I enjoy going out to eat and feel good supporting local businesses. With many dine-in restaurants struggling per-COVID, others going out of business during COVID, and many just trying to make ends meet, I have empathy for restaurant owners. Cities have been sympathetic and are allowing restaurants to continue using street space for outside dining and I applaud that.

But restaurants are experiencing a whole other pandemic apart from COVID…not only can’t they find qualified help, they can’t find help at all. And we’ve all seen the results…poor service, smaller menus, longer waits and less than the quality of food w’re used to. In the last week alone, I visited three of my “regular” go-to places in Coronado, and in all three instances, management covered the cost of my entire meal because of these issues. Surely they can’t afford to be doing this. I’m not saying all restaurants are having these issues and I’ve been to several who are still on their game, but generally they’re being taxed to the point that one of my favorite places in Coronado is now closing on Tuesdays, during peak summer tourism season, to give their staff some time off.

For many tourists who visit our wonderful city, the restaurant issues may not be of concern to them. They’re just looking for a place to eat and in many instances, are one and done and then on to another place. But not for locals; we support these businesses all year long.

I’m not in the restaurant business, but I am a business owner in a “people” business and manage a relatively large staff. For what it’s worth, here are a few suggestions I have which may help alleviate some of these issues:

Make time while the restaurant is closed to train your staff properly in your operating procedures and what a good customer experience should look like.

Make sure the staff has a go-to person at all times who can make decisions.

Educate your staff on the details of all dishes on the menu, what the house specialties are and spend tie allowing the staff to sample each dish.

Continue to take reservations, but keep a certain amount of seating available for walk-ins.

Reduce the number of tables you serve. I know this won’t be a popular suggestion, but service will improve and most likely the tables will turn over quicker.

Thank you, restaurant workers for all you do. Hopefully all this craziness will soon be a distant memory in our rear view mirrors.

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