LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Californians have been hunkered down in their homes for at least a week now, but they’re being asked to venture out in support of the many restaurant workers who have been hit hard financially by the coronavirus outbreak.
A coalition of Los Angeles-based restaurants are urging people to participate in the Great American Takeout Tuesday by ordering out from their favorite restaurants for at least one meal.
America's restaurants are in crisis.
On March 24, we’re asking Americans to support the restaurant industry by joining #TheGreatAmericanTakeout and eating a delivery or pick-up meal.
— #thegreatamericantakeout (@TheGATakeout) March 20, 2020
“Restaurants are a major part of the heart and soul of Los Angeles and throughout CA, and they are all struggling right now,” a news release said.
“Please don’t be afraid to go out and get food to go,” said Michael Osborn, the owner of Pie n’ Burger in Pasadena. “It is kind of eery sitting here looking at an empty restaurant.”
Tuesday night in Pasadena, restaurant owners were appreciative of the effort to support local businesses. However, many of them have already had to lay off employees and sales remain too slow to keep some afloat.
“I try to be generous on the tips because the hourly wage people, I think, are really hurt,” said Pie n’ Burger customer Emelley Norton.
Restaurants are counting on the dinner rush of deliveries to help them stay open during this uncertain time. The owner of Noda Sushi said the campaign was a great idea, but she thinks people are afraid to spend money on takeout right now.
“‘[It’s been] very slow,” she said. “Just one or two customers for lunch time and three or four customers for dinner time.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s shelter-in-place order shut down dining-in at all California restaurants, coffee shops and other establishments that serve food. The change severely impacts wait staff, who depend on tips, and as many as 7 million restaurant workers could lose their jobs over the next three months.
“One of the biggest problems we have right now is how do we support our staff,” Stephania Doulames, co-owner of Earl of Sandwich in Granada Hills.
Doulames hopes that campaigns like the Great American Takeout push people to support their local restaurants.
“Just because you have to stay at home and limit your contact with others there’s no reason why you cannot still support the economy and support these small businesses which will not survive if this continues longterm.”
Some restaurants are upping the ante by offering discounts. The Cheesecake Factory is offering a free slice with orders over $30, while the California Pizza Kitchen is offering an immediate $10 off any $40 order. Miguel Jr., which has locations in Orange County and the Inland Empire, is waiving its third-party delivery fees through April.
Customers are being asked to buy at least one takeout or pickup meal Tuesday, urge their family and friends to do the same, and document their purchase on social media with the hashtag #thegreatamericantakeout.