pandemic has been telling. While most have displayed strenth and stood-up and met this challenge head-on, doing what’s right for their staff and community, some have tried to capitalize, or have only been worried about only themselves. Making me question, why did you get into this business in the first place?
Every decision we make stems from a feeling of love or fear. I can’t answer this for everyone, but I know what the answer is for me, and my guess would be most of us are attracted by the same motivation. And I’ll give you a hint, it isn’t ego or money.
It was because we fell in love. We fell in love and got addicted to a feeling. At first, I fell in love with just being happy at my job and with the people that call this industry home. I fell in love with an honest day’s work and seeing the direct result of my actions. I valued the more personal and emotional connection to my compensation. And of course, especially back then, I fell in love with the cash. But not as a motivation to work but as a reward for a job well done; an appreciation for genuine attention and concern.
Then I found something even more rewarding. I fell in love with igniting genuine smiles on people’s faces. I fell in love with crayon drawings from our youngest guests expressing as much as they could in red, green, and blue that we are their favorite. I fell in love with providing a canvas in which memories will be made and last for decades. I fell in love with the people who considered us family and who needed us as much as we needed them. I fell in love with the impact I made on others.
It made me feel great seeing my guests’ faces light-up and this feeling became my reason. The reason we can work 12 or 14 hour days without complaining. The reason we can get screamed at by a guest and reply in the sweetest, kindest tone. The reason we can go weeks or months without a day away from our property. The reason when the oven breaks, you have multiple call-outs, and the pos goes down, we still hit our floor, cool as ice, never showing any sign of stress.
Because we understand how important and critical it is to remove worry and doubt; that our function, above food or beverage, or even service; is genuine hospitality. And part of that genuine hospitality is an unconditional desire to allow our guests to escape the woes outside our doors. That our mask of confidence and comfort is critical to the formula. That even more than critical, it’s our responsibility to our community, neighborhood, and industry.
When family’s and friends make memories, they don’t keep them there at our location, they take them to their wallpapers, to their social media, to their wall, to their refrigerators and their hearts. And those feelings of love and happiness aren’t kept in our business but released back into the wild of our cities and neighborhoods to continually be shared, and remembered.
And that is why, right now, more than ever before, our communities and neighborhoods need us! They need our comfort, they need to know it’s going to all be ok, they need us to break reality for a second and allow them to escape. They need us to be confident, even when we are not.
Whether you’re doing take-out, set-up a community store, or have had to close completely, that’s not the point. People don’t come to us for food and beverage, that’s not what we actually sell. We provide genuine happiness, hospitality, and a feeling of value. We provide an idea of an escape and distractions from the outside world. True, we have done this through food and spirits, but that was merely a conduit.
It’s you and your desire to make others happy that is the secret ingredient here. That feeling in you that made you chose this over an IRA, company-provided health insurance, set schedules, holidays, nights or weekends off, paid vacations, or any resemblance of a “normal” life. That desire in you to put making others feel happy above those guarantees and comforts. That is the secret ingredient of hospitality. It is your genuine desire to create smiles. It is you!
And remember, this isn’t about reaching some goal, but the pursuit. We aren’t going to just solve this one, not today. This will take time. We might not feel as strong as we display. But just acknowledging that and continuing on makes you stronger, one step at a time. And that strength is contagious, just like your smile.
There may not be a magic wand or government bailout for the service industry, but we have something more special; the hearts of the people. Our bailout will come in the form of an outcry of love and support from our community and neighbors; the same ones we support and show love to now.
That’s why now and in the days to come it’s so important to use our influence to steer our community and neighborhoods towards comfort and an idea that everything is and will be fine. This is where our training of “it’s not what happens but how we handle it” becomes so crucial.
Keep your head high, keep your smiles big. Be positive and project positive. Find as many conduits as you can. Together we will make it. Be strong and be you. We need that secret ingredient of your love.