Last summer my friends and I met a restaurant owner from his local business. He greeted us warmly, and we started talking to him about how the pandemic has affected his business. Near the end of our visit, he said,
“I miss having long talks like this.”
It was clear that this conversation meant a lot to him.
Restaurant owners have been hit hard in all business areas – COVID-19 has made it nearly impossible for many small businesses to connect with their customers directly.
When asked what challenges his restaurant faced during the pandemic, the restaurant owner gave an unexpected answer. His business was fortunate enough to sustain its customers despite a whole year of restriction and lockdown. People would still visit and buy from his restaurant through curbside and online methods. The real struggle he faced was social isolation.
The main challenge this restaurant faced was the loss of workers. Despite having many online orders throughout the last year, it was challenging to maintain a consistent schedule. The lockdown measures kept changing, which made it very difficult to sustain long-time employees.
One of the biggest blessings for this restaurant owner was that it was a family business. His close-knit family unit was willing to work at short notice during difficult times. Running a restaurant was the owner’s dream, and we could tell that he was immensely proud of his accomplishments.
Stats Canada has reported that in 2020 “over two-fifths (42.9%) of restaurants and bars saw their revenue decline by 40% or more.” Also, more than half of restaurants say they cannot take on more debt and are close to bankruptcy. These numbers can cause a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety for small business owners.
However, things are not entirely hopeless for restaurant owners. Online sales have had exponential growth during the pandemic as many businesses are learning to maximize their digital presence. Additionally, COVID-19 has caused many restaurant owners to think outside the box. Being forced to social distance means restaurants must find creative, new ways to connect with their clientele.
When looking at our current times from a Christian perspective, we can see an eternal purpose to everything. While this past year has been chaotic and unpredictable, God remains constant. The Bible promises believers that “we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28, NLT). This does not mean that we will live easy lives free from stress. But it does give us hope towards an infinite reality where our worries, fears, and problems have faded away.