Dear Loyal Guests,
It has been a while since my last personal letter I sent out back in March, when we were first forced to close our doors. So much has transpired since then that I want to take a moment to share some of my thoughts and provide you with a brief update.
As we transition into a new season, I’m overwhelmed with thankfulness. As difficult as the road has been for the restaurant industry, I’m still hopelessly optimistic. Our industry is still day to day, and it’s even been reported that 53% of operators across the country say they are unlikely to survive through 2021, but I choose to remain thankful.
Why? Because of our guests, our employees, and our communities. I’m thankful that we have our doors open — something every business that was shuttered never planned for, and any that remain are considered fortunate to have survived. I’m thankful we can service our communities — restaurants are 51% of the food supply chain that keeps our country fed, and I’m proud to be a small part of that. I’m thankful our employees have a place to work to provide for themselves and their families — unemployment hit record numbers during this crisis, but we never cut benefits for team members and have worked tirelessly to put a plan together so that we could all get back to work safely, efficiently, and at the level of service we all expect. And, quite frankly, I choose to be thankful because the alternative doesn’t motivate me to fight, lead, and stand up for what we believe is right — keeping restaurants safely open!
The truth is, nearly every business has suffered but the hospitality industry has been hit especially hard. Restaurants and bars were forced to completely close for nearly 3 months. Despite our importance in the economy, the food supply chain and the workforce, we were all mandated to close our doors, turn off the lights and – the most heartbreaking part – send our people home.
So, what does it look like now since we reopened in June? While we’re seeing signs of recovery, we are still heavily restricted. We’re in constant contact with state and national restaurant associations, diligently communicating with our government leaders, and watching the news daily to see if there’s a new mandate, restriction, or narrative about the safety of our industry. I’m personally still spending a significant amount of time on Governor DeWine’s Restaurant Advisory Group, and though I’ve been hard at work for months advocating for restrictions to be lifted, I’m thankful to have a seat at the table. I also feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to join the Ohio Restaurant Association’s Board of Directors. From day one, they have been my rock. I’m grateful for their tireless efforts and leadership shown to the 23,500 restaurants in Ohio, including Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment.
If you’ve made it this far, you might be asking, “Why on earth are you thankful again ?!”
I’m so very grateful because once again I experienced a wonderful truth in the midst of a dark time: our communities care. They care about us and our teams and our industry as a whole. Whether you are dining in our restaurants, ordering carry out, or buying gift cards, your loyalty to us and the entire industry has been shown time and time again. Every time I hear an order come through the POS (point of sale), or walk into our restaurants and see signs of life again, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I’m more confident than ever that restaurants hold a special place in all of our hearts – even during a pandemic – and that the community will truly do everything they can to support the industry.
I’m also incredibly thankful for every single one of our 500 employees that choose to work for us. They have been trained by the best to be the best and are more committed than ever to deliver an incomparable (and safe!) Jeff Ruby Experience. Doing this during a pandemic is a daunting task but we are taking every precaution to keep them and you as safe as possible. The intensity of this situation isn’t lost on me. I take it to heart that they are choosing to work not just for their own families, but for the Ruby family as well.
Lastly, as we gear up for winter months, many operators fear the worst as we are not out of the woods yet. I personally believe our communities and our guests will support our industry and keep it afloat. In my last communication, I spoke of opening champagne, blasting Sinatra over the loudspeakers, and celebrating life once the lockdowns and COVID-craziness ended. We’re closer to that day than we were 7 months ago and we’ve had the amazing honor of helping our guests celebrate life as often as possible. But, until this crisis has completely run its course, we will save a few bottles of the good stuff for the time when we can come to a consensus that the worst is behind us. To anyone whose livelihood has been profoundly and negatively impacted by the crisis and is still standing, know this: we have all made it this far and that’s a milestone worthy of celebration.
Through thick and thin, just like you, we don’t go down without a fight. In fact, we have no plans of going down at all! Once again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support. We will need it until we see this ordeal through to the end. For all the love you have shown us, we hope you feel it back tenfold from us whether you are joining us to celebrate life as a guest in our restaurants or are a fellow member of our communities. If there’s anything I have learned through this process it’s that all positive life events are worthy of celebration — and what better way to push back the darkness in strange times than to celebrate the light.
Britney Ruby Miller
On behalf of Jeff, Brandon, and Dillon Ruby