In Defense of Closing
The restaurant business can be a brutal one.
The hours are long, the pace relentless, and competition is fierce. Worst of all, thanks to Yelp, every single patron believes themselves the next J. Gold (RIP). Putting heart and soul into every glass, onto every plate, and around every customer experience is a massive commitment for any team. When the wear and tear become too much, you lose good people, or, worst of all for business, guests for who the stress of the staff becomes tangible and infects the atmosphere like the fog of a horror film.
There may be no greater workload for restaurant staff than the holidays. Private parties, to possibly having to work through Christmas and New Year’s Eve and missing time with loved ones, as well as, god forbid, the remnants of ugly sweater parties, and more. The point is that people in the hospitality industry, generally speaking, get their butt’s kicked during the tail end of each year. This is why I have the utmost respect for owners, and ownership groups that close their place of business to start the new year, and give their staff time to exhale, and recover.
It isn’t common practice yet, but there are a handful of establishments that lock the doors for the first few days of the new year. So, while you are busy trying to remember how to use gym equipment and swearing off alcohol for a month, their staff can relax, travel, and recharge the batteries we all unintentionally worked so hard to deplete during the end of the year. Craft House in Dana Point is a prime local example, as the restaurant closes its doors to start the new year, and gives the staff some well deserved days off. It isn’t just a local trend either. In San Fransisco, one of my favorite bars in the country, Trick Dog Bar, also locks up shop to kick off the new year.
In a landscape so cutthroat as the restaurant and bar industries, anytime a space could be generating revenue, it should be. This then is a big move to shut down for a few days. It goes against common business practices, but, it is a great step forward in the community and overall morale and health of employees. There is a wash of changes making their ways through kitchens and bars these days, but this is one of my personal favorites and one I hope more will adopt in the new year.