I look forward to Restaurant Week every year. As a regional sales representative for Saval Foodservice, it’s a chance for me to work with my clients and help them develop new ways to build their businesses, and more importantly, their communities. This year however, restaurant week feels like more- like a battle we are fighting together to help save our industry.
My customers include traditional pizzerias, high-end delis, Korean barbecues, an Armenian grill, a gastro brew pub, an acclaimed country inn, diners, bars, sandwich shops, seafood restaurants, crab shacks, gas station grills, taquerias, and steakhouses. Despite their inherent differences, these food service businesses share the same plight – a Pandemic that has devastated their business.
The food service industry shifted overnight from in-person smiles and social gatherings, to masked hand-offs. Off-premise delivery, carry out, social distancing and social media are now a prerequisite for survival. Those who have pivoted into the new norm have survived while few have thrived by finding new markets and partners to broaden their community of customers.
The key word in this situation is “community”. Restaurants exist within a community and expand their sphere as they grow. The tools that build and maintain those spheres take time, effort, and money to use. If you know anything about the way restaurants work, those commodities are never in surplus.
During this COVID-19 Pandemic, this Restaurant Week is particularly important to the businesses we serve. While our neighbors understand the importance of supporting local restaurants, our state is still fatigued by the difficulties of the last six months. Restaurant Week serves as a reminder to the community that says, “Hey, we’re still here. We still need your help.” It doesn’t hurt that “helping” a local restaurant involves a delicious meal and local hospitality. The state-wide Restaurant Week 2020 by The Restaurant Association of Maryland could help struggling Maryland Restaurants reach new customers without the expense or time that is usually associated with marketing on such a scale.
Please support your local restaurateur or sign your business up to participate- and enjoy the first ever Maryland Restaurant Week, involving restaurants from all over Maryland September 18-27th. Check out the list of participating restaurants at https://www.marylandrestaurantweek.com.
| Terry Mahoney has been in business to business sales since 1997 and has more than a decade experience in food service. He has been with Saval Foodservice for almost 5 years. |