The beginning of 2020 held a lot of excitement for Central Kitchen + Bar: coming off our 5th and most successful year in business and a game-changing expansion, the future looked very bright. Two months later, on March 17th, we shut our doors, laid off all 40 of our partners, took a crippling financial loss and were left questioning what the future would hold for our business and our industry.
In one week, COVID-19 decimated the restaurant industry. It was immediately apparent that the preservation of the health and well-being of our community was reliant on isolation and social distancing. For all of those who love local restaurants, I am sure you would agree that the appealing nature of dining out is to increase social exposure and thus, remove yourself from isolation. The unprecedented nature of this pandemic resulted in mixed messages from the media and vague instruction from government. When could we return to work and what would a “new normal” look like?
Days turned to weeks and weeks to months before we were able to deem it safe to return for our TAKEOUT program on May 20th. To say that we were overwhelmed by all of our amazing regulars coming back and supporting our new operation would be a grave understatement. Each smiling face and “air hug” was a reminder of why we love doing what we do and an overall validation that restaurants, like Central, are necessary for our community. The outlook for the future of the industry is grim but we remain optimistic as we continue follow our three “C’s” that will bring light at the end of this, once-in-a-generation, tunnel.
Our people have been, are, and will always be, the most important contributing factor to our success. The whole is no greater than the sum of its parts and we have the best parts in the game. Transparency, communication and trust will continue to foster a strong culture within our four walls here at Central.
The overwhelming support from all of our regulars within the community has been the motivating force for us to persevere through this difficult situation. Through online support, phone calls, text messages and emails, all of our regulars have shown their love and we couldn’t be more appreciative. We love serving this community and we will continue to strive and exceed your expectations day in and day out.
In a time where isolation has become a necessity, innovating creative solutions to gather has been a new and welcomed challenge. We are committed to work towards our goal in becoming the best valued restaurant in our city. While we work within the industry, we are also avid diners. Supporting local business has never been so important than it is right now. If you love the creative efforts and the unique offerings that local businesses provide, it is imperative that we support these local businesses moving forward. Small businesses are the ones suffering the most and we all must stand behind them if we wish to continually grow the diversity within the food and beverage industry in Kelowna.