The service industry is about adapting

COVID-19 has changed the world for everyone, but it’s all in how we react and adapt

Submitted

This is going to be the most challenging year most of us have had with running our businesses. Less seats, no tourists, no catering, no buses, COVID-19 and the list goes on. Running a restaurant in Clearwater is already a huge challenge. With the industry dependent on seasonal visitors in Clearwater, most of us are in the red by the time we get through winter into the next tourist season.

Now we have essentially skipped the tourist season altogether for 2020 and I’m quite certain the industry will take at least a few years to recover.

Thank God for the pipeline workers.

We have already noticed a huge difference with the workers that are already here in town. Staff is already very hard to get in Clearwater, add CERB to that, as well as Trans Mountain hiring, and your already small work force pool is down to basically nothing.

It’s fantastic that Trans Mountain is hiring locals and paying so well, but there is no way any of us in the service industry can compete with the wages they will be offering.

I’m not blaming Trans Mountain for the lack of staff. Like I said, staff are already hard to find in Clearwater and a cook is next to impossible to find in a good year.

Now every restaurant in town, and the camp, will be looking for staff at the same time. Despite this, we are in the process of restructuring the Gateway Grill. Some changes include taking away handheld menus and providing blackboard ones at the doors and seven-day, rotating specials to keep it simple, while providing three to four menu items per night to ensure everyone’s favourites are still offered.

Of course, we still cater, and COVID-friendly, too. But there has been very little demand for that with the virus on the rampage. Unfortunately, with restrictions slowly being lifted there has not been enough demand for delivery, so we’ve had to cut it. If we enter another lock down, though, deliveries will come back.

Despite being short-staffed, the staff we do have have been like family. They, along with the Clearwater community, have been a huge part in why the Gateway Grill has been able to stay open and pivot during these unprecedented times.

This restructure is not a long-term goal but a means to survive Trans Mountain and COVID-19. It’s always about adapting in this business.

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