“Restaurants are the fabric of America and an opportunity to experience the American Dream. They are shuttering one by one as a result of the pandemic.”

That’s what motivated Helen Lao, founder and president of restaurant industry search firm ClearPath Solutions, to start the Step Up to The Table initiative late last year. The three-part program encourages people to buy restaurant gift cards or pick up a meal from a favorite spot and share it on social media using the #StepUpToTheTable hashtag.

The call-to-action is designed to have a ripple effect on consumers and the industry to support local restaurants, Lao said.