The restaurant industry suffered mightily in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurant workers faced risks by simply showing up to work. In purely economic terms, 100,000 restaurants temporarily or permanently closed in the United States, and sales were down $240 billion from what was expected, according to the National Restaurant Association. Some 400,000 restaurant jobs were lost in December 2020 alone.
That’s the bad news. Let’s talk about some good news.
Restaurants across the country have been instrumental in getting food to those who need it most, from hospitality workers to families to first responders. These critical charity initiatives often make headlines, and for good reason. Yet when we asked restaurant owners and managers about the best things that happened to them over the past year, we heard about small, heartwarming moments that you’ll rarely read about or see on TV, but that are still