My name is Siera, I am 26 years old and I have been in the restaurant industry for 10 years. I love being able to serve my community and creating an enjoyable place for people to socialize. I enjoy making fun, new and creative cocktails behind the bar.
I was a manager/bartender for about ten years of a local Bay Area restaurant called El Charro. The restaurant was there for about 73 years and was a huge staple throughout Northern California. People traveled back to El Charro to reminisce family memories, celebrate anniversaries and birthdays, and just get together casually on our patio. A huge appeal of El Charro was the outdoor patio, where it took you from Lafayette to Margaritaville. During the pandemic, it was extremely hard to accommodate guests in just our patio, as you can imagine. We had 3 other rooms inside to fill guests and on weekends the entire restaurant would fill up. Rules constantly changed, and as management, you needed to be up to date to inform your staff and then your customers. It seemed like half the time you were just updating yourself/community on the new regulations on fears of being shut down. Do not even get me started on those customers who did not want to comply with the rules. I remember in the beginning, everyone was so afraid of this virus and just being open. Our busyness would be determined by how bad the news was. I believe people forget the restaurants were already set to a high level of cleanliness - whether it be sanitation stations, multiple bathroom checks, hand sanitizers readily available for people, etc... so for us, we were constantly struggling to try and do better while also fulfilling our normal service duties. Most people in the industry just wanted to stay open, do their best, and keep their staff and customers safe. I am sure you have heard of similar stories of fear in the beginning (and honestly now with the numbers rising and the new variant) for the restaurant industry, and many are still struggling today. Unfortunately, El Charro did not make it through the pandemic. Finances were already rocky and without making our normal numbers, we were falling behind fast. I am still bartending in the Bay Area at a beautiful restaurant called The Coop.
Soar was one of the organizations offering relief for restaurant industry workers. So many places did not make it, and so many workers are left heartbroken, set back, and a little lost. Hopefully, we can still support our workers because everyone loves to go out and enjoy good drinks, food, and socialize. It is a big part of American culture, so I hope we continue to support the workers who have not stopped working to give communities a safe place to enjoy a meal and some good cocktails.