With over 1 million restaurants in the US employing over 15 million people and contributing nearly $900 billion to the US economy, according to restaurant.org, the restaurant industry is vital to our nation. What can you do to help it survive during the Covid-19 pandemic?
Continue to Spend Money at Restaurants (if you can)
There’s no doubt everyone is being touched by this Covid-19 shutdown, but if you have any disposable income, consider putting it towards helping your local restaurant weather this storm. You can buy a gift certificate, merchandise, order take-out or virtually tip a bartender; every little bit helps. If you want to help even more directly, contact your favorite restaurants and ask them exactly what they need.
Donate to a Non-Profit
Many organizations already exist to help restaurants and employees in need. National or local nonprofits already have the infrastructure in place to help quickly and many have setup COVID-19 specific funds. Bon Appetit created a useful list of nonprofits nationally you might want to consider supporting.
One of the biggest struggles restaurants are facing is that their insurance policies are not covering this forced closure. Interruption of business claims are being denied, so restaurants have no safety net. Encouraging Congress to not only stimulate restaurants directly, but to help insurance companies pay on policies could go a long way. The James Beard Foundation compiled a state-by-state toolkit of who to contact. And if you haven’t already, sign one of the petitions that are going around to encourage Congress to act, including ROAR and Save America’s Restaurants.
The Bigger Picture
Don’t forget that when you support a restaurant, you’re not just supporting one business, but an entire industry. Farmers, suppliers, purveyors, and hospitality workers are all suffering from the fallout of Covid-19. By keeping restaurants afloat during this period of social distancing, important jobs will be preserved for millions of Americans.
And finally, if you’re a restaurant in need, here is a Google Form created by Arteen Arabshahi, to get your name and information out on the platforms offering help.
Good luck, and let’s do all we can to help the restaurant industry survive.