WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Restaurants are among the hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak, with many forced to lay off scores of employees as they transition to carry-out only or close entirely.
However, one D.C.-based restaurant group is hoping to buck the trend, with a creative idea to keep their employees working.
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Inside the kitchen of The Hamilton in Downtown Washington DC, the plan is already in action, as rows of paper bags replace the usual fine china.
John McDonnell is the COO of Clyde’s Restaurant Group, which owns The Hamilton. He says, ”There’s a lot of generous people out there who want to know how to help, there is and there’s gonna be an increase amount of people who need to get fed and don’t know where to turn and there are restaurants who can be the middle man and get that food cooked and keep people employed.”
His group has already laid off 1,600 employees, with only 175 remaining. They’re providing daily employee meals and a relief fund for those who’ve lost their jobs, but he’s hoping their new partnership with Martha’s Table will bring at least some of his employees back.
President and CEO Kim R. Ford, hopes so too, explaining that, ”You get to keep people emloyed and you get a great hot meal to those who would really benefit from those supports.”
The initiative is called “Food it Forward." It lets the public purchase hot meals for D.C. community members in need, aiming to get restaurant employees back in the kitchen and get restaurant-quality food on family tables.
By the weekend, McDonnell says the program will be pushing out 700 orders per day. It’s a number he hopes will continue to grow, along with the program.
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Clyde’s has already partnered with Knead Hospitality and aims to find additional restaurant and distribution partners in Virginia and Maryland as well.
McDonnell says, as the program grows, he’s looking forward to calling his employees back to work.
It costs $54 to purchase meals for a family of four and $13 for an individual. For more information about how you can help, visit www.FoodItForwardDC.com.