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How to Help the Twin Cities’ Devastated Hospitality Industry

From buying gift cards, ordering delivery, and contributing to funds serving those affected

A bar set with bitters, strainers, and a glass cup of paper straws
How those who love the restaurant community can help during this crisis
Katie Cannon

Up until a matter of days ago, restaurant were sanctuary, a safe haven from the pressures of day to day life, where people could forget worries over plates of food, full cups, and the care of countless staff. Restaurants are often the first line of employment, a failsafe career for single parents, and the first stop for donation requests when raising money for other causes. With Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s announcement yesterday, and the sweeping closures of restaurants across the country, suddenly hundreds of thousands of people are waking up to an uncertain future of unemployment. The highly translatable job skills will hopefully help them land once with coronavirus pandemic ends, but in the mean time, people are frightened, angry, and could likely use some support.

Here are ways that local diners and appreciators of the community can support them.

Order Take Out and Take Away

Many restaurants are pivoting to serve take away and delivery. Saint Dinette is serving those incredible burgers to go beginning tomorrow. Grand Cafe is packing $7 lunches, and still donating portions of each sale to charity. Delivery services like Grub Hub, Door Dash, and Bite Squad are still running, but many restaurants are going with Chow Now, which doesn’t charge establishments commission. If you can, go to the source, pay electronically, avoid contact, and tip generously.

Tip Your Service Workers

Fill in this form to send money directly to your favorite servers and bartenders. When ordering curbside, tip huge. Check the restaurant’s social media. Some, like Travail, are setting up virtual tip jars to support the people who have had to be laid off.

Buy Gift Cards

For those that are still open, a phone call and small purchase is an investment in your future. Imagine a sunny summer day when all of this is a bad memory, and we’re toasting together. Buy gift cards, lots of them, from more than one restaurant. Don’t forget coffee shops. Remember how every charity uses the daily cup of coffee as a measure for donation? It’s time to be literal about that. Take the price and give it to your favorite indy shop.

Buy Merch

This is like the gift card idea, but you get some swag to support your favorite place.

Contribute to the US Bartender’s Guild Emergency Relief Fund

The bartender’s guild is attempting to provide financial relief nationally to anyone who is involved in sale, promotion or distribution of beverages. This helps the industry, not just guild members.

Contact Government Officials and Ask For Relief

There is no way this industry will come back without help from government officials. Gavin Kaysen, owner of Spoon & Stable asked for immediate assistance in the form of sales and use tax relief from Governor Walz and Mayor Jacob Frey and got it. The amount of money in lost income is in the billions right now. Immediate relief needs to come from the government.

Food Assistance for Those in Need

Provisions is providing packed lunches at no cost (but are accepting donations.) Eat for Equity is providing pay-what-you-can meals and also accepting donations. Second Harvest Heartland is compiling emergency relief boxes of food. Hope Breakfast Bar is feeding kids who are missing school meals, and accepting donations. Grand Cafe will affordable lunch and dinner options to go that will donate a meal to those in need for every one purchased. United Noodle is offering free ramen for those who need it. Just call ahead. A Go Fund Me has been set up to benefit restaurants that are feeding hungry kids.

Hire

There are hundreds of thousands of hard working, skilled people who are not accustomed to sitting still. Lunds/Byerlys has put out the call for seasonal help at this time.

This list will be updated with more resources as they become available. If you know of more ways to help, please email joy@eater.com

Grand Cafe

3804 Grand Avenue South, , MN 55409 (612) 822-8260 Visit Website

Spoon and Stable

211 North 1st Street, , MN 55401 (612) 224-9850 Visit Website

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