There Is A Humanity In Everything

Posted: Mar 30, 2020

This commentary on Link’d In from one of my most respected colleagues and friends, Kevin Phenegar Food and Beverage Director of the Greenbrier in White Sulfur Springs, WV, led me to write an important list of headlines and actions on how the best in us is coming out due to our crisis.

My personal walk with the realities of the migrant farm worker, the warehouse worker and so many more in the wine industry is at the core of our corporate mission to realize that there is a humanity in everything. In my industry sometimes I was guilty of spending way too much time looking into the wine glass and not realizing the toll it placed on people to provide the hedonistic experience I would enjoy with my family, colleagues and friends. 

First here is Mr. Phenegar’s posting which should raise our awareness of our real priorities to a new level.

“In this time of un-certainty, we are all together with a common goal of doing what our passion has led us to. Be good to each other and support our hospitality community. Interesting to see who really walks the talk and those who leverage this opportunity to favor their agenda.

Company culture means a lot to some and not so much to attention and take note of those whose true driving force is profit and not people. Greed is unfortunately out there.

Families are too important to disregard and the Hospitality Associates that created the service legacy are too valuable not to take care of. Actions now will speak volumes in the future and drive the real culture of a company.”

Truer words were never spoken, Kevin. We must respect humanity rather than use it to further our enrichment.

Here are just a few examples of acts of kindness by people from our industry and other institutions during the pandemic.

• Ethanol plants using their distillation plants to produce hand sanitizers.

• Town restaurants are forming dining mini- consortiums to support each other in Westmont, Illinois.

• Restaurants are offering gift cards for consumers to purchase. The proceeds go to buy food for children who would otherwise go unfed.

• Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, Illinois is assembling boxes for people to pickup curbside. (900 served this past weekend).

• Yelp is adding a Go-Fund me button for struggling businesses.

• A Napa Winery Closed Its Tasting Room but Is Still Paying Its Staff.

• Major wine, spirit, and beer companies are keeping people on payrolls for months despite the fact the personnel can’t visit their customer’s premises.

• Digital services companies are deeply discounting services to increase sales and reach for your products.

• Some delivery companies are re-organizing fee structures.

• Chefs and wine people are conducting demos via the myriad of live and recorded fees.

• Governors are relaxing alcohol delivery standards.

• José Andrés feeds America during coronavirus pandemic.

• Churches are doing live feeds to your living room.

• Doctors are making house calls on-line.

• Restaurant consultants are conducting live feeds for free to help restaurateurs make better choices.

• Communities are implementing “Take out Bingo” to encourage equal support of restaurants.

• Grub hub suspends collecting 100 million in fees.

• Restaurants become mini supermarkets.

• Food retailers are providing early hours for the most vulnerable.

To Kevin, to our industry and to all industries, I say thank you for opening our eyes and keeping yours and our hearts focused on what really matters rather than on personal gain. To everyone reading this, please celebrate what matters. Please celebrate life itself.

By Luis Torres
March 29, 2020 (updated on March 31, 2020)

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