Laid Off in the Food Service
Facing Unemployment and Uncertainty in the Coronavirus Era
8 am Wednesday morning I got a phone call from my employer telling me I did not have a job anymore. I can’t say it wasn’t expected; sales to the restaurant industry were tanking as restaurants were shutting down across America. I hung up reeling from newfound uncertainty and anxiety about the future. It felt like a gut punch. I walked into my wife’s office and from my expression, she immediately knew some of our worst fears had been realized.
This same scene is being played out across America in thousands of kitchens, dining rooms, fish purveyors, meat purveyors, specialty food vendors, fishermen, foragers, people who work in winery tasting rooms, and wine tour operators. People across the entire strata of the hospitality business are feeling the same stinging bite.
On Wednesday, the National Restaurant Association announced that it estimates the restaurant industry’s sales will decline by $225 billion during the next three months with between five to seven million jobs lost. The full economic tsunami will be far greater. Every dollar spent in a restaurant generates two dollars in the economy. The total impact will be hard to calculate but first, we must go through the worst.
Before you shed any tears for me, know that I am resilient. Worse things have befallen many others and they survived. I have two freezers full of luxury food I stockpiled while I worked for a specialty food company. Coq au vin made with blue foot chickens and roast Iberico pork loin will be eaten long before I must resort to unlabeled cans in the back of my cupboard.
I started wondering about all the people that do not know how to cook that relied on restaurants to provide them with their daily food. This is a great time to learn a new skill. Cooking is relaxing and takes your mind off all the news. It’s great to involve your whole family in the cooking.
So many cook friends are sharing their culture's cuisine online. Travel to other countries via your imagination and food. The upside (if there is an upside) to all this has been that my family gets to eat lunch together every single day.
Have fun with entire family by planning a French Staycation. Take a virtual tour of France, watch French movies, dress up, uncork a bottle of wine (or two) and cook a typical French lunch. It is a perfect time to learn how to make a creme brulee or make your first Duck a l’Orange. If you need help planning a French meal consult my new cookbook “French Cooking for Beginners” which is available on Amazon for pre-order. Or Get My Booklet of 12 Free French Recipes.