Over the past few weeks, restaurants and other hospitality-sector providers drastically shifted their business models. From serving restaurants filled with people to now only being able to offer take-out and delivery, businesses are losing revenue, or aren’t even able to operate at all.
Peter Jacobi wanted to do something to help with this.
Jacobi, a veteran restaurant manager, combined his vast experience and his desire to help his community to start the Buffalo Hospitality Coalition last week, which held its first open forum meeting. During this meeting, representatives from 40 local restaurants and other hospitality businesses called in to discuss issues hospitality workers are facing and responses to those issues, to create solidarity and advocacy in the community.
Jacobi has managed restaurants all over N.Y. state for many years – he was previously the director at Oliver’s Restaurant, assistant general manager at Patina Restaurant Group, and most recently – general manager at Blackman Homestead Farm. With the knowledge he’s gained, he built many relationships and is able to reach out to people and help hospitality workers advocate for themselves, and wanted to share this knowledge with others.
“I’m trying to do everything I can,” Jacobi said. “This is a very complex issue and it’s affecting a lot of people in a lot of different ways. I’m just trying to, in this day and age of infinite information everywhere, distill some things that are useful for people.”
I’m just trying to, in this day and age of infinite information everywhere, distill some things that are useful for people.
The group discussed federal action being taken, including how the stimulus package will affect them, filing for unemployment benefits and business interruption insurance, SBA loan forgiveness, and even how to communicate with landlords during this tumultuous time.
Jacobi realizes that having landlords adds complexity to this issue, since landlords aren’t always able to receive unemployment benefits, and with businesses being closed, they’re unable to pay. Within the group, he encouraged people to negotiate with their landlords, instead of ignoring them.
Jacobi continuously posts resources on the newly-created Buffalo Hospitality Coalition Facebook page and shares knowledge on many facets of current industry issues, while also providing resources to help local restaurants be ready to open again, if they’re able to, when the situation allows.
“I feel like the Buffalo food community was really doing some amazing things right before this happened and hitting their strides, and it was beautiful to see. I just don’t want this [pandemic] to extinguish that.
For more information check out about the Buffalo Hospitality Coalition and how you can be a part –
Lead image: Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis