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WorkinCT: #BEKINDtoRestaurants aims to boost Connecticut restaurant industry

The social media campaign launched by Eat IN Connecticut looks to highlight the struggles the industry is facing and promote kindness from diners.

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — It’s some sense of normalcy in what has been a chaotic 19 months to see people back supporting their favorite restaurants, which have worked so hard to provide meals during the pandemic.

"There’s a quality and a care and concern that I appreciate, and it’s one of the reasons I frequent, other than the great food, I frequent them," Sherry Haller from West Hartford said.

While 2020 was a major challenge for restaurants with many closing their doors amid an unmatched pandemic, 2021 has proved to be challenging in other ways.

Adam Young, owner of Sift Bakeshop, said the industry was hopeful for the opportunity to bounce back economically, but it has run into obstacles with both labor shortages and skyrocketing ingredient costs with logistical issues that can cause ingredient shortages.

"I would like to say that 'hey business is great,' because it is, we’re doing a tremendous amount of revenue, but we’re not doing it to our fullest capacity," Young told FOX61.  "We’re unfortunately having to cut corners. We’re having to supplement. We’re having to have staff work unnecessary overtime."

Young said it’s not business as usual for anybody.

"It is very much a family, and everyone in my operation works exceptionally hard and performs above and beyond what I need them to do on a day-to-day basis," Young said. "And they also need the community’s support, and they need the guests support, because everyone is working under very unusual, very bizarre, not the most ideal conditions."

In order to get through this time, Young said it’s going to take a little more patience and understanding from everyone. 

That’s the message behind the social media campaign #BEKINDtoRestaurants launched by Eat IN Connecticut.

"We really want to simply make it aware in our general community about what’s going on, in hopes of it creating a more patient, understand and kind dining community," Kristen Fritz, founder of Eat IN Connecticut, said.

On the Eat IN Connecticut Instagram page, there is a behind the scenes look at restaurant industry in Connecticut, which details the hurdles restaurants and bars face, and how they want to come through it stronger than before.

"This is your opportunity to give back to a restaurant. Think about all those times they’ve supported you, now we need to support them," Jeannette Punsoni Dardenne, founder of Eat IN Connecticut, added.

The Eat IN Connecticut team encourages diners to share their own photos and dining experiences by using #BEKINDtoRestaurants on social media.

Amanda Raus is an anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at araus@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

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