restaurants step up in covid

It’s no secret we’re living in a time of uncertainty, especially in the restaurant industry. It’s extraordinary, however, to see so many leading restaurants, and some not so large, giving back to their communities and employees in remarkable ways. From New York City to the Golden Gate Bridge, we are all affected by this pandemic and we remain united as one industry, ready to do what it takes to help one another. We’re inspired by the restaurants listed here and hope you find this list to be a true testament to the leaders we have in place across the restaurant landscape.


1. Supporting Our Healthcare Workers

Sweet Green is giving back by dedicating their Outpost operations and teams to support those in Healthcare on the front lines by delivering free, fresh sg salads + bowls to hospitals in cities they serve. They are asking to spread the work and get involved to help more people.

Chic-Fil-A delivered 1,000 free meals to Hospital Staff in Vancouver, WA. They partnered with PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center to serve their teams a warm lunch during very long hours. The Medical Industry is hard at work to keep patients’ safe and keep this virus contained putting themselves and loved ones at risk. It’s gestures like these that go a long way.

Closter Restaurants in New Jersey launched an active Go Fund Me page in conjunction with Haworth Helps to raise the funds needed to make and deliver meals to their local healthcare workers. The page has accrued more than $7,000 to date and growing! To donate to the cause, you can click here.


2. Keeping Kids Fed

We’re seeing restaurants across the country launching initiatives to keep K-12 students fed. Notable examples include a large list of Minnesota restaurants, NYC schools and restaurants, and the greater Chicago area all ensuring our children are not going hungry and receiving meals for breakfast and lunch.

Global Empowerment Mission is accepting financial donations to provide cash cards to parents who can’t afford to buy meals for their children during coronavirus-related school closures, in addition to providing “coronakits” — tote bags with sanitation wipes, gloves, water and other necessities — to people in various cities, according to NBC Today.


3. Supporting Employees and Their Families During Restaurant Closings

&Pizza is offering free, unlimited pizzas to employees and their immediate families, as well as to hospital workers. The company is also raising hourly pay by $1 and 14 days of “health and safety pay” to employees who have tested positive or who have come in contact with someone with coronavirus.

Daren Restaurants (Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, others) has announced paid sick leave for all of its hourly workers not currently covered by a corporate policy.

McDonald’s has stated that it will cover sick leave for any employees at corporate-owned locations who are asked to quarantine for two weeks.

Starbucks has extended its mental health benefits to employees affected by the virus and raised minimum wage by $3 per hour for its employees.

Golden Chick executive team and key operators above store level, in an effort to not lay off its store level employees, have volunteered to cut their salary a combined 600k. Some even volunteered a 50% reduction until further notice.

Grub Hub’s Donate the Change program is now dedicated to raising money for their community relief fund to support causes helping those impacted by COVID-19. To help the cause, users can opt-in on the app to donate their change (or any amount they would like) on a delivery order. Users can also donate without placing a delivery order.


4. Social Media Movements to Support Restaurants & Staff

Toast launched Rally for Restaurants, to support the restaurant community. It’s a public directory that makes it easy for guests to find and buy digital gift cards from their favorite local restaurants, helping restaurants generate immediate cash flow. To add your restaurant to the directory, click here. Toast is also giving $1 to (up to $250,000) to provide direct support for infected restaurant workers.

EatertainMint Events, Food & Beverage Magazine, and Food + Travel partnered to declare March 18, 2020 as National Carry Out Day.  They will continue to do this every third Thursday of the Month.  Hashtags #NationalCarryoutDay and #CarryoutWednesday can be used to showcase your favorite restaurant and bring awareness to the program.


5. Top of Our List for His Dedication to NYC & DC:

Chef José Andrés for his exemplary ability to always help those in need with his thoughtful food and teams. Earlier this month in California, Chef Andres fed cruise ship guests quarantined from the outbreak. This week he announced plans to transform eight of his New York and Washington, DC, restaurants into community kitchens for those struggling during the pandemic. According to the New York Post, to-go only meals at those locations cost $7 and for those that are struggling costs are flexible for others who may be out of work or constrained.