Hi to all readers; restaurant operators, food distributors, bartenders, chefs, and all purveyors of keeping people fed and watered, directly or indirectly, and last but not least, restaurant patrons and the foodies who keep our industry alive and well versed.

In light of this time of uncertainty, it’s important to focus our efforts on what we can do. It’s times like these that we see not only our people, but our entire community of Manitobans come together and unite in the face of adversity like this.

We’ve seen people on the Facebook offering supplies and goods they’ve purchased to anyone in need (toilet paper, anyone?), pitching in to do grocery runs to those who have quarantined themselves,  taking care of working parent’s children while school is out, people making efforts to support local businesses, and local businesses making efforts to support people on the frontline of this pandemic.

We’ve seen restaurant operators and chefs donate produce, perishables, even prepared meals and other goods to organizations like Main Street Project and Siloam Mission, and even competing restaurants come together to support each other during this time. It works from the ground up- these businesses, small and not so small, are run by real people. People who have had to shut their doors, lay off their beloved staff, whose kitchens may or may not be running on a skeleton crew to ensure they can at least offer delivery, many who have mandated in-house delivery to keep members of their team employed and their guests fed.

As a long-time restaurant employee, to see the doors close, even temporarily, was difficult. The people I wont- can’t– see, both my colleagues and the familiar faces I’ve grown accustomed to, this facet of mine and their social lives lost, was challenging to imagine even days before we knew something was looming. No, it’s not the absolute end of the world that many usual restaurant patrons will now have to figure out a way to make their favourite burger at home, or how to replicate their watering hole’s signature Caesar mix for a 5 pm beverage (breakfast?), but it’s the interactions we all have as patrons and as service staff, with each other and our teams, that will be greatly missed. The people behind the places you run, serve at, or frequent are the life-blood of this industry and each and every one of us is in this together.

With the efforts mentioned above, and the ones I see daily shared on social media, in the newspaper, and from our members, I have never been more proud or felt more connected to this industry, both as your member representative with the MRFA and as a restaurant employee. We will see each other when this ends and we return to our posts and our haunts, and maybe it won’t look exactly the same as it did before, but we will trudge on and make the very best of it, as our industry always has.  Through this blog, we will continue to share our thoughts and insights, as well as news and resources. Keep safe, do what you can for your coworkers, staff and community, and continue to practice social distancing to flatten that curve. We’ll get through this!