In the Mark Barden book, A Beautiful Constraint, he writes “a constraint should be regarded as a stimulus for positive change—we can choose to use it as an impetus to explore something new and arrive at a breakthrough.” For those of us seeking the positivity in the circumstances of the day, these words are something of a beacon.

Among those looking for ways to pivot during uncertainty, lift up their employees and recognize that it isn’t business as usual is Restaurant Partners Management, LLC. With 20 restaurants locations in Grand Rapids and Northwest Michigan, Jeff Lobdell, President and Founder said, “After 30 years in business and never laying off more than 3 people, it is heartbreaking to see over 700 employees out of work.”

While the carryout-only model would not sustain their numerous locations long term and forced closure, the business wanted to help its employees however possible. No staff members using company sponsored insurance will be charged their contributions, allowing all to keep their health care benefits. All perishable foods were gifted to employee households. For those requiring prepared foods or without the means to purchase additional groceries, the leadership of Restaurant Partners is preparing food for pickup by employees, and committed the first $5,000 of a relief fund on Once each week, staff can receive other benefits in the form of gas cards, toilet paper, eggs, and other goods, including meats and gift cards from local Gordon Food Service.

In Northwest Michigan, business locations have also gifted perishables to Father Fred Foundation and Goodwill Industries.

At MLive Media Group, we strive to “look for the helpers.” Clearly, Restaurant Partners Management are among them.

We are all in this together. The MLive team is hearing first-hand how COVID-19 is rapidly changing how Michiganders are doing business. At MLive Media Group, we are working hard to adjust in light of the new needs we are hearing from our valued clients and others. This blog is one way we are responding. Have a particular need? Send us a note at

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