October 2020

Editor's Note

Eating Out During Shelter in Place

We’ve been eating out more during the pandemic than we did in the past. Why? Well, let’s face it, when you are schooling and working at home all day, getting a meal out and seeing fellow humans in the flesh is the bright spot of the day.
And when I say eating out, I mean that literally. We are going to restaurants with outdoor seating. Over the past months, we’ve noticed some restaurants have no clue how to serve families with kids. Maybe their usual clientele is mostly college students or people out to socialize and drink with friends, but families are a different beast.

We’ve got some tips for serving these sometimes motley crews.

  • If they bring a toddler, treat them like they have a grenade with a loose pin. At any moment the kid could go off, ruining the meal not just for the table but for the whole place. Have the bill handy, or as handy as can be. In good times, wait people like to pump out a last dessert or round of drinks. No way, Renee. Be prepared to get them out fast in the event of a meltdown. Your understanding will keep them coming back.
  • Napkins and more napkins. Think of your clients with toddlers and teens as if they were drunks eating after a frat party. They are going to make an almost inconceivable mess and if you prepare like a sanitation crew at a football game, you will make clean up faster and easier. Hell, they will do it for you, if you give them plenty of tools.
  • We know restaurants are no longer handing out crayons so we bring our own with drawing paper. But if you still have paper menus with cute things to color, dinnertime will be a lot quieter.
  • Don’t be afraid to keep checking in. Older diners may not need you to shadow them, but families have so many different needs and kids have the patience of a gnat. If you can be close, especially toward the end of the meal, they will be so appreciative.

Diners…what’s been your experience during COVID? Good, bad or the same? We so appreciate servers and staff, who are truly on the front lines and we click the highest tip choice every time. Hope you do too. Heck, we even tried to tip the checkout person at Safeway, but they weren’t allowed to take it. We feel we have to give back more than ever these days and we can see it around the community, making Santa Cruz Great Again, always.

That said, this issue celebrates two of our favorite things: newborns and Halloween with important stories on both. We also delve into the real estate market, with families moving in and out and struggling to afford rising prices. We’ve got a huge public service article about how you can help build affordable housing and make a good return on your investment! Doing good can help you do well.
How can you empower kids when you can barely empower yourself? You’ve got questions, we have answers. Is it too early to start organizing holiday decorations? Nope, says our organizing expert.  How do teachers deal with climate change and diversity? Read our column called Rebirth.

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Brad Kava, Jennifer Ford
and Steve Dinnen

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