We're living in a different landscape than we were 18 months ago, and while everyone is quick to "return to normal," the likelihood things will be as they were just isn't reality. There's going to be a new normal, and in many ways, there should be.
When the Covid pandemic began, we know so many people in the foodservice industry who were laid off or furloughed. We also know of so many amazing foodservice operators, many of whom are close friends here in Virginia and Maryland, who did everything in their power to keep their doors open, not because they wanted to serve food so badly, but so they could keep their staff employed. We work in an amazing industry with amazing people, and that was never made more clear than in the last few years.
But what now?
People are rushing back into restaurants. There's pent-up demand and unmet expectations. We're taking revenge vacations to make up for lost time expecting things to be back to the ways they were, but of course, they're not. The world needs to catch up. We need to look at the world of foodservice and hospitality with empathy and try to understand what the challenges are, as well as how to resolve them moving forward.
As representatives of foodservice equipment, we're always happy to talk about the ways in which our solutions can help mitigate labor shortages, but that's not what we're talking about here. The point is we need to address a simple question. Why aren't people returning to the workforce?
Today is as good a time as any to reevaluate who we are as companies, as restaurants, and as people. If we're driven by values and purpose, we'll attract people who also believe in those same values and are driven by the same purposes.
We would like to make the most of this opportunity -- and help our customers -- to be the change we want to see in foodservice. Making pasta isn't just making pasta. It's creating an experience, as part of a team, that can help transform an hour or two for each guest into something memorable and fulfilling. And that is the ultimate goal of the hospitality industry.
If you create an environment where staff members can see this, too, there's going to be a better chance you'll have an amazing staff.