Almost every industry was affected in some way by the pandemic, but possibly none more than the hospitality industry, specifically restaurants. But throughout, people have stepped up to help restaurants.
One Denver area man decided to do all he could to get some form of restaurant industry aid going. Bobby Stuckey, the co-founder of Frasca Food and Wine and Pizzeria Locale helped start the #saverestaurants campaign. He is part of The Independent Restaurant Coalition (saverestaurants.com or @indprestaurants on Instagram). Together with members of Congress, the White House, and the Small Business Administration, they ultimately put together a way for restaurants to apply for federal restaurant relief grants. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which the Coalition fought for and won, has become official as part of the recently passed, American Rescue Plan.
Jess Lander is a wine, food and travel writer who – as a Napa resident herself – was inspired to find a way to help the struggling small restaurants and their employees in this wine country mainstay. To do so, she has created the Essential Napa Valley Cookbook (#napacookbook). This cookbook will not only showcase the most popular, favorite restaurants of Napa Valley by including their recipes, but will also benefit them, with 100 percent of the proceeds from book sales going to support these independent establishments. Bounty Hunter Wine Bar and BBQ, Goose and Gander, and Southside Café are among the Napa Valley restaurants whose recipes will be showcased in Lander’s book.
In yet another creative way of supporting local favorites, Washington State has a local realtor, Jim Tinsley, with a more subtle way of promoting restaurants in his area. He started a project on his own, hiding Easter eggs around town in Mukilteo with the winner being awarded a $100 gift certificate to a local eating or drinking establishment, and another $10 kicked in from local pizzeria, Sully’s Pizza. So not only are some lucky Washingtonians benefitting from these free meal dollars; but the restaurants are getting their names plastered all over social media (as this is how Tinsley, (@soldbyjimtinsley), gets the word out when a new, hidden treasure is up for grabs). It’s a win-win. Other local restaurant-benefitting movements across the nation are “Take Out Tuesday” (Connecticut and elsewhere), “Save our Restaurants” (Colorado), and RestaurantRescue.org (Palo Alto, California) and their #TakeOutPledge. The hash tag on Instagram, #saveourrestaurants is a good way to find even more of these in other areas of the country.
Finally, do you wonder if there is something that could be done to improve consumer confidence– especially now that restaurants are re-opening? What if there was some sort of symbol on the outside of the restaurant to let you know the restaurant is fully up and running again, in compliance on standard dining safety excellence and is a safe and worthy place to dine? That’s exactly where the non-profit Dining Safety Alliance comes in. Started pre-pandemic by Dr. Harlan Stueven, MD the concept originally started out as Dining Grades, essentially addressing the prevention and lowering of incidences of food-bourne illnesses in restaurants. The DiningSafetyAlliance (DSA) new restaurant certification program gives A+ window stickers to restaurants who have a history of excellent health department inspection scores, pass an independent, confidential DSA virtual inspection and pass three short online dining and delivering food safely training programs.
These programs train restaurant, front-of-house staff, including delivery personnel on
- serving food safely
- delivering food safely
- enhanced sanitation protocols.
Once a restaurant’s owner and staff complete these online courses, they are awarded an A+ grade, are given the DSA logo window sticker and digital badge for their website/menus. This logo and badge assure diners, at-a-glance, that these restaurants are superior in dining safety and sanitation; hopefully helping these businesses reassure new and returning customers, while turning the corner to start thriving again.