Interview: Marylin Burge
Marylin Burge is one of the owners of Reynolds Tavern. Her and her husband have been running the restaurant for many years as well as the bed and breakfast that is available. When looking for a job in July of 2020, Marylin was the one who I talked with about working as a hostess and a waitress and who ultimately hired me. While she is one of the owners, she also works as a manager and from my perspective has been taking covid very seriously. Part of the manager position is answering phones, taking online and over the phone orders as well as answering questions that any customer might have about the food or service. She makes sure that with each to-go order or question that a customer asks, the covid guidelines and precautions the restaurant is taking are mentioned in order to give peace of mind to those customers. I can tell that she cares for the safety of those who work at the restaurant as well as those who attend.
Liz: So my first question is what is one part of your job that has been the most affected by the pandemic?
Marylin: The one?
Liz: The one if not more.
Marylin: Gosh that’s a really good question. It definitely is a different level of stress in that you look at everything differently, nothing is the same. It feels like you’ve just completely started everything over. Everything; menu, hiring, what you order to put on your menu, everything. So I guess that’s not one thing, but it changes your perspective on everything.
Liz: Yeah. Alright so for my second question, what were some of the things you had to take into consideration when reopening to the public for outdoor and indoor dining?
Marylin: Number one thing is staffing. Who’s comfortable to come back to work, who is really ready for the challenge and feels comfortable. And then of course you worry all the time, have we done everything correctly? The cleaning, the wearing gloves, using plastic forks and knives, which is insane. You never use plastic forks and knives in a restaurant like this. But, just the long list, like I said with the first question, just everything changed. Nothing was the same when we reopened and you worry whether people would be receptive to that or not.
Liz: If you could response differently to the pandemic what is one thing you would consider adding to the restaurant if we were to be put back into a state of lockdown?
Marylin: Probably, a stronger curb-side pickup and adding items to that. One thing I always wanted to do that I never had time to do is to put a surprise in every bag. Whether it was a ten percent coupon for the next time or a lollipop, or a candy bar. Just anything that would make people go, “oh that was nice, I’ll do that again!”
Liz: Alright so my last question is what is one of the hardest decisions you had to make in the result of the pandemic about the restaurant?
Marylin: Number one, hands down, beyond anything was telling staff that we were closing. That was the worst. Watching people walk away. Customers too but mainly employees.
Liz: Alright that is all of my questions I have for you. Thank you.
Marylin: Alright, thank you!