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Restaurant operators share stories from the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic and social-justice movements

Firsthand dispatches underscore the challenges and the opportunities in the industry

When the coronavirus pandemic paused the nation’s economy last March, independent restaurants were profoundly impacted. But even amid the frustration and fear, many operators embraced community and an opportunity to innovate and reset.

Last May, wanting to shine a light on our communities’ stories, we reached out to hear your dispatches from the front lines. In June, we expanded our definition of “front lines” to include the front lines social-justice movement as restaurants rethought how to create a more equitable workplace.

We shared them at the time and as they continued to come in, and now have compiled them here.

Chefs and restaurateurs walked us through how they approached decisions with no right answers, and state and local guidelines still in flux. Some overhauled their business models to keep the doors open. Others decided to temporarily close entirely. Many were forced to cut staff and then rebuild. And operational practices must now include extensive safety protocols to protect both staff and guests.

These stories show the courage, resiliency and generosity of those in the industry.

If you have a story you'd like to share, please e-mail Holly at [email protected].

TAGS: Chefs Owners
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