Hospitality employees continue to be one of the hardest hit populations during the global Covid-19 pandemic. Millions of restaurant and hotel employees were let go instantly in March at the beginning of the US outbreak. Since then, they have been caught in a push me, pull me scenario between collecting unemployment from the safety of home, or going back out on the front lines as essential employees, often without much choice in the matter.
Are hospitality workers “essential?” The Carnival Corporation cites a lack of staffing due to Covid as part of the problem that left them vulnerable to a ransomware attack. Many state and local governments have pushed hard to reopen restaurants due to their importance to the economy. Yet, hospitality employees aren’t broadly respected as essential workers in the same way that healthcare and even grocery store workers have been.
In this week’s hospitality news roundup you can hear a first-hand account about what it feels like to be an essential restaurant worker today. You can also learn about the Carnival security breach, see why 18,000 MGM employees have been laid off, and read other relevant headlines about what’s happening in our beloved industry.
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- US Foods Launches Ghost Kitchens Program [The Spoon]
US Foods Ghost Kitchens service will provide guidance and resources to help restaurant operators open their own virtual (delivery only) kitchens. The service helps restaurants keep making and serving food without the overhead of full-service restaurants.
- MGM Resorts Lays off 18,000 Previously Furloughed Employees [CNBC]
18,000 US MGM employees who were previously furloughed in the Spring have been laid off. The company previously had 70,000 US workers but the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has kept major casino properties closed in New York and Las Vegas.
- Carnival Corp. Reveals Ransomware Attack [Hospitality Technology]
A ransomware attack accessed and encrypted a portion of the personal data of guests and employees of one brand within the Carnival Corporation. The company is working with cybersecurity firms to respond to the threat and conduct remediation.
- Chicago Outdoor Dining Challenge to Help Restaurants Survive Winter [Restaurant Dive]
Chicago is holding a Winter Design Challenge in an effort to crowdsource solutions to help restaurants stay open during the winter months. The contest is open for submissions until Sept 7th and winners in 3 categories will be announced mid-month.
- New York City Approves Extension of Third-Party Delivery Cap Amid 1,200 Permanent Restaurant Closures [Nation’s Restaurant News]
New York City Council agreed to extend the cap on delivery commissions that was set to expire mid-September, despite GrubHub’s effort to eliminate it. The provision will remain in place until 90 days after restaurants are able to reopen indoor dining 100%.
- HT-NEXT Debuts a Simulated Hotel Environment to Bring Technology Solutions to Life in an All-Virtual Format [Hospitality Technology]
HT-NEXT, an industry-leading hospitality technology conference in December will be 100% virtual this year. Attendees will enter a virtual hotel, explore the lobby, a guest room, restaurant, and the back office, all while experiencing new technology solutions.
- Tech Tracker: Uber Eats to Launch First Ever Advertising Listing for Restaurants [Nation’s Restaurant News]
Restaurants using the Uber Eats service can now reach new customers by having their restaurant featured in a sponsored listing at the top of the app. Restaurants can try the new ad listing at no additional cost during a trial period.
- KitchenAid Profiles Women’s Struggles, Triumphs in Restaurant Industry with Hulu Documentary [Marketing Dive]
Three up-and-coming chefs changing the restaurant industry from within take the spotlight in this short film sponsored by KitchenAid. The film is directed by Academy Award-winning director Rayka Zehtabchi and explores the history of women in the restaurant industry.
- How the UK Restarted Its Restaurant Industry: Paying Half the Bill [The New York Times]
In a move to reinvigorate the economy, the British government funded a 50% discount on meals eaten in restaurants Monday through Wednesday in August. The discount covered up to $13 dollars per person, costing roughly $4.5 million of the economic recovery fund.
- I Work in Restaurants and I’ve Never Felt So Disrespected [Grub Street]
One employee bemoans the treatment of restaurant workers who are deemed “essential” but get no respect. Rude customers often disregard safety protocols, demand special treatment, and don’t tip when asked to comply with health codes.