The Importance of Local Restaurants

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Article Contributed by
Faith Gibbons

Where do you celebrate a special anniversary with a long-term lover, or bring a new date to impress? Where do you go when your kids are hungry but you’ve had too long of a day and don’t feel like cooking? Where do you meet your friends if the bar scene isn’t for you? Beyond the obvious purpose of restaurants to provide food and drink to others, restaurants have historically fulfilled the basic human need for connection.

For as long as they have existed, restaurants have been a crucial part of society. Whether reconnecting with friends, setting time aside with a loved one, or celebrating a happy occasion, restaurants have always been vessels for congregation and communication. “It’s important that we give people great food and places to gather. That’s my favorite part of being in this industry, along with the people I work with,” said Manager Sam Lisciandro at The Pub in downtown Jamestown.

Restaurants have also played an essential role in the business aspect of a flourishing society. Restaurants occupy an increasingly important space in shaping not only local, but overall economy, as well as the character and makeup of our cities.

It is important to recognize and acknowledge that the owners make attending favorite restaurants possible. They are people who are chasing their dreams and supporting their families in the process of giving diners an enjoyable meeting place.

However, one chooses to look at it, it’s impossible not to come to the conclusion that restaurants do far more than simply serving food on a plate.

The Hardships of Business

One change Restaurants cannot avoid is the steep wage increase in New York State from $13.50p/h to $15p/h heading towards $15p/h. The increase in labor costs forces the pull back on shifts, reduction in staff members, and price raises for their items or services, inevitably pushing some places out of business.

National and state-wide economic factors impact local restaurants. One Jamestown restaurant owner, discussing new regulations concerning minimum wage, said, “I think it [the pay rate] is crazy. It’s not easy to do business in New York State. I fully believe that’s one of the reasons why some restaurant owners have difficulty maintaining their business here.”

Fortunately, Jamestown has been home to many highly successful restaurants serving local diners profitably for years, and some for many decades and even generations. Most of them are locally family-owned and operated, or hire local residents to manage them. They have learned how to navigate economic changes and respond with creativity and personal service. Local merchants and residents often know the local business dynamics best.

When government listens to community-based businesses, a sound and stable economic environment for everyone will bring success.

How to Support the Restaurants You Love (and Why It Matters)

Though the local economy has seen the departure of some businesses, the circumstances which have caused this do not take away from what remains successful locally, and the possibility of growth, provision, and prosperity moving toward the future.

In a city like Jamestown, restaurateurs work hard to create a sense of community by establishing safe gathering places for people to go, relax, and break bread together, enjoying outstanding cuisine of many kinds. They represent the heart and soul of many local cities, towns, villages, and neighborhoods.

Advertising remains the powerhouse of local business success. In addition, once people find out about a new restaurant, or the great fare in the more well-established favorites, personal endorsements from delighted customers become very helpful. Sharing of personal, positive dining experiences then encourages friends and neighbors to visit the restaurants they’ve already seen advertised for themselves.

Becoming an advocate for the locally owned and operated restaurants you love will create a huge, helpful impact. Restaurants are working hard to contribute so much more than just delicious, carefully-prepared food for those who visit. It’s up to their customers to let it be known just how important they are to them, as well as to their entire community.