Restaurant operators are a resilient lot, and the rest of us have much to learn from their example. Just when it felt like vaccination rates were going to be high enough this summer to allow life to go back to some semblance of normal this fall — kids returning to school unmasked, full audience participation at public events, and carefree mask-free dining in actual restaurant dining rooms — the delta variant of COVID-19 dictated a different course.

The unvaccinated have paid dearly for their recalcitrance, and the rest of us have had to adjust our thinking about what the new normal will look like and just when it might arrive. Through all the twists and turns, the misinformation and the disinformation, restaurants have continued to roll with the changes; shifting to outdoor dining where plausible, creating carryout and pickup solutions where necessary, and generally doing whatever it takes to survive to the next phase of our shared recovery from this pandemic.

For our part, we will continue to lean in to virtual solutions until we can safely be together again as a community at conferences and industry meetings. Our FED Lunch & Learn series will kick off on Thursday, Oct. 14, with TED Talks-style presentations from experts on equipment and design followed by engaging Q&A sessions between panelists offering insight into current trends. Please register at and be a part of the conversation.

We are also accepting entries for our sixth annual restaurant development + design awards — submit your projects by Oct. 8, 2021. If you have a project that you are proud of and you think your peers should know about, please let us tell the world through our annual awards program.

All the best,