A Note From Ray’s GM & Co-Owner

April 1, 2020

Friends,

On Monday March 16th we turned off the big red Ray’s neon sign for the first time in our recollection for any reason other than maintenance.  It wasn’t a sad occasion. It was a business move to reduce expenses.  As the mandates and advice to help stop the spread of the virus took shape we knew we had to do two things: 1.) Keep our family, friends, guests, and staff safe and 2.) make the right business decisions to ensure that all of our team members and guests have a Ray’s to come back to when this passes.

We walked the property and turned just about everything off. I am regularly checking in with our team and a few of our regular clients and things seem to be going OK. Ray’s has reduced expenses to almost zero and is positioned to outlast this and our plan to reopen when we are allowed is in place. While a few of us here work on those details and stay busy the majority of us are kind of lost.

Those of us who have grown up in the service industry and the veteran employees who choose this line of work do so because we love it. We love the chaos, the crowds, the contact, the noises, the camaraderie, the (sometimes awful) jokes, the push of pressure raising our performance, and most of all the emotions of service. We do this because we find a purpose in serving others. All of this has been taken away from us for now for good reason and we miss it.

Life now is quieter and calmer with our position on service changing to focus on our family and friends. There is no commute to school twice a day. There is no commute to after school activities. Families are spending more time at home with each other cooking, baking, ensuring home schooling is moving along, playing board games, and watching movies. While many of us may find that re-connection comforting it doesn’t fully satisfy a professional hospitality employees desire to serve.  I am consistently being asked by industry friends, family, guests, and current/former team members: “What can I do to help?”.  I find that outreach amazing.

Here are a few ways to help:

Seattle Restaurants United is petitioning the city, state, and federal authorities for policies that will help restaurant staff survive this situation. I encourage you to read it and act as you see fit. Solidarity means a lot to us and the voices of many are louder than the voices of a few when it comes to making policy change.

tilwedine.com has created a place where you can directly link to your favorite restaurants and buy gift cards. Consider a gift card purchase as buying stock in your favorite restaurant employees’ future. Restaurants who can raise enough revenue to pay their month bills will have a strong shot at reopening when it is allowed and re-employing their team in full. Every dollar helps.

Takeout – consider checking to see if your favorite restaurant is producing food for takeout. Ray’s is currently not geared for this but many great places are. We are all trying to support our friends when and where we can. Check out the City of Seattle map of small businesses offering takeout and delivery.

Leadership demands a long-range perspective. The uncertainty of the current situation has hampered our ability to see the horizon much farther than one or two weeks at a time. We are about two weeks away from the Easter holiday. We are not sure if we will be able to open by then and ask for your patience as we let the timeline continue and make that decision when we have more information.

Please stay safe. Stay in communication with your extended family, teammates, co-workers, and school friends and provide each other support. Use this as a time to reconnect and be grateful for those around us. Ray’s will be here when this passes and we hope to reconnect with you and your families as a place to gather and share food and create memories.  

Until then #WeGotThisSeattle
Douglas Zellers, GM & Co-owner

Wine Sampler Packs To-Go from Ray’s!

August is Washington State Wine Month! Celebrate our incredibly diverse and vast wine industry all August at Ray’s! You can enjoy local bottles and glass pours in the Cafe or order our brand new wine sampler packs online via Toast to sip at home! Our Wine Director Chip Croteau has created six wine sampler packs for your sipping …

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