Three months ago, when I began my term as Chairman of the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association, I knew full well as did everyone reading this message, that we would continue to battle the challenges that began last spring. We knew that the novelty and the evolution of the pandemic would present new and different tests, perhaps even ones that we had not yet considered. So far, it seems as if we were correct in anticipating these new difficulties. But we also knew that by continually referring to the big picture as our anchor for purpose and meaning, remaining optimistic and persevering, we would not define ourselves, nor our industry, based solely on our tribulations.
So, we set our course and looked beyond the horizon with the same optimism that drove many of us into this business in the first place. And here we are today, still navigating difficulties to be sure, but with a much brighter outlook than this same time one year ago. As our industry has been operating at either an idled or severely reduced capacity for 14 months, and as this time has passed, we’ve found ourselves re-writing the script almost each and every day, and we are now on the doorstep of a better tomorrow… here comes the sun.
We did not begin this trial with a playbook for how to react in this situation, but we have adapted and endured. With every meeting, discussion, text and email, it is clear to me that that among the many accomplishments that have been attained, we’ve done one very important thing; we’ve kept our hospitality DNA intact. In doing so, we can be confident that as we lift ourselves out of this incredible situation, we know we still have all of the building blocks we started with before the pandemic, we are not starting over, we are ready and able to get right back to business using all of the resources we’ve always had!
Despite the fact that all of this rapid change has created anxiety and uncertainty, both in our personal and business lives, we can still find the silver linings to focus upon and carry ourselves forward. We have found ourselves navigating these difficulties together, as never before. We have leaned on each other, helped each other, our employees, and our communities; we have displayed the true spirit of hospitality in so many ways. As we’ve locked arms to help one another in all the ways we can, our industry now feels much smaller and a lot more connected. And for that, we can be thankful.
We can also be thankful that we have an incredibly hard-working team at the MRLA offices in Lansing that have accomplished so much for all of us, despite dealing with the most restrictive governmental oversight placed upon a single industry in the entire country. From Lansing to Washington DC, the MRLA has successfully lobbied for financial aid and small business support with a tireless effort. From our website to webinars, to important and updated information, the MRLA has accomplished more in a single year that might have been accomplished in five or more years prior to the pandemic.
With each passing day, the MRLA continues to advocate on our behalf and lead our industry as new and emerging developments occur. To stay on top of these developments, don’t forget to bookmark and frequently check the MRLA website for updates on the Restaurant Revitalization Plan, and the all-important proposals for our industry related to the American Rescue Plan, as well as a number of additional updates located under the NEWS tab on the website.
Lastly, as the approaching summer weather brings more sunshine into our lives, and as our restaurants, hotels, and our banquet and conference centers progress towards a full return to normalcy, we will continue to stand together and welcome that sweet summer sun, perhaps more than we ever have before. Along with the sunshine, I wish you all of the success you deserve. Above all, I hope everyone reading this, along with your families, friends and associates remain healthy and safe.
Epoch Hospitality Group