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To rescue restaurants, this new campaign asks people to pledge to spend $25 per week on takeout

Local group also raising funds for people in need

Taverna co-owner Hakan Bala hands customer John Fitton his takeout order in the Palo Alto restaurant's closed dining room on March 17, 2020. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

It hit Jan Altman when her friend and local restaurateur John Lee told her he was losing money every day during the pandemic.

"I just thought, 'I've got to do something,'" she said.

That something is Restaurant Rescue, a new, grassroots campaign encouraging people to order from restaurants in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto. Restaurant Rescue is asking people to spend $25 per week on takeout meals from now until the end of May in the hopes it will help bolster local eateries that have suffered losses during the coronavirus.

Altman and a group of local residents have been working on Restaurant Rescue for months, meeting on Zoom and tweaking their campaign to best fit local needs. Most of them Altman has never met before. They responded to her Nextdoor post asking for volunteers to help create a campaign to support restaurants. The team now includes about 30 people, including representatives from the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce and local restaurant owners.

They hope there will be power in numbers: The more people that order takeout (and pick it up themselves if possible to save restaurants costly third party delivery fees) and share the Restaurant Rescue "takeout pledge" with friends, neighbors and on social media, the more revenue for restaurants. They're in the process of translating the pledge into Spanish.

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Restaurant Rescue also created a Facebook group for participants to share what they're eating. Altman said they'll also encourage restaurant owners to post special offers to the group.

For people who don't live in the area but want to contribute, they launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for people facing food insecurity. The money will be used to purchase discounted DoorDash gift certificates, which East Palo Alto nonprofit WeHope will distribute to people in need — whose orders will in turn support restaurants. (Restaurant Rescue will keep 5% of donations to cover its expenses.)

Altman, a retired consultant who's lived in downtown Palo Alto for over two decades, said love for her community and a desire to sustain the local food world gives her "a reason to wake up in the morning."

"We love eating out and it's just a natural thing that we care about what happens to the restaurant industry in our hometown," Altman said.

Anyone who's interested in joining the Restaurant Rescue team or has feedback about the campaign can email [email protected] For more information, go to restaurantrescue.org.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

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To rescue restaurants, this new campaign asks people to pledge to spend $25 per week on takeout

Local group also raising funds for people in need

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Feb 16, 2021, 3:23 pm

It hit Jan Altman when her friend and local restaurateur John Lee told her he was losing money every day during the pandemic.

"I just thought, 'I've got to do something,'" she said.

That something is Restaurant Rescue, a new, grassroots campaign encouraging people to order from restaurants in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto. Restaurant Rescue is asking people to spend $25 per week on takeout meals from now until the end of May in the hopes it will help bolster local eateries that have suffered losses during the coronavirus.

Altman and a group of local residents have been working on Restaurant Rescue for months, meeting on Zoom and tweaking their campaign to best fit local needs. Most of them Altman has never met before. They responded to her Nextdoor post asking for volunteers to help create a campaign to support restaurants. The team now includes about 30 people, including representatives from the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce and local restaurant owners.

They hope there will be power in numbers: The more people that order takeout (and pick it up themselves if possible to save restaurants costly third party delivery fees) and share the Restaurant Rescue "takeout pledge" with friends, neighbors and on social media, the more revenue for restaurants. They're in the process of translating the pledge into Spanish.

Restaurant Rescue also created a Facebook group for participants to share what they're eating. Altman said they'll also encourage restaurant owners to post special offers to the group.

For people who don't live in the area but want to contribute, they launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for people facing food insecurity. The money will be used to purchase discounted DoorDash gift certificates, which East Palo Alto nonprofit WeHope will distribute to people in need — whose orders will in turn support restaurants. (Restaurant Rescue will keep 5% of donations to cover its expenses.)

Altman, a retired consultant who's lived in downtown Palo Alto for over two decades, said love for her community and a desire to sustain the local food world gives her "a reason to wake up in the morning."

"We love eating out and it's just a natural thing that we care about what happens to the restaurant industry in our hometown," Altman said.

Anyone who's interested in joining the Restaurant Rescue team or has feedback about the campaign can email [email protected] For more information, go to restaurantrescue.org.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

Mark
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Feb 17, 2021 at 1:06 pm
Mark, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 1:06 pm

Restaurant Rescue is a good idea. But what causes me to buy takeout sparingly now is that all the dishes seem to come in plastic. I’d but more if they were compostable.


[email protected]
Registered user
another community
on Feb 17, 2021 at 1:26 pm
[email protected], another community
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 1:26 pm

There should also be a Bar Rescue effort where patrons can purchase on-site liquor at a bar and then partake in it off-site as in anywhere (except while operating a motor vehicle).

$25.00 is an easy bar tab for most.


The Voice of Palo Alto
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Feb 17, 2021 at 5:38 pm
The Voice of Palo Alto, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Feb 17, 2021 at 5:38 pm

Restaurant Rescue is a fantastic idea. I feel sorry for these restaurant owners and also the small business owners that have taken a terrible hit during the pandemic. There is a lot of things here, a FaceBook page to discuss food, an email for contact, and a GoFundMe page set up, but is the “pledge idea” just an informal one? I think it would be cool to have a centralized page where they can list restaurants that need support or have people post which restaurants they have supported with the $25.00 pledge. In fact, I would easily double that pledge each week. Thank you Jan Altman!


Javier
Registered user
another community
on Feb 18, 2021 at 2:34 pm
Javier , another community
Registered user
on Feb 18, 2021 at 2:34 pm

It would even be more beneficial if wealthy Palo Altans tipped a restaurant worker an occasional $25.00 regardless of the price of their take-out order.

Many restaurant workers are undocumented immigrants struggling to provide for themselves and their families.

The restaurant owners know this and often pay them below minimum wage in exchange for a menial job and anonymity.


Kc
Registered user
Barron Park
on Feb 19, 2021 at 11:37 am
Kc, Barron Park
Registered user
on Feb 19, 2021 at 11:37 am

What if we bought a gift certificate in May 2020 and now the restaurant has a for lease sign by on the door? I guess we supported but were never able the use it. Too bad.


MM
Registered user
another community
on Feb 19, 2021 at 3:30 pm
MM, another community
Registered user
on Feb 19, 2021 at 3:30 pm

Nice idea, but support and respect goes two ways.

Today, I bought an expensive takeaway meal from a well-known small chain restaurant just off 101 in Redwood Shores. As a mask-less employee approached from the indoor food-prep area to the indoor cash register, he put on a mask when he got within ten feet of me.

I do not know if this youngish employee has a medical condition for which wearing a mask is contraindicated. I suspect relatively few people in general have such a condition. I also suspect this employee just does not want to, and therefore will not, wear a mask.

According to the California Covid-19 hotline, which I called today, all restaurant employees in San Mateo County must wear a mask at all times when they are on the job. Only people for whom wearing a mask is medically contraindicated are excepted. The person manning the hotline does not know if food can be contaminated when it is prepared by, or when it is prepared in the very near presence of, someone who does not wear a mask at all times when they work in a restaurant.

Today was the first time I had visited the restaurant in a year. I’d patronized this restaurant for decades until 2020.

Out of an abundance of caution, I threw out my takeaway without having touched the food. Until Covid-19 is well and truly behind us, I will not return to this or any other restaurant from this particular chain.

My point? If restaurants want people to support them, restaurant employees must do their part by respecting their fellow employees and their customers. Wear a mask at all times when you are on the job in a restaurant. If you cannot wear a mask, should you work in a restaurant?

If you own or manage a restaurant and you can not or you will not enforce your employees to wear a mask (or two) at all times when they are on the job, why should I support your restaurant?

As I said, respect and support goes both ways.


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