Needless to say, 2020 will be a year that we will always remember. This worldwide pandemic has changed every aspect of how we interact as human beings. COVID 19 has taken a tremendous toll on the hospitality industry. Like many other restaurants and inns, we've had to change and adapt so rapidly. Our team has been tremendous during this time. Everything from customer interactions, to food preparation, to kitchen setup and sanitation protocol -- it's all changed.
For a time we debated whether it was best to close our doors entirely or to attempt to alter the way we do business. Upon getting news of the official shutdown date on 3/16/20, many restaurants quickly rejected their food delivery orders and shut their doors. We opted to take a leap, and see what the world of to-go and delivery would bring. With that said, the last couple of weeks have been quite the challenge and this Easter especially marked a very different milestone for us as a restaurant.
A typical Easter Sunday at The Brewster Inn would have been an event to behold. We would have filled all reservations weeks ago for our all day sit-down dinner. Food preparation would have begun weeks prior as we anticipated the volume of people joining us that day. The doors would have opened at 12:00 noon to a lobby filled with family and friends embracing each other and catching up on their lives.
We have always marked Easter as our kick off to "the season". It signifies a change of pace in Central New York, as we gain momentum in anticipation of a busy summer. It builds excitement for the big events to come in the following weeks -- college & high school graduations along with Mother's Day and more! Not this year.
Pressed white shirts and crisp dress pants were replaced by jeans and hoodies as we all assembled for service. Typically everyone who was available to work would be in attendance, but instead we ran with a skeleton crew of kitchen and service staff. Boxes of masks, gloves, and gallons of hand sanitizer replaced the typical cheery decor of fresh cut flowers and Easter baskets in the lobby.
But as the cars rolled through the parking lot, we remembered why we do what we do - our people! In any business that has been around for almost 40 years, our customers are truly like family to us. We were organized and ready to go. Despite a few hiccups in weeks prior, we had tweaked our system to allow us to process food orders more efficiently while keeping sanitation at the highest level. To all our loyal customers, we thank you for being patient with us during this time.
Generous gratuities on to-go and delivery orders are keeping our team busy and mentally positive. As the orders come in, we are grateful to be able to find purpose and push forward. It may look a bit different lately, but we are honored to be an essential business and give back to the community by offering them a place for reasonably priced family meals and grocery store items delivered directly to their vehicle.
Business has been good and our community has been kind and supportive. Each day we receive emails and letters of encouragement. Customers leaving comments on social media telling us about how we have become part of their traditions. It warms our hearts to know that generations of families have chosen to celebrate their important events both big and small with us. There is no greater privilege as a restaurant than to become a part of people's lives in that way.
As we enter our second month of operation under these restrictions we want to thank the community for their continued support - it means more than you probably know.