THE ROAD TO 100
– An open letter from our CEO, Ryan Moreno
This past Tuesday, September 8th, marked 100 days since the majority of our locations re-opened our doors and welcomed back our greatly missed guests. And while this is certainly a milestone I never expected to recognize, much less write about, our team and I will certainly be celebrating this one.
We’ve collectively seen a world where our freedom to travel pretty much anywhere on a moments notice ended in an instant. These days, the ability to visit family and friends and greet them with a customary hand shake or embrace is only recommended if absolutely necessary, and to do so is ‘at our own risk’. I can’t even count the amount of conversations I’ve had since March that have had the words ‘pivot’ and ‘new normal’ included in them. Yet I still can’t help but focus on the silver lining of what we’ve all experienced thus far and what still lies ahead. The amazing innovation and resilience of many of us in hospitality, and pretty much every industry, to adapt and change course. The beauty of exploring our own backyard here in BC – which is something my family and I can personally attest to enjoying over this past summer with the current travel limitations. While there are clearly still challenges ahead in the ongoing efforts to manage this pandemic, I strongly believe that these efforts by us all are necessary in order to bring us closer to the freedom we used to enjoy.
These past 100 days, which probably feel much longer to many of us, have been filled with a number of emotions – uncertainty, fear, relief, anxiety, frustration, joy, reconnection. But for me, the two that stand out the most are gratitude and pride. Pride in our team for being able to shift tremendously these past 6 months, and immeasurable gratitude from both Andre and I for their trust in us and our executive team to keep their health, safety and well-being at the forefront of all we do. Our reopening came with a robust new set of safety procedures and an entirely new service model that our teams learned, adopted and executed in a matter of days across all of our locations. In these past 100 days, despite the uncertainty that this pandemic has brought, our team has remained committed to delivering the best experiences to our guests, whether dining in, taking out, or ordering delivery and I am extremely grateful and ever so proud of how our team has come together, grown stronger and continued to work through this challenging time with care, innovation and resilience.
C’mon, we’ve asked our service teams who are some of the most friendly and out going individuals to cover those smiles with masks. We’ve asked our guests to kindly not approach or talk to other guests they see in our once vibrant social, community environments. And let’s not forget the obvious – having to take away as much as half of our revenue generating tables and chairs. So has it been challenging? Definitely! Worth it? Absolutely! We quickly pivoted (there’s that word again!) and remained committed and as hungry as ever (pardon the pun) to educate ourselves on how to continue to provide great spaces for friends and family to come together, safely and responsibly for the betterment of the communities we live in. And while another commonly used word these past months is ‘uncertainty’, I believe we’re starting to gain some. Certain that masks, proper hand washing/sanitization, social distancing, and just an overall more conscious approach to our day to day will be something that’s here to stay for some time. Safety for each other is just as important as the experience in our stores or the ingredients we put into every dish, so it’s also an absolute certainty that we will always strive to do what’s best for you, our communities and our team.
What could deserve more acknowledgment than you, our guests, our community. Nothing has been more meaningful, more valued, and more important than the support, understanding and genuine care that many of you have shown us. Our guests ARE our business, and this could not have been more evident 100 days ago when we re-opened our doors. We were unsure how many guests would be comfortable dining out in general. We were uncertain how many would choose to spend those very selective dining moments with us. But you showed up. Many of you, across all of our locations from Stanley Park all the way to Chilliwack – you showed up. You’ve given all of us at JRG some much needed encouragement, offered valuable advice and most all, supported all of us through this unusual time. For that, we are all truly grateful and want you all to know how immensely valuable you are and that we will never waiver in our pursuit to always deliver the very best and safest experiences possible. So from all of us to all of you, THANK YOU.
Although the tone of these sorts of conversations can tend to lean towards the negative, it’s the positivity and optimism that has carried us through. Excitement to see what innovation ours and many other industries will come up with next. Appreciation for the talented and dedicated health care professionals and first responders we’re so blessed to have among us, knowing so many places in the world go without. Thankful to be a part of so many of these amazing communities and for the people that make them what they are. Love for friends, families, our team, and our valued guests, that this pandemic has taught us never to take for granted. And above all, gratitude for it all, for all of you, for this life we’re all so lucky to have.
These past months have required more change in a short amount of time than most of us have ever seen at anytime throughout our careers. And while we don’t know what the next 100 days will bring, I do know that all the positive things that have come out of this pandemic have been solely due to amazing people doing amazing things. I’m thankful to be a part of it, I’m inspired by my team and my community everyday, and we’re more driven than ever to do our part.
Thank you again for being a valuable part of our journey, our past 100 days and hopefully many more moments in the future. Stay safe and take care of one another.