In it Together: OpenTable’s weekly webinar series to create community and share advice with restaurateurs

In the face of enormous challenges, a sense of community brings the restaurant industry together. There’s never been a better time for hospitality leaders to come together and share their advice far and wide with other restaurateurs. That’s the goal of OpenTable’s new weekly webinar series, In it Together, hosted by our very own COO Andrea Johnston. 

The In it Together series is a platform to lift the voices of Will Guidara, Anthony Rudolf, Renee Erickson, Bill Chait, and many more industry vets we’re honored to host. Anyone interested can register for free for the webinars on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. PDT. The recordings will be accessible after the webinars here. Our first live webinar on April 15, “Hospitality First,” covered a range of COVID-19 advice from Guidara and Rudolf. Read on for a few of the best takeaways, and see the schedule for upcoming webinars below:

  • Wednesday, April 22: The COVID Pivot with Bill Chait & Renee Erickson
  • Wednesday, April 29: Redefining Your P&L with Dan Simons & Brad Mendelson
  • Wednesday, May 6: Taking Care of the Industry with Edward Lee & Jessica Koslow 
  • Wednesday, May 13: Industry Advocacy with Clare Reichenbach & Chef Kwame Onwuachi

Use this time to reflect and strategize as much as you can

Restaurant life is fast-paced to say the least. Guidara recommended planning during this unusual time with more stillness. He said, “So much of what we do is reactive, and those one or two strategic planning days of the year are the brief moments when we can pause to think, dream, and plan. Now, in this terrible time in what will hopefully be a once-in-a-lifetime thing, we actually have an opportunity to spend however long actually thinking about what we want to be, not just trying to keep up with who we already are. Let’s give ourselves the grace to plan, dream, and strategize. If this is the only opportunity that we’ll ever have to do that in such a deep way, what a terrible thing it would be to waste.”

Rudolf added, “Even if it’s 20 minutes a day, write down all the things you didn’t like about the last day or week of your service. When you reopen, don’t do those; you don’t have to. Challenge all of those things. The location of a table. The things that just felt way too much to deal with—deal with them all. So that when you reopen you are fully in love with the job and the business. The world’s going to need us to be in love with what we’re doing.”

Take care of yourself

While this is easier said than done in the face of financial, mental, and physical hardship, both Guidara and Rudolf emphasized the importance of taking care of yourself. Rudolf advised, “The health of your business when you reopen is going to be based on the health of yourself. I’ve never had therapy before [this], but my big takeaway is I’m a big control freak and I need to let it go. Whatever you’re holding on to so tightly right now, let it go. The world is going to need us healthier than they are going to need us stressed and worried.”

Trust your gut in the absence of a playbook

Turn your entrepreneurial instincts into overdrive, and don’t worry about finding the “perfect” answer for everything. Guidara said, “Operating in the absence of a playbook is a struggle. We’re used to rules that help guide decisions and now we’re all out in the woods. My dad has said, ‘Whatever the case is, just ask yourself what right looks like and do that.’ There’s a need for people to trust their guts right now more than ever before because there’s not one right answer to any of the questions that are being posed.”

Register for future In it Together webinars, and visit our preparedness resource center for additional COVID-19 information.

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