When coronavirus fears swiftly swept across the nation, restaurants were some of the first to be hit by government executive orders and many argue that restaurants continue to be hit harder than any other industry. As it currently stands, the restaurant industry is estimated to have lost $25 billion due to the pandemic and that number continues to grow. Approximately 3% of all restaurants have permanently closed with another 11% expected to close before the end of the month.
As one of the largest industries in the United States (and arguably one of the best), the restaurant industry is well worth saving. Fortunately, several businesses and nonprofits have stepped up to the plate to pledge support. We’ve compiled a list of businesses across the country doing what they can to help.
Even before COVID-19, Big Table was exclusively dedicated to helping those in the restaurant industry. Food service is a hospitality industry, so it’s easy to forget that restaurant workers have problems too when they’re always seen with smiles to greet the rest of us.
Big Table was founded to help restaurant workers experiencing hardship, poverty, addiction, and legal trouble. The organization has doubled down on their efforts with more restaurant employees experiencing hardship due to COVID-19. Those in need are paired with specialists who can help, including doctors, mechanics, therapists, and lawyers. For those looking to help, Big Table provides many different ways to get involved.
Budget Branders is a restaurant supply company that decided to help the industry they love more than any other. For the month of April, Budget Branders has pledged 100% their profits to World Central Kitchen.
World Central Kitchen is a non-profit helping both those in need and local restaurants. World Central Kitchen has started financially supporting restaurants during COVID-19 to stay open so that restaurants can prepare and deliver meals to those in need. Restaurants get the income they need to keep the lights on and individuals experiencing financial hardship get beautiful chef prepared meals to enjoy.
April isn’t yet over. It’s not too late to place an order from Budget Branders and donate to World Central Kitchen at the same time.
Children of Restaurant Employees
It’s important to remember that restaurant workers aren’t the only one impacted by the closing of restaurants. The loss of income can affect every member of their family. Children of Restaurant Employees has set aside grants specifically designated for families of restaurant employees who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Dining At A Distance
Dining at a Distance is an online website founded to combat financial hardship for restaurants during COVID-19. The website serves as a directory for all of the restaurants still open for takeout and delivery during the pandemic. Simply search your city to see all of the local restaurants you could be supporting right now.
Gift Card Army
Similar to Dining at a Distance, Gift Card Army is another online directory for restaurants. In addition to listing restaurants still open, Gift Card Army also lists restaurants with gift cards available for purchase. Gift Card Army has partnered with The Gift Card Cafe to help small businesses start gift card programs if they don’t already have one.
James Beard Foundation
The James Beard Foundation was founded to celebrate America’s food culture, but when the food service industry is on life support, there isn’t much to celebrate. Instead, the organization has shifted focus and launched the James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Relief Fund. Donations to the fund are used to provide micro-grants to restaurants across the country.
Takeout COVID is yet another online directory effort to list all of the restaurants currently offering takeout. Unlike Gift Card Army or Dining at a Distance, each submission is manually reviewed, so the number of cities and restaurant options is a bit limited. Nevertheless, the directory grows by the day and the cause is admirable.
Looking For Other Ways To Help?
Outside of supporting any of the aforementioned organizations, there are things you can do to help local restaurants in your community. When you order takeout, consider leaving a generous tip for the employees. For restaurants that have decided to temporarily close down, consider buying a gift card. Additionally, share some of your favorite restaurants on social media and leave positive reviews on various platforms for the dining establishments you love.
COVID-19 has been challenging for everyone, but we can get through this by supporting each other.