A HUGE Thank You to Dorset’s food & drink sector.
The original article, written by Heather Brown, appeared first on Dorset Biz News on Thursday 27th Jan.
As we approach March 2022, 2 years on from when Covid changed the world, and in the recent wake of very high covid cases, I think its fair to say that hospitality have faced and overcome incredible challenges these past 2 years.
As I have mentioned in previous articles in Dorset Biz News, in many situations, it has been our local businesses that have kept going despite the challenges that have often overwhelmed the larger chains and supermarkets. Its our local shops who started home deliveries to those shielding, who worked together with neighbouring businesses to stay open and who continuously moved from being open to takeaway with barely a couple of days notice.
It is also our local pubs and restaurants who play host to some of life’s memorable moments – birthday celebrations, job interviews, engagements and hen/stag parties, funeral wakes, holidays, breakups and intimate first dates. Front of House staff welcome us in, bar staff create delicious cocktails and provide drinks for us to toast the occasion and Chefs delight us with their cooking, all helping to create those special moments with our loved ones.
January is often a very quiet time for restaurants and bars and these past two years have been especially so, with high levels of covid cases and many people choosing to stay at home. In these quieter times our chefs are often experimenting and exploring products and finding new producers to expand and plan their menus, front of house teams undergo training and many businesses close their doors to renovate or tidy up their premises. It may be quiet to the customer, but it often very much isn’t behind the scenes.
One year ago, I personally hand wrote Thank You postcards to over 400 Dorset based food and drink businesses, thanking them for all that they have done for their customers. I was blown away by how grateful people were to such a small, simple gesture of gratitude and I have many messages of thanks with people commenting how hard it had been and how uplifting it was to receive some praise and thanks.
This year I have written this open letter and I encourage you to take these words, tweak them and send them to your favourite establishment. To the business who has supported you or welcomed you, celebrated with you, cheered you up with some kindness, been open to serve you a takeaway with a smile when we were in lockdown in our homes, endured some of the darker days of the pandemic with.
Lets work together to thank those who have stayed open, worked incredibly hard and kept hosting those special moments in our lives. These words are obviously just a guide, feel free to use your own but lets reach out to our local favourite businesses and encourage them through these quiet moments at the start of this year.
I just wanted to reach out and say Thank You.
I can see how hard you and your team have worked to remain open, to work with reduced staff numbers, to continue to cook/make/produce new and delicious foods and to flex around restrictions, even with sometimes barely any notice.
Your restaurant is one of my favourite places, I love just the food here and the staff are always so friendly. I have had some amazing moments in your restaurant and I am looking forward to continuing to visit through 2022.
If you are reading this and you run, own or work for a food or drink business in Dorset then there are a few avenues of support available to you…
The Wonky Table is a hospitality network setup in March 2020 for anyone who works in or owns restaurants, pubs, clubs, bars or runs hospitality events in Dorset. It’s a place to help one another, access mentoring and triage people’s concerns during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. You can find more information here… https://www.thewonkytable.org/
Dorset Growth Hub has a wealth of resources, help, advice and possible grants for Dorset based Businesses – find out more here… https://www.dorsetgrowthhub.co.uk/grants
Dorset Council & BCP Council Omicron Support Grants – these are grants specifically to support the hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses. The deadline to apply is fast approaching do apply soon if you qualify. They can be accessed here https://www.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/News/News-Features/COVID-19/Employers-and-businesses/Financial-support-for-businesses/Omicron-Hospitality-and-Leisure-Grant.aspx and here https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/coronavirus-support-for-businesses/omicron-hospitality-and-leisure-grant
Dorset Foodie Feed can help you with a review of your restaurant or products and you can be added to our Directory of over 650 local businesses.
The Burnt Chef Project is available to anyone working in the hospitality industry who are struggling with mental health – you can access their free support 24/7 via their text support service. Just text BURNTCHEF to 85258 or you can find more information here… https://www.theburntchefproject.com/burntchefsupportservice
You can find more Foodie News stories here.