While restaurant jobs are slowly returning, a National Restaurant Association survey shows that industry growth in September was still sluggish, leaving many still struggling to hire staff. And with those staffing shortages, it's more difficult for the employees who are at work. In response, the group Eat In Connecticut has started a new #BEKINDtoRestaurants campaign, reminding people to just be kind to restaurants.
NBC Connecticut's Dan Corcoran sat down with Kristen Fritz of Eat In Connecticut to talk about that reminder that we cold all use.
Dan: "Thanks so much for joining us tonight. Tell us why you started this campaign."
Fritz: "Thank you so much for having us. Well, we started the campaign because we were seeing through social media feeds and from hearing about our friends in the industry, that there is a lot of people who are frustrated, and don't exactly understand what's going on behind the scenes right now in the restaurant industry, from lack of staffing, to lack of food supply, and shipping issues. There's a lot of the unknowns right now to people and into the general community that we're hoping to shine awareness on the issues so that people in turn will have a more have a greater understanding and more patience, and to simply be kind when you dine."
Dan: "So let's talk about that a bit more about what we can do. When we go out to eat to try to make lives a little bit easier for those restaurant workers, what can we do?"
Fritz: "I would say to be patient, and to understand that other restaurant might have five empty tables, they may not have staffing right now to serve all the five tables, so your waits might be a little bit longer. We still encourage to do takeout, make your reservations when you can. And again, just smile because there's a lot going on behind the scenes that people may or may not know about and our restaurants. They need our help. They definitely need the support right now."
Dan: "Some events coming up right now. The Hartford Marathon is this weekend. There are going to be a lot of people here this weekend. Could those big events drawing a lot of people that actually make the situation when it comes to staffing a bit worse?"
Fritz: "You know, I don't think it's going to make it any worse. It is what it is right now. And we just are spreading the message to be patient to be kind, make your reservations continue to support your restaurants, continue to get takeout. And together if we can all do this as a community. In the long run, it's going to better everybody."
Dan: "Let's talk big picture here. Are you seeing a shift in the service industry, people leaving the business and not coming back maybe post-pandemic?"
Fritz: "Everybody in the hospitality industry who has stuck around through this that they can then does it because they love it, simply, and they want to bring it people together. And what better way to bring people together and to enjoy each other is through food and through a good experience? And so everyone right now in the industry is trying so hard to bring those good experiences to everybody."