NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — If you are heading out for a meal today, don’t forget to leave a nice tip. Today is National Waitstaff Day, but another important day for restaurants is coming up, too.
Connecticut’s senior senator is visiting restaurants today, not only appreciating the waitstaff, but giving their employers some advice about how to get federal help to pay that waitstaff.
It is a busy day at The Bagelry in New Haven, but when the pandemic started, it was very different. Owner Craig Hutchinson had been running a fancy restaurant called Olmo.
“We moved away from a dining-in model to a to-go model with bagels as the focus,” Hutchinson explained.
They started baking about 80 bagels a day. Tomorrow, they are scheduled to bake 2,000. That increase let Hutchinson re-hire most of his staff.
“The folks who have been working hard for this whole year, reporting for duty, making it possible for this great business to survive,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) after a tour of the Bagelry.
Recognizing that hard work and dedication is what National Waitstaff Day is all about. Another important day is coming up, however. For all the restaurants that struggled in the pandemic, this Monday is the deadline to apply for the latest round of federal help.
“The restaurants ought to apply and take advantage of this pandemic relief program, the restaurant revitalization program, because it will enable these small businesses to survive and thrive,” Blumenthal said.
It is part of the American Rescue Program, which has already handed out billions of dollars in help to restaurants and caterers. Hutchinson plans to apply again before Monday. He’s already taken advantage of some of that federal money.
“And we’ve reinvested it into our team in infrastructure and also in our wages,” Hutchinson said. “We’ve made sure that staff members walk away with a better paycheck.”
Even though billions have already been set aside to help restaurants, Blumenthal says he is going to keep fighting for more restaurant aid in the future.