Our dining establishments are hardest hit

While logging offline, my eye caught sight of a list published by Simpli.com comprised of national restaurant chains that are severely stressed to the point of closures, downsizing, and/or bankruptcy.

One might be tempted to scoff at their misfortune while commenting, “Well, only two on the list are here in Bonners Ferry!” while living in oblivion.

The list includes, but is not limited to: Applebee’s, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Sbarro, Ruby Tuesday, Krystal, Bar Louie, Houlihan’s, Hooters, Boston Market, Papa John’s, Golden Corral, Ponderosa Steakhouse, Steak n’ Shake, Joe’s Crab Shack, Noodles & Company, Old Country Buffet, The Cheesecake Factory, T.G.I.Friday, Red Robin, Friendly’s, Qdoba, Buffalo Wild Wings, Checkers & Rally’s, Jack in the Box, Roy Rogers, Baja Fresh, Fuddruckers, O’Charley’s, Quiznos, Bojangles’, IHOP, Luby’s, Taco Bell, Subway, Marie Callender’s, McCormick & Schmick’s, Chipotle, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Carl’s Jr., Kona Grill, Perkin’s, Starbucks, Hometown Buffet, Pic Five, Eat ‘n Park, Pollo Tropical, Taco Cabana, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Denny’s, Tad’s Steaks, Pieology, Brio Tuscan Grille & Bravo! Cuciana Italiana, Zinburger, Too Jay’s, Benihana, Sonic, Papa Murphy’s, Hard Rock Cafe, Pappas Restaurants, Rubio’s Coastal Grill, Le Paia Quotidien, Del Frisco’s Grille, Tim Horton’s, Pizza Rev, Specialty’s Cafe & Bakery, Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes, and, Dave & Busters.

I have frequented at least 33 of these national eateries over the course of my life. These corporations have employed millions of our citizens, fed billions of souls, and contributed trillions of dollars in total economy.

This is not a “somewhere else” story. This saga is playing out right on our own doorstep. Subway, Simple Simon’s, Chic-N-Chop, Two Tones, Subway, Badger’s Den, Pizza Factory, Burger Express, Mugsy’s, Mi Pueblo, Springs, B.F. Pupuseria, The Rusty Moose, SoulShine Bistro, Goat Mountain Pizzeria, Kootenai River Brewing Company, Oriental Garden, Under the Sun, PHO 9B Noodle Joint, Three Mile Cafe, Fiest Creek Restaurant, Wok-a-Mole’ and other eateries are under stressors of their own.

Employees have had their hours reduced, been laid-off, or lost their job(s). Some have lost their health insurance, fallen behind on their bills, or are loosing their homes.

The proprietors have made, and are making, painful decisions that effect everyone in this community. Some businesses will survive, some will not. I would like to point out that the food service group has been the most-hard-hit industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I encourage all Boundary County residents to be mindful of this and to make their choices accordingly.

As a nation, we are all in this together. No one on this earth has ever been granted a right without first being saddled with a responsibility, and this pandemic is really revealing who has character and who does not.

Gerald B. Higgs
Bonners Ferry