“Help wanted.” We’ve all seen the signs. Our small businesses are desperate to fill their ranks. A restaurateur friend told me that his sales are up 25 percent but staffing is down 45 percent.
Can you imagine having 25 percent more business with half of your staff?
I also learned of a local doughnut shop that had to close at 9 a.m. for five days in a row because they ran out of doughnuts — there were no bakers available to produce enough fresh product to sell. This husband/wife team was up at 3 a.m. to prepare the doughnuts together but couldn’t generate enough revenue to justify opening their doors each morning. But, they did because they promised their loyal customers that they would be open every day.
While this is a common chorus I’m hearing from friends in the hospitality and service industries, this issue is affecting all segments of our local economies.
In the midst of these challenges, I did have a revelation. This past weekend, we visited a venue where the service was woefully poor. As the young lady, who delivered my incorrect order for the second time, asked for me to point out what I ordered on the menu (I asked for a glass of house Champagne and it was listed as “brut” on the list), I realized several things:
1. I’ve heard innumerable complaints about slow service, lack of staff, etc. Everyone is trying their best. Be patient. Understand that all our small businesses are trying their best to get their feet underneath them to become profitable again and stay in business. The challenges aren’t over.
2. Appreciate the people who are actually working. Be respectful and grateful for those who are showing up to work. And tell them how much you appreciate them and their efforts.
3. Be a good “partner” with your service providers. This young lady was nervous. She was new. And she had probably been given limited information to work the event. She simply didn’t know. So, we pulled out the menu and we talked through it together. Be kind. Be patient. And do your part to help these eager, dedicated people be successful.
So, the next time you complain about a long line or a wrong order, take a moment to catch your breath and realize we’re all in “recovery mode” after the past year. Support our small businesses and those who are working to pave the way.
All of us were once “new” at something — remember what it felt like to have someone lend you a helping hand. Simply reach out, offer a sincere smile and show some kindness.