The 25-year-old seafood restaurant in Orlando, High Tide Harry’s, was hit hard by the pandemic and its related restrictions on restaurants and on Monday Heretick explained on “Fox & Friends” what inspired him to get involved to try and keep the business afloat.
He said he started noticing his father’s mood was changing during the pandemic.
“I could tell that he was really stressed,” Heretick said, adding that he has worked for his father since the day he turned 16.
“I’ve really been able to see how hard he works and how much time he puts in behind the scenes that people don’t really get to see when you go out to eat and really, all I wanted to do was share who he is and just let people know what he’s done to make his dream happen and what the reality looks like for us and so many others during these times,” Heretick explained on Monday.
Heretick wrote a passionate post on Facebook on Dec. 11 sharing his father’s story. The post has since gone viral, with more than 1,000 shares and hundreds of comments.
In the post, Heretick shared that in 1995 his father, who he referred to as his “hero,” used “his life savings and fulfilled his lifelong dream of owning his own seafood restaurant.”
“I’ve watched him feed the homeless, give people a job that no one else would give a chance, pay employees’ rent so they had a place to live, consistently give to charity, he has a GREAT heart,” Heretick wrote. “Anyone who knows him knows he would give you the shirt off of his back.”
He went on to write that his father “puts in 80-100 hours a week inside of this restaurant, mopping floors 2-3 times, wiping bathroom walls, tasting soups every morning to make sure they are perfect.”
Heretick then listed the challenges presented in 2020 during the pandemic.
“In March, we lost over $100,000 when COVID hit,” he wrote. “Since then, we’ve lost money every month.”
He also noted that his father Mike “hasn’t taken a salary since March” and that still, “the managers are being paid, our employees are being paid, and he wakes up every morning with his life savings on the line.”
Appearing with his son on “Fox & Friends” on Monday, Mike said the “low point” was when his business was forced to close on St. Patrick’s Day in March.
He noted that his restaurant was generating about 30% of what it typically did before the pandemic through takeout and delivery service and yet “we were working and keeping all of our employees.”
“I had a rainy day fund, which came in very, very handy to keep all my employees,” Mike said.
He also pointed out that as capacity in restaurants was allowed to increase, sales were increasing as well, but “we were still only about 60 to 65% of sales from last year.”
“I’m not here to ask for pity,” Brennan wrote in the Facebook post. “I’m asking if we’ve ever taken good care of you and you have the means to do so, we would love to have you back to dine with us…”
And the public plea worked, inspiring people to come back and dine at High Tide Harry’s, according to the Hereticks.
Mike said that in the last two weeks business has been “booming” thanks to his son, who he referred to as “the best marketing guy in the world.”
“People are coming out and they’re just basically good people,” Mike continued.
Brennan added that he “had no idea that we would receive the amount of outreach and support that we have from the post.”
He pointed out that the restaurant has “sold a ton of gift cards” and that his phone has been blowing up.
“I had about 1,000 people to get back to,” he said.
Fox News’ Lawrence Jones asked Mike what his message is to the “representatives in this country that are enacting these laws that impact you and other businesses.”
“I would say save the small business because that’s the backbone of America,” he responded. “Big businesses and corporations have the capital to stay and weather big storms, but the small guy is the one that’s going to hurt.”