Restaurateur’s Guide to Summer Vacation 2020

You’ve just finished the weirdest July 4 of your life.

In a normal year, all you would have had to deal with was Independence Day falling on a Saturday – something that wreaks havoc with your sales even in a good year.

But on top of that, you have a crescendo of COVID-19 cases being identified in many parts of the country and a recently more cautious guest.

Smart restaurateurs in those areas are preparing their back up plan for a possible dining room shut down.

Plus, we suddenly have no context for the holiday.

The Norman Rockwell-like parade in my neighborhood? Canceled.

Watching Wimbledon (one of my traditional July 4 pastimes)? Canceled.

Most fireworks? Canceled.

This weekend, the appropriate strategy involved grilling hot dogs, then tossing them to someone six feet away from you – as long as they count amongst your immediate family and live in the same house you do. 

You Still Need a Vacation

With all the COVID-19 catastrophe going on am I crazy to be writing to you about getting a break?


Every year around this time I write one of my customary blog posts supporting the benefits of a summer vacation.

Why? Because going away balances your life and catapults things forward when you come back.

With everything going on right now, you may think there’s no way you should go on vacation.

Successful restaurateurs I know will skip their summer vacation this year, or cut way back because they don’t feel comfortable being away from their restaurant company at a time of volatility when things change from one daily news cycle to the next.

The truth, though? You need a vacation now more than ever.

Right now we realize that we might, maybe, possibly be approaching something resembling the long middle of this crisis – at a time when some leaders and followers tell us we should be thinking about navigating toward the end.

The cumulative effect of dealing with the crisis in your business – and then turning around and dealing with the crisis within your family, group of friends, and community – weighs heavily on even the most prepared soul.

Do Something Somewhere

So you must find an outlet somewhere – by taking some time off at home, getting away for a short period of time, or keeping up your exercise, meditation, or whatever allows you to keep going.

One of the things that makes me confident in the ultimate success of the restaurateurs I work with? Not one of them has said to me, “My response to the pandemic involves working 12-hour days seven days a week.”

Everyone I know sees the value of taking care of themselves.

This year your summer vacation may take the form of a weekend, an hour every day, or a succession of Tuesday afternoons.

Help yourself, your business, and your family, and make sure you take that vacation!