Help Our Restaurants
by Brian Coll
Between mid March and now, I have eaten at or ordered from just about every restaurant in the community. At least once. I personally plan on doing it again to finish up 2020 and start 2021. I understand this isn’t something everyone can do. In my rounds if you will, for months now, when I speak to owners or managers of the restaurants in our community. Every single one of them, and I mean all of them, no matter what they are going through, has asked, what do You need. They aren’t really asking me what I need, they are asking what the community needs, what the Colonial Neighborhood Council needs, what some families in need may need at this time. This didn’t just start, and it hasn’t stopped even as restaurants are facing a new set of restrictions.
My heart breaks for everyone in the restaurant industry.
I want to stay positive in this quick article, and I would appreciate it if the comments stayed positive as well.
Having said that…. let’s show as much love to our small business community and in particular our restaurants. Both in person by ordering from the small places that make up our community and showing them some love on line. If you order from a place you love, tell others about it. You can always post on your own Facebook or Instagram page, Twitter, whatever you do, maybe tell some friends. On the other hand, if you have a meal or a not great time with the service, maybe reach out to the place personally. Each place is going through another new set of rules on how business has to be done. They are all trying, I know they are, you know they are.
Gift giving time… maybe a gift card, maybe dropping off something from one of these places. For instance, if someone showed up with their favorite dessert from a restaurant at Coll’s Custom Framing, we aren’t going to turn it down!
If you’re like me and my family, the holiday meal is looking completely different this year. We are most likely ordering from one of our favorite restaurants. If you see your favorite place offering take home holiday meals, go ahead and post it, they would appreciate it more than you realize. I bet they would really love it if you ordered something.
Can we talk take out vs. delivery for a second… if you can, go pick up from your favorite places. This is for a couple of reasons, one is you might get to see your favorite server/bartender/hostess bringing you your food out to your car. Maybe you get to chat a minute. Also, some delivery services take a hefty percentage of the take out order from the restaurant just trying to get by. Don’t get me wrong, I love delivery. I really like it from the restaurants or pizza places themselves but I have found myself using the services that are out there. Also, in some cases the restaurants actual menu versus what the delivery service has listed many be different. Tip everyone. The server who hands it to you, generally splits it up with fellow workers. The delivery driver needs the cash just as bad.
While, I wanted to keep this light and airy, it occurred to me that a few of our local places have closed. Some temporary (we hope) others may be permanent. In America, at least 17% of all restaurants have closed. 17%, which in Conshohocken terms would be like losing 6 restaurants, hundreds of local jobs. That 17% is only going to continue to rise. Let’s hope it doesn’t hit too close to home.
Let’s talk money for a second… the average fast food worker in our area receives around $9.00 an hour, the average bartender/server receives $2.13 an hour. Both places, the people work their butts off, the fast food worker is getting paid the same rate from the minute they walk in the door to work in the morning to the minute they go home and they are expected to work the entire time. The server/bartender at a restaurant, is working the entire time they are there as well, however, the peak times are when the tip money is coming in. So, if you order from your favorite place and you go to pick up at 6:00 and see a few other people tipping and you think to yourself, looks like they are doing okay, do I really need to tip them… that answer is yes. You didn’t see them cutting lemons at 2:00, or bringing tables outside at 3:00 or sweeping the sidewalk at 4:00.. so please, please tip them. There is a lot they do waiting for the chance to actual serve customers, while they are working their butts off for that $2.13 an hour.
I’ve been in this community a long time now… I’ve seen most of our restaurants names on the back of 5K run shirts, little league baseball, sponsoring a hole at a golf outing, donating food to beef and beers and so much more. Please support the places that have been so good to our community over the years.
One more thing to consider…lunch. I know we are all so focused on dinner…. but the lunch crowds have left the Conshohockens. With so many people working from home. The offices that line both sides of the river just aren’t full. There are no catered corporate lunches or events right now. Theres no lunch hour at the office buildings. As someone who has spent a fair amount of time on Fayette Street over the years, I’m just not seeing the same crowds walking to their favorite lunch spaces. There are some very affordable lunch options at your favorite places.