Yes, the spelling above is correct. I mean just that: independent food service operators, owners and those who work for them.

This week, July 1st - 7th is National Independents' Week.

It’s that time of the year to celebrate the backbone of the restaurant and food services industry. I am referring to those outlets totally independent of the big corporate chains.

These are the ‘Mom and Pop’, ‘Chef-owned’ and operated restaurants, haute cuisine, white table cloth, bistros, cafés, roadhouses, coffee shops, take-outs, burger stands and the multitude of eateries that are still making it happen day in and day out.

These are the bravest of business owners.

They assume huge risks. The potential return on their investment often does not justify the risks taken.

But they love this business!

The competition from others – especially the corporately-organized chains – is intense. Moreover, it’s not just competition for customers; it’s for the best employees too. These folks don’t have the buying power, marketing dollars, the sophisticated ‘know how’ that the big guys can buy with their huge numbers and critical mass.

These are the people who live down the street or right next door. Their kids go to school with yours. They provide employment to your neighbor across the street.

Additionally, the money they earn in their food service outlet usually stays in your community. Economists know that the “economic multiplier effect” works to spread those dollars around town. That coffee shop owner buys as much locally as s/he can.

That same money is then spent by others, who support others and so on. This locally-generated money stays in your community and helps build it and keep it strong. It does not go back to some distant head office, ultimately being distributed to shareholders in Munich, Manila, Montevideo, or Mombassa.

So when you have a day off, want a change, or just need to dine in another outlet...pick a local operator, even a competitor, and support that independent restaurateur in your town or community.

Let’s all appreciate and cheer for Independents' Day!

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