By Lindenberg Junior
Many of us are looking forward to the resumption of the economy and quick solutions to this health and economic crisis around the world, but here I mention in particular, in the U.S, where most of our readers live and work. Many of us make plans at which restaurant or bar we will go to when this is all over. While some restaurants found temporary solutions during the crisis with the help of pick up and delivery services, others were not so lucky, including those that work more like bars than restaurants.
According to the U.S National Restaurant Association, 10% of the U.S workforce are in the restaurant business. Nearly 6 in 10 adults have worked in the restaurant (or bar) industry at some point during their lives. These make this community huge. I personally have worked for 13 years in this business before I decided to launch Soul Brasil magazine in 2002.
Restaurants employ more women managers and more minority managers than any other industry. Eight in 10 restaurant owners say their first job in the restaurant industry was in an entry-level job. And there are a whole lot of people out there who understand just how tough this industry can be.
I have a passion for this industry because besides I have spent part of my life inside a restaurant, I have friends and family that work in this niche, have built a great relationship with different owners and manager, and most importantly, I love to cook, I love to eat, I love to dine out, and we have been supported from some of these owners for years!
It’s very sad to read and hear that 60 percent of the jobs lost in March 2020 at the beginning of the crisis were restaurant employees and that 5 to 7 million hospitality service workers will lose their jobs still this year of 2020 as the National Restaurant Association predicts. Just 14 percent of restaurant employees across the country receive health insurance benefits from their employers, meaning many rely on publicly funded resources for health care according to the Economic Policy Institute.
Prior to the crisis, 16.7 percent of restaurant workers in the U.S live below the official poverty line, and 43% live below twice the poverty line, the measure commonly used by researchers as a measure of what it takes for a family to make ends meet – Economic Policy Institute, 2014. There are (or was) almost 15 million workers in the restaurant industry in the United States and one in six lives in poverty, which means nearly 2.45 million people are working in the restaurant industry and living in poverty (prior to the crisis).
1 in 5 Restaurant workers recently worked while seriously sick according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and reported in 2014. In other words, one in five food service workers has reported working at least once in the previous year while sick with vomiting or diarrhea. In this Covid-19 era they are also (those that now still work in restaurants) considered in the “elevated risk” groups just behind health care and first responders workgroups.
They are people who deserve all our admiration and respect. With this article, we would like to be supportive of all these people, owners, and employees of restaurants. And we would like to leave some sources that can, in one way or another, help this community. HERE in the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation, you can find direct links regarding many issues such as Relief Funds for Restaurant Workers, Financial Assistance, Healthcare, Unemployment Information, and inclusive Immigrant-Specific Concerns and Resources.