HOUSTON — With so many guidelines and restrictions in place for businesses, neighbors really are relying on each other, especially when it comes to restaurants. Even in 2020, word of mouth is a powerful way to share information. Just ask Ted V.
"Eat Safe Houston is something that I just recently started, because I am a die-hard foodie," Ted said. "I travel all around Houston and beyond to eat good food, and since this pandemic started, I had to cut back because of everything that’s going on."
Now that restaurants are starting to reopen, Ted is back to dining at his favorite spots.
"I wanted to share my experiences on Instagram with everybody else.," he said. "All of our fellow Houstonians here, so that they can get an idea," of what it's like to dine in during the pandemic.
On his Instagram page, Ted posts about what it's like from the moment you walk into a restaurant. His posts focus on things like whether employees are wearing facial coverings, if there is hand sanitizer available upon entry. Are tables separated by at least 6 feet? Are there alternatives to traditional laminated menus?
"I plan on sharing both positive and negative," said Ted of his experiences. His first post went up June 12. "I’m not biased in any way. I’m not being sponsored. I’m not paid to do any of this stuff. It’s just something that I do for everybody."
He's tapping into a captive audience. KHOU 11 asked Houstonians to vote in an informal, unscientific poll on Nextdoor. More than 24,000 people voted over seven days.
When asked if they were dining in at restaurants, a majority of voters chose: Nope. Because of COVID concerns.
He said comments on Nextdoor are motivating him to keep trying dine-in options. Neighbors have sent him requests of restaurants to try, while others are sharing their own experiences.