‘The Great American Takeout’ to Help Support the Restaurant Industry

The Great American Takeout begins today, March 24, 2020, as hungry would-be sit down diners are encouraged to order at least one delivery or pick-up meal in support of the restaurant industry that is currently taking a hit during the coronavirus shelter in place stay-at-home mandates and self-quarantining happening nationwide.

As the coronavirus is currently posing a worldwide threat to the hospitality and food service economy that “employs more than 15 million Americans,” according to a press statement backed by restaurants such as Noodles & Company, Veggie Grill, El Torito, Jason’s Deli, The Habit Burger Grill, Lemonade, Modern Market, Chevys Fresh Mex, and Panera Bread, dine-in meals are “no longer being served at most restaurants” and “delivery and pick-up are the only ways to support these struggling businesses.”

As a further incentive to encourage support of the greater hospitality industry, California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) recently lowered some restrictions for alcohol delivery.

Restaurants with on-sale privileges and licensing can sell alcoholic beverages for off-sale consumption, in both original packaging and pre-mixed drinks or cocktails in to-go containers. Licensees are to prominently post warning labeling to put consumers on notice of limitations regarding open container laws:

“Alcoholic beverages that are packaged by this establishment are open containers and may not be transported in a motor vehicle except in the vehicle’s trunk; or, if there is no trunk, the container may be kept in some other area of the vehicle that is not normally occupied by the driver or passengers (which does not include a utility compartment or glove compartment (Vehicle Code Section 23225)). Further, such beverages may not be consumed in public or in any other area where open containers are prohibited by law.”

“This is no longer about the survival of individual restaurants,” said Russ Bendel, CEO of The Habit Burger Grill. “It’s about the future of our industry. And time has run out. Together, we must act to support each other and our communities in unprecedented ways.”

In the meantime, various petitions calling for the federal government to provide bailouts for the hospitality industry are growing, including that by local Chef Michael Hung of Faith & Flower, and many others.

“The novel coronavirus pandemic has decimated the hospitality industry,” said Hung in the petition’s call to action. “Restaurants and bars are the front line of defense against the spread of infection and have been the first businesses ordered to close by many local governments state and countrywide.  Many of these businesses are small, family-owned operations and cannot sustain these lengthy, government-mandated closures.”

To participate in The Great American Takeout event, social media sharing is being encouraged through the use of hashtag #thegreatamericantakeout, supporting local restaurants by ordering delivery or pick-up take out meals, and sharing photos on social media.

Photo by Monique A. LeBleu. A classic cheeseburger at Pie n’ Burger, Pasadena, California, Wednesday, October 25, 2017. Pie n’ Burger is open for take-out and delivery during California’s statewide stay-at-home and social distancing mandates.

More from The L.A. Beat on local restaurants offering take out:

Curbside Service and Community Support from The Bellwether in Studio City

About Monique A. LeBleu

Monique A. LeBleu is a writer, photographer, videographer, and shameless foodie and wineaux. A love of film history and a background in film production, post-production, and film theory provide unique insights into her movie reviews. As well, a background in technical theater fuels her passion on all-things theater. As a foodie, living in the ever-growing and diverse culinary landscape that is the City of Los Angeles feeds her never-ending pursuit of the perfect comfort food—the world's best Mac n' Cheese!
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