“No Sleeping in the Trophy Room” is REVOLT’s digital series hosted by Carlos Del Valle. This sit-down style show is a conversation series fueled by motivation, experience and truth, where Del Valle interviews successful individuals across different industries.
As nationwide shutdowns launch into place, even the most coveted business owners have not been immune to the drastic changes brought on by the growing COVID-19 pandemic. Among them are the likes of restaurateur John Seymour who, like many other New Yorkers, was forced to shutter his famed Sweet Chick chicken and waffles joint earlier this month, as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo requested that all restaurants limit their operations to delivery and takeout to promote social distancing in the fight against Coronavirus.
In the past couple of weeks, Cuomo has been at the forefront of policy implementation to stay the growth of the virus. He’s been credited with one of the more proactive stances as he acts in the best interest of his constituents, effectively leading by example and setting a precedent for most cities in the United States to follow. It’s clearly a quality in character that has trickled down to the likes of Seymour, who notably took deliberate action in protecting the community around him—primarily his network of over 300 employees.
”Payroll is a large chunk of it and I don’t think people understand what the restaurant industry is going through,” Seymour revealed, alluding to the dilemma that entrepreneurs across the country are now facing as he spoke to Los Antonio in a special edition of “No Sleeping In The Trophy Room,” a new series by REVOLT that officially premieres on Monday, April 6.
Similar to many comparisons, Seymour, currently isolating in Brooklyn, last recalls such fear and uncertainty in New York City after the 9/11 attacks. Likewise, however, he’s reminded of the strength in numbers that the city showed in the face of tragedy, referencing the moment he was turned away by city officials for volunteering in the aftermath due to an overload in city natives who were all determined to lend a hand.
Not surprisingly, Seymour has also taken notice of Governor Cuomo’s efforts: “I think he’s doing a great job. He’s leading this better than the people at the top of the food chain leading it, if you catch my drift.”
He’s firm in believing in the country’s ability to come together, with each individual assuming an understood responsibility within their pockets of society. For Seymour, that meant gauging his employees’ temperature on whether or not they even felt safe coming into work before evaluating his own pockets, and allocating routine grocery packages for employees to pick up in order to feed their families during this hiatus.
”It’s understandable that people are going to panic,” the entrepreneur added. “You have to keep a positive mental attitude if you want to get ahead. You want to succeed...you have to help your fellow person when you can.”
Trusting in the spirit of his fellow New Yorkers and Americans, his outlook remains fixed on the light at the end of the tunnel, as he issued his take on what this could mean for the world.
”We’re going to take this on. We’re going to move past it, and everybody’s gonna come back to life like we didn’t skip a beat,” Seymour declared before sprinkling Diddy’s infamous motto. “Can’t stop, won’t stop... People are coming together. It’s an opportunity for the world to come together. I think it’s going to be something that propels us to a life that is better than it was two weeks ago, and that’s just kind of what I believe.”
What’s more is that Seymour sees this as a chance for citizens of the world to become much more aware of their surroundings and the implications of constructs that currently exist.
”It’s going to wake a lot of people up top [on] what’ s going on in the world, the problems that we had, and the things we took for granted,” he added.
As for the things that he’s been doing to keep sane during this storm, Seymour cites taking his daughters out to the park (within social distancing reason, of course) and tuning into the likes of Jay Electronica, while heavily dousing his ears with New York-based staples to boost morale. Among them is Nas, Griselda, Joey Bada$$, and Biggie.
”Tryna keep it gangsta,” he reasons.
Check out John Seymour’s entire interview above.