Updated: Apr 25, 2020
The month is now April, 2020. All dine in restaurants have closed and are only open for take-out and delivery. Social distancing is the new normal. The seriousness of what's going on in this world is hard to measure, but we have to stay diligent and keep ourselves and each-other safe.
In my opinion, this is going to severely damage (if not destroy) the unique, small-owned businesses that make up the GTA culinary scene.
What the government is offering to the hospitality industry isn't enough to keep the hundreds of thousands of employees above the poverty line that most already struggle with. Many of the owners I know and have spoken with fear the reality that a wage subsidy, or another loan, to an already-indebted business isn't the answer.
A scary thought is that we'll be even more over-run with cookie-cutter "big box" corporate restaurants run by some investor that only cares about numbers. Where is the passion?
And this is just the beginning of the wake of destruction (so to speak). When social distancing is eased, there will still be lots of fear and apprehension in how we open for business. We operate on hard margins and the forthcoming, gradual ramping-up of social spending will continue to take it's toll on us. It will be a very long, hard road.
These are hard times, I'll miss my favourite roti spot.
Alas, I don't believe it's all doom and gloom. Even after a forest fire, new growth brings life back to a torched forest.
New opportunities will be created for a younger generation of culinary minds, who might have wanted to take a leap but didn't, for what ever reason. It might be a wake up call for some to re-evaluate and change, create or reinvent something to find that "next level" of their business. Myself included.
Food is a shared essential experience for all humans on so many different levels. It defines our past and our present. Out of the dark, must come the light. We can't only focus on the problem, and not see the opportunities to do better in the future.
I'm looking into the future now and can't wait to get back to cooking for you, and everyone else! COVID-19 is surely going to change the way we live and eat, but it's not the end.