By Fritz Nelson, editor-in-chief
Restaurant owners are among the hundreds of business leaders Grow Wire editors talk with regularly. We’ve got to eat too, right? And, because restaurants were among the first retail businesses to shut down because of COVID-19, we talked with many of them first.
Their pain was palpable. In some cases, we felt resignation. The data doesn’t lie, and experts painted a gloomy outlook. We heard about layoffs and closures, but we also heard about small restaurants changing business models, offering takeout when they hadn’t before, creating family meals at family prices, clawing with every claw to hang on and ride it out.
But we also heard stories of hope, and those of us who eat supported the endless efforts to keep that fire of hope burning. Entire communities stepped up. Restaurants whose own businesses were on the line somehow managed to feed the elderly and frontline medical providers.
It sounded like ... a classic story of struggle and strife and failure slowly quenched by tapas-sized helpings of life. That story’s ending has yet to be written, but we wanted to tell it in a a format that’s different from the one we’ve delivered before.
This is the story of the restaurant industry during its mass shutdown, in podcast form, through the words of the protagonists themselves. It’ll rip your heart out at times. But we’re pretty sure a happy ending will come some day soon.
Tony Mangieri, owner, Una Pizza Napoletana, New York City
Karim Megji, owner, Wood & Water and The Gallery, Los Angeles
Brian Schofield, owner, Wicked Cheesy, Massachusetts
Sarah Grover, CMO, Veggie Grill, Los Angeles
Chris Keating, Group President for Restaurant, Media and Events, Winsight LLC., New York City
Host: Yours Truly
Producer: Kendall Fisher