Any agency, committee, organization or group that gets nearly 100 percent participation of its members won’t be able to keep each one satisfied.
That’s human nature. Keeping all of the people happy all of the time is impossible, so said no less an authority than Abraham Lincoln, who was credited with using the thoughts and words of poet John Lydgate, to express that message.
Lydgate, a medieval English poet and monk, is credited with the concept that “you can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
That’s what is being reinforced on the leadership of Visit Harford! this week after the county’s quasi-public tourism marketing agency decided there wouldn’t be a summer Harford Restaurant Week this year.
Greg Pizzuto, executive director of Visit Harford!, explained his group’s decision.
“[Restaurants are] busy in the summer,” he said. “They don’t necessarily need or want restaurant week. Patrons often have conflicts [in the summer], other things going on that it’s not worth it.”
Obviously, that view is shared by some, but not all of the local restaurant owners.
“I am more than disappointed,” Debi Matassa-Bell, owner of Alchemy restaurant in Bel Air, said. “We look forward to that income. People look forward to coming out for restaurant week. I look for that to sustain my business in the summer.”
Others are more understanding. “I understand the perspective from the restaurant owner, but when you hear the other side, you understand it,” Ben Meyer, owner of Vagabond Sandwich Company on Thomas Street in Bel Air, said. “The couple of summers, they didn’t get the turnout.”
Restaurant week has historically been a two-week effort in January to try and entice people out of the warmth of their homes into the cold as a way to increase restaurant patronage during a very slow business period each year.
Someone thought it would be a good idea to expand the effort into the summer. Visit Harford! tried it for a while, decided it wasn’t bringing results commensurate with the effort, and then stopped holding it.
“January is big,”Pizzuto, of Visit Harford!, said. “Two years or so ago, we tried the second, and it just didn’t go over well.”
It seems simple enough to us: A well-intentioned group tried to fulfill its mission to increase tourism related business by hosting a restaurant week in the summer. It failed. The group moved on and is looking at other promotions.
Understandably, not all restaurant owners agree. But it’s time for Visit Harford! to move on and to try finding other promotions that, undoubtedly, will not make everyone happy the next time, either.