As most of you are probably aware, 3 days ago, on March 15, 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that all bars and restaurants in Ohio would be required to close in an effort to stop the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Shortly after, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear followed suit and made the same announcement. Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced that restaurants (public facilities where the sale of food comprises more than 50% of revenue) limit their regular maximum seating to under 50% of capacity and capped at no more than 100 individuals. There is no current frame of reference for how long this will last, but we trust our officials and respect the decisions being made.
Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment has fine dining steakhouses in each of these markets. The economic impact on these restaurants and, consequently, our team has been devastating. I’m hurting for all of us – our community, our industry, and our world. This isn’t just about the restaurant business. This has affected all of us, from school children suddenly at home out of routine – many who depend on school for meals – to Presidents and CEOs forced to make impossible decisions for their organizations. In times of darkness and confusion, we can often get consumed with all of the “what if’s” or focus on worst case scenarios, troubling news, statistics, financial stress, anxiety, sadness, and pain about the current state of affairs.
As a 37-year-old president of a family-owned business, mother of four, and a daughter, I find myself needing to push all of that aside and focus on what really matters: my faith, my family, my company and my community. I have a duty to my company to stay laser-focused to ensure we are here 5 months from now, 5 years from now, and for the next 50 years. The recent pandemic has challenged CEOs, business people and leaders of all ages like never before. But as chaotic as times are right now, I’m forcing myself to look at this as an opportunity. An opportunity to still be a light in a dark world, and to ensure resilience overpowers all fear and hopelessness. And, as sad as my family is, we are as united as we’ve ever been.
My colleagues and family have had to make some extremely tough decisions lately. These decisions will radically impact many people we love and care about. That has been the hardest part. Hearing our founder, my father say “this is the saddest moment of his career” was heartbreaking. But they have been necessary to ensure that there is a viable organization to which they can return once we are past this unfathomable situation. The only immediately obvious silver lining is that this is temporary. There will be a day, hopefully soon, that we can re-open our doors, blare Frank Sinatra over the house system, fire up that 1400 degree broiler, uncork some finely-aged wine, pop the best champagne in the house, and welcome our employees and guests back so we can all Celebrate Life together once again.
A very special THANK YOU to those who have supported us recently by purchasing gift cards. Even walking through this valley, this gesture has been a tremendous help of course financially, but also emotionally. At Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment, we strive every day from our corporate office, to front of house to back of house to make what we call emotional connections with our guests. Now the tables have turned and our guests are making emotional connections with us! We feel the love and can’t wait to welcome you back to reciprocate the gesture and help you Celebrate Life.
We will get through this. We will continue to be pioneers and innovators and emerge stronger on the other side. We will be fighting tirelessly with other restaurant leaders and The Ohio Restaurant Association to advocate and lobby on a state and federal level to ensure that resources be made immediately available to help an industry that has been decimated by the effects of the pandemic. Our team is strong, we are resilient, and we are up to this challenge.
Each day that passes we are one day closer to a new season of our life. In the meantime, let’s all try to stay healthy, positive, full of love, kindness and compassion because, truly, “this too shall pass.”
Britney Ruby Miller
President, Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment
(On behalf of Jeff, Brandon, and Dillon Ruby)