Though everyone in the United States is feeling the strain of the COVID-19 crisis, few industries have been negatively impacted on the same scale as the restaurant industry. Just a few weeks ago, our nation was experiencing a renaissance of fresh food and local chefs, but now nearly all have seen their dining rooms shut down in the past couple of weeks. And though some have been able to stay open for takeout and delivery, thousands of servers, bartenders, and other staff have already lost their jobs.
While there are ways you can donate and help those immediately affected, this Tuesday, March 24, the restaurant industry is asking you to do the easiest thing possible: eat.
A coalition of restaurants including Panera Bread, El Torito, Noodles & Co., and others are promoting the Great American Takeout to encourage everyone in the US to order at least one delivery or pick-up meal to help the struggling foodservice industry.
“This is no longer about the survival of individual restaurants,” says Russ Bendel, CEO of The Habit Burger Grill, one of the participating restaurants. “It’s about the future of our industry. And time has run out.”
Though the idea is nothing groundbreaking, it is, at the very least, trying to give a little spike to restaurants that may be days from full closure. The group is asking people to post on social media in advance of the event to drum up excitement, using the hashtag #greatamericantakeout, then encourage their friends and online acquaintances to do the same before finally ordering and posting pictures with the same hashtag.
Of course, the idea isn’t that people stop at one meal, and hopefully, this can turn into a Tuesday tradition. So, if you’ve got the means, take the night off cooking and help support your local restaurants. While it might not be the same as going out to dinner once was, at least it’ll help ensure your favorite spots are still there when all this is over.