For nearly a year, the world as we know it has been seemingly upside-down. When we head out the door these days, not only do we have to remember our keys, phone and wallet, but also our favorite mask. We’ve learned how to homeschool our kids and have our groceries – and our favorite brunch – delivered. We’ve kept a safe distance from family and friends, postponed celebrations and become all too familiar with video conferencing and virtual gatherings.
When we shared back in April 2020 that we’d decided to temporarily close 100% of our company-owned First Watch restaurants for the safety of our communities, none of us knew what to expect in the months that followed. We knew very little about this novel coronavirus or the impact it would have on our employees, customers, communities and industry as a whole. While we, as a nation, have come a long way in understanding more about this virus, there are still plenty of unknowns.
As we continue to navigate these uncharted waters, our priority at First Watch will remain the protection of our people. That was the driving force behind the decision to close our doors for several weeks last year, and it’s why we worked hard during that time to implement no-contact pick-up and delivery, low-touch payment, social distancing measures and PPE for our employees, as well as expanding upon our medical resources and benefits for our teams, at no cost to them. It was only with these measures in place that we felt comfortable bringing our First Watch family back together and reopening our doors to you – our loyal customers.
The health and safety of our teams and customers remains top-of-mind through this Covid-19 pandemic and always. That’s why First Watch is encouraging and supporting all employees in our restaurants and our Home Office who elect to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. We understand some of our employees may need to miss time at work in order to receive the vaccine, which is why we plan to compensate affected employees two hours pay at $15 per hour upon providing proof of receiving both Covid-19 vaccine doses.
At First Watch, we’re grateful for the endless support and opportunities afforded to us by our communities. It’s not lost on us that they – you – have intentionally sought out our restaurants during these trying times, confident you could expect a safe, familiar, top-notch experience at First Watch. You’ve showed up to check on your favorite server or because you’ve read heart-wrenching stories about the devastating impact this pandemic has had on our industry.
I speak on behalf of our entire organization when I share eternal gratitude for your support. ‘Thank you’ doesn’t quite do it justice.