Ky. restaurant owners facing some of the hardest times they’ve seen during the pandemic

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 9:48 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - We used to see hours of operation, or daily specials, and now restaurants are plagued with signs of “now hiring,” and “apply online,” advertising despair rather than meals.

“For years, society’s been telling people in the restaurant industry to go get real jobs. It took a pandemic for people to discover there’s jobs out there, you don’t work weekends, you don’t work nights, you don’t work every major holiday,” Bourbon n’ Toulouse owner Kevin Heathcoat said.

And due to the pandemic, Heathcoat said people actually listened.

“It’s the fact that this is not the best industry in the world sometimes, and people have discovered that,” Heathcoat said.

While Heathcoat’s fortunate to not have too much of a hiring issue, the industry as a whole is not so lucky. Not only are restaurant owners losing employees, or not being able to hire, they’re now having to cross off menu options.

“When we order stuff, we don’t know what’s going to come off the truck that day. It’s roulette every day. We place an order for what we want, we don’t know what we’re going to get,” Heathcoat said.

A problem, once again stemming from staffing issues.

“All the way from production facilities, to no people to get them on the truck, to no drivers to drive the truck,” Heathcoat said.

Because of it, Heathcoat is asking for help.

Sixty-four percent of eligible restaurant owners who apply for federal aid through the Restaurant Revitalization Act did not get funding. Now, Heathcoat and other local restaurant owners are asking for more assistance.

“We support you with your birthday parties, your anniversaries. We mourn with you at your wakes, but it’s time right now that we have to ask for help,” Heathcoat said.

You can follow this link and email your representatives on behalf of local restaurant owners.

There is some good news for Heathcoat as his business is gearing up for it’s “Christmas and New Year’s.” Bourbon N’ Toulouse has some of its biggest sales of the year when Kentucky plays Florida and LSU. Both of those games are happening this Saturday and the next.

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