Consumer Trends

Industry shows support for one another, their communities

Foodservice groups and establishments prove “it truly takes a village” as the coronavirus pandemic intensifies.
Photograph: Shutterstock

The foodservice industry is no stranger to extending a helping hand to its community and its own in times of need, and the coronavirus outbreak is no different.

“As a result of COVID-19, several states have mandated the closure of dine-in restaurants, resulting in the immediate obliteration of income for thousands of hardworking men and women who work as servers, bartenders, cooks, bussers, valet and more. It is times like these that the sentiment ‘It truly takes a village’ becomes a clear call to action that we must be there to support one another in every way possible,” said Kris Boros, co-CEO of SipScience, a New York-based data analytics hospitality company for consumers, bars and restaurants.

SipScience has launched a $100,000 GoFundMe fundraising campaign, the Hospitality Industry Associates Fund, in support of individuals in the bar industry who have been affected by the coronavirus. All proceeds will go directly to the USBG National Charity Foundation, an organization dedicated to advancing the lifelong stability and well-being of service industry professionals through education and charitable activities.

Here’s how others in the industry are showing their support for one another and their neighbors:

  • The Dunkin' Joy in Childhood Foundation—a charitable foundation supported by Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin'—is activating $1.25 million in funding to support health and hunger relief organizations responding to the coronavirus. This includes a $250,000 donation to the Boston Resiliency Fund, which was established by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to provide essential services to residents whose health and well-being are most immediately impacted by COVID-19.
  • The Soup Peddler is offering its staff unlimited sick leave and a $50 stipend to purchase home health and cleaning supplies. The quick-service restaurant, which offers soups, juices and prepared foods at six locations around Austin, Texas, is currently open for pickup and delivery and is offering a 20% discount for all service workers as well. 
  • Lexington, Ky.-based Fazoli’s is offering a special meal deal for restaurant workers through its drive-thru. Guests who show their restaurant name tag, uniform or pay stub can get a regular spaghetti with meat sauce or marinara and a small drink for $2.99. “As a brand, we want to do what we can to help those in our restaurant industry family, and also help drive occasions to our restaurants to sustain our own managers and crew during this difficult time,” CEO Carl Howard said.
  • On March 21, Houston, Texas, restaurateur Ronnie Killen is offering free barbecue sandwiches and chips to all hospitality workers affected by the coronavirus shutdown out of his soon-to-open Killen's restaurant. The food will be offered in a drive-thru setting, and hospitality workers will be asked to show proof of their employment with a pay stub, restaurant representatives told the Houston Chronicle.
  • New England restaurants Papa Gino’s Pizzeria and D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches have evolved their “Everyday Heroes” campaign, originally designed to give thanks to first responders and military personnel, to also include the everyday heroes who have emerged amid the coronavirus pandemic. These “heroes” can be parents staying at home with kids, medical staff, grocery store personnel, delivery drivers and more. They will receive 25% off Papa Gino’s pizzas online, and 20% off their entire D’Angelo order online or over the phone.
  • The establishment of the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund, which will deploy resources to local nonprofit organizations serving vulnerable residents in the Chicago region as a result of the coronavirus. The resources include access to emergency food and basic supplies, rent and mortgage assistance and utility assistance. The fund was established by the Chicago Community Trust and United Way of Metro Chicago in partnership with the city of Chicago.

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