Great American Takeout campaign urging everyone in Northeast Ohio to order at least 1 meal to go today

Great American Takeout campaign urging everyone in Northeast Ohio to order at least 1 meal to go today
A coalition of restaurants is urging Americans to order at least one carry out meal today to support small businesses. (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -You’ve got to eat, right? Why not help a local business and feed your hunger?

“To say we are overwhelmed would be a massive understatement. Like everyone else in the industry right now, we are learning and adjusting on a day to day, sometimes minute by minute basis. We know the road ahead will be hard, but right now we are hyper focused on not only staying alive, but taking care of our staff, customers, family and community during a time when they need us the most.”
Jenn Wirtz, Owner of Der Braumeister Restaurant

A coalition of restaurants is urging every American to order at least one meal to go today, in support of the struggling restaurant industry.

The Great American Takeout takes place today, and here is what they want you to do:

· -Engage friends, family and colleagues to support their local restaurants by ordering takeout meals.

· -Order delivery or pick-up for at least one meal.

· -Post pictures on social media, using #TheGreatAmericanTakeout.

Who is participating in the #GreatAmericanTakeout today and how? (restaurants and patrons)

Posted by Jen Picciano Cleveland 19 on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

At Der Braumeister in Cleveland, they need approximately $8,000-$9,000 a month to cover fixed-cost expenses and to stay afloat right now, even with reduced staff.

“If we can continue to pull in about $4k per week we will just barely be squeaking by,” said third generation owner, Jenn Wirtz.

Places like Guarino’s in Little Italy say so far, the volume of take-out orders isn’t going to sustain them.

“It’s probably $30,000 of expenses just to remain open for a month, and that’s with us laying off 90% of our staff. To break even we would need to sell $1000 of food per day. We are averaging about $220,” said Scott Phillips Jr., managing partner there.

Places like Zhug, in Cleveland Heights, have transitioned to an all delivery and take-out operation, rather than closing.

Chef/Owner Doug Katz says they’re doing 40-50 take-out or delivery orders per night.

Between closing Fire Food & Drink, Chutney B in the Van Aken District and the Fire Catering Commissary they had to lay off 90 workers.

They’re doing take-out orders to cover the payroll of those they didn’t have to lay off.

'We’ll be lucky if we’re able to do that," Katz said.

Driftwood is operating carryout/pickup at two of their six locations.

At their Green Rooster location downtown, a quick service option serving mostly breakfast and lunch items, they’re currently doing about 20-25% of their pre-shutdown business.

Since the shutdown they extended hours and added some dinner portion items and Family style meals to adjust.

“That is enough money to help cover certain fixed costs but will not be sustainable for the long haul,” said Toby Heintzelman, Director of Operations for Driftwood Restaurants and Catering.

At their other location, The Welshfield Inn in Burton, where they’re doing pick up/carry-out, they’re only doing about 15 percent of their pre-shutdown numbers.

“While we offer beer and wine, we do not get the full menu and beverage alcohol sales. Every Dollar helps and the community is appreciative of the ability to get good food during these times,” Heintzelman said.

Only two of the restaurants within the Zack Bruell Group are offering carry-out options, Parallax Restaurant and Lounge and L’Albatros Brasserie and Bar.

They’re receiving a minimum of six pickup/wine delivery orders at each restaurant daily.

“I don’t know what concrete number of orders we will need to sustain our businesses for the present and the future. To our company, staying open for pickup/wine deliveries is worthwhile because of our obligation to provide high quality food/beverage to our customers, along with our hopeful future continuation of our restaurant operations in order to provide employment to our hardworking employees,” said Julian Bruell.

Bruell says they will continue to provide these services until the government states they otherwise cannot.

'I am not certain how long other restaurants or similar hospitality businesses can sustain this type of business model. I hope during this time that our services being provided will give a small bit of joy for our customers and show our loyalty and gratitude to the people that have supported our restaurant group’s past, current, and hopeful long term success," he said.

At Flour Restaurant in Moreland Hills, they sold more than 100 pizzas on Saturday night (a usual volume is 70-100 on a busy night).

Chef/Partner Matt Mytro and his much-reduced team is offering a limited menu for take-out.

“It’s worth it on multiple levels. It keeps cash flow circulating, keeps the brand alive, and gives everyone hope,” he said.

At Umami in Chagrin Falls, they are matching their normal weekly numbers, but total revenue is donw because of less alcohol sales.

“We were very scared before this started because there was a chance we wouldn’t be able to open back up if we closed our doors for too long of a period,” said partner, Michael Mendlovic.

He says they’ve received amazing support, but he worries about how long they can sustain that support.

“I’m assuming we’ll start to taper off as the weeks go on. I hope that’s not the case, but realistically, it will be difficult to maintain this level for longer than about a month as people become more complacent with the situation,” he said.

“We had a good first week of To Go orders. Many of our regulars came by...and we’re very generous in their tips to our staff,” said James Mowbray, owner of Parkers Grille & Tavern in Avon Lake.

They’ll be kicking off delivery service this week.

“It’s a tough situation, but we’re all hanging in there together,” Mowbray said.

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