Monday, February 9, 2015

Rant: Dining Out Despite The Snow

I'm sick of all this snow! By the end of today, we''ll probably have gotten another foot of snow during the last few days. Today will probably be another day of no travel, of staying home and shoveling snow, creating even greater mounds of snow. I feel like my house is surrounded by vast walls of snow. There's been too many days like this during the last several weeks. It's been difficult to drive, to peer past the huge snow mounds, and parking's been an obstacle as well. Walking has also been tough, meaning that many people have just remained home rather than venture out.

Many businesses have had to  close for at least a few days due to the significant snowfalls, and I suspect many will close today due to the snow. January and February can be slow months for businesses, and it has been even slower than usual due to all this damn snow. These businesses have suffered financially, and will continue to do so as long as we keep having these large snow events. One of the hardest hit sectors has been the restaurant industry.

When a restaurant has to close for a snow day, they lose money and it's not easy to make up for that loss. Even if they don't close, they probably won't have many customers as it will be tough for people to get to the restaurant. For days after the snow event, many potential customers will prefer to remain home than battling with limited parking and snow covered roads and walkways. Thus, restaurants continue to lose money for days after a snowstorm. This will put stress on even the best of restaurants, so something needs to be done to help them.

My advice is simple: Dine out more.

Despite the snow, despite the obstacles, people need to patronize more restaurants at this time, giving them your support and money. Don't go out if it is dangerous to do so, but don't stay in just because it is only inconvenient. If you can, walk to nearby restaurants. If possible, drive a short distance to other restaurants. Take public transportation if possible. Order takeout or get delivery. In New England, we are used to snow so it shouldn't be as much of a barrier as it might be elsewhere. Today, as we get maybe 6 inches of snow or more, you probably won't be able to go out, but tomorrow is another day, and you have a better chance of being able to travel.

If you don't give some added support to restaurants at this time, then don't be surprised if your favorite places have to shut down. For many restaurants, especially the smaller ones, their profit margins can be small so that the lack of business during these snowy months can be devastating. And there is little they can do if people stay away because of the snow. You need to patronize these restaurants now, to assist them in weathering these problems.

Consider all the restaurant workers as well, including the servers who rely on tips. Without sufficient business, they won't be able to earn as much money, causing them to endure financial hardship. You can help them by dining out, and tipping properly. And if you order delivery during these snow events, I'd suggest you tip them extra, to compensate them for the difficult of driving in this weather.

Dine out more. Give restaurants your support during these difficult times. Don't let snow lock you into your house for days on end.

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