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COVID Crisis & The Hospitality Community

Episode 34 : COVID Crisis & The Hospitality Community Response pt. 1 : David Helbraun, Lee Jacobs, Jill Tyler, Matt Accarrino, Hugh Acheson, Brittany Anderson & Chris Shepherd
March 18, 2020
Listen to the Full Episode here.


David Helbraun & Lee Jacobs

1. Get Loud.

To help you get the insurance coverage you need, get loud! Write to your local politicians and then work your way up.

2. Get it in Writing. 

If you are making a plan with your landlord about what to do during this interim get it in writing, this will help to protect you and your business. 

3. Honest and Open Conversation. 

When it comes to speaking with people during this time whom you owe money to, open and honest communication is key, and ask for permission as opposed to forgiveness later. And again written documentation that is covered over by your lawyer is recommended. 

4. How to Help your Employees.

During this time if necessary advise your employees to file for unemployment, they can go online or use the 1800 number.   

5. Think outside the box.

Some ways restaurants are supporting their employees during this time is by setting up a Go Fund Me or taking the profits they are making from delivery and giving it to their employees.

6. Be ready.

In case someone comes to the rescue have your broker or agent have the carrier on notice and a claim ready to file. 

Jill Tyler - Tail Up Goat

1. #shutusdown. 

What these restaurants really need is to be shut down by the government so they can get the help that they need from insurance. So to get their attention spread the word using the #shutusdown.

2. Hibernate.

For Jill and her businesses she found that it was best to put their restaurants into hibernation, by letting go of everyone, stop taking a salary and focus on paying the fixed costs like rent, utilities, loans and insurance. 

3. How to handle this hard conversation with your employees.

Be really open with your employees and communicate with them. Julia felt it best to have their meeting in person and they instead of trying to sell the remains of their food they prepared it for their employees. Giving them prepared meals and groceries to take with them. 

4. Helping your employees. 

During the interim Julia is keeping in touch with her team. She's letting them know who to reach out to, either that being through email or social media. In addition also informing them of which local government officials have the power to pass legislation. 

Chris Shepherd - Underbelly Hospitality and Southern Smoke

1. Southern Smoke.

Chris Shepherd is the founder of Southern Smoke. Southern Smoke is a 501c3 foundation created to raise funds for charitable purposes principally for support and assistance for those in the food and beverage community and their suppliers. Southern Smoke is not only for people in the Houston, Texas area and now more than ever is a great place to donate.

Matt Accarrino and Hugh Acheson

1. Stay Local.

Go to your local restaurants that you want to be around when this is all said and done, help support them during these tough times in whatever ways they are trying to do business. 

2. Talk to each other. 

When dealing with your landlords Matt reminded us to not forget that they are people too, and to have a conversation with them to figure this out because in the end you both need one another.

3. To Go.

A lot of restaurants have transitioned to doing just To Go food, and there are different ways to approach this. For instance Matt will be delivering his food on his bike, whereas Hugh has set up a To Go window with markers outside so people stand far enough apart. 

4.One Voice.

This affects all types of restaurants, so now is the time to come together to create one voice. In San Francisco for instance they are in the works of getting weekly meetings together. The benefits of this singular voice being that when it comes time to do things like approach the government you can tell them what is necessary for the group, not just the individual. 

5. Seek Advice from others.

Look to your peers in the restaurant industry during this time, they are a great resource to help discover what is and is not working. 

Brittany Anderson

1.Band together.

In Richmond Brittany is a part of a group they started called Richmond Restaurants United, and something on their agenda is what they call the social distancing wage. A wage for their furloughed employees, because they believe that these people stayed home to keep our communities safer and they should be rewarded for that, not punished. In addition they are also going to ask for an elimination of the payroll tax, and loan and rent abatement. They are even going to film a public service announcement.

2. Supporting your Staff.

For Brittany the way they are trying to support their staff is dividing their tips and what they are getting through venmo evenly to their staff amongst their restaurants. In addition they are keeping in touch through slack and they are in the works to create a website that will help support the unemployed in their community with resources for things like places they can stay or help with mental health.

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