Restaurants, McKinney Chamber Team Up to Form McKinney Restaurant Council

McKINNEY, TX (May 18, 2020) – It was mid-March when Joy Booth, the owner of E.J. Wills Gastropub, was busy getting ready for a week of parties that was planned at her restaurant. What was the cause for celebration? She was about to celebrate being open for business in McKinney for two years.

Unfortunately, those parties never happened. And we all know why. The coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, businesses were forced to shut their doors, and the phrase “social distancing” became a part of our everyday vocabulary. Small businesses were hit hard and fast. Among the hardest hit in that category were restaurants.

Fast forward about a month-and-a-half and talk of reopening began. But how? How could a restaurant make any money when open at only 25% capacity? How do you best socially distance the tables? How do you best sanitize and clean tables between guests? How do you handle a situation where a guest at your restaurant gets sick? The list of questions seemed almost endless.

Guidance was and is hard to find. That’s when the McKinney Chamber of Commerce decided to convene a meeting with several local restaurants and the McKinney Restaurant Council (MRC) was born.

“I think we’re living in a new normal,” said Lisa Hermes, President and CEO of the McKinney Chamber of Commerce. “Most people probably aren’t ready to go out to a crowded restaurant or sit down at a bar next to a stranger. The Chamber is trying to help these businesses adapt to this new normal we now live in.”

Simply put, the mission of the MRC is to unify the foodservice sector in McKinney to leverage resources and share operational and strategic best practices. One of the first things the MRC did was adopt the McKinney Promise – something the Texas Restaurant Association came up with. It’s a promise that the restaurants make to their guests – and in turn – a promise that the guests make to the restaurant.

“It’s my hope that the Council, which has gotten off to a tremendously collaborative start, continues to serve as a platform to centralize and vocalize our interests as a sector,” said Booth, who has taken on a leadership role with the MRC. “By adhering to the principles of this Promise, and displaying it proudly in our windows, we have helped demonstrate our commitment to guest health and the priority we place on uniformity and consistency in keeping our restaurants safe.”

There is certainly no shortage of unknowns. One thing, however, is certain: the world is a different place than it was just a few short months ago. The locally owned restaurants in McKinney know that. That’s why they’re adapting.

They’re adapting to keep their guests healthy and safe. They’re adapting to survive.

“I know that my business is not alone in enduring today’s challenges,” said Booth. “I also know that we are not alone in wanting to emerge from this stronger than ever.”