The Great American Takeout was a successful venture that helped drive up sales on March 24, 2020. It was a shot in the arm to struggling restaurant chains and signaled how important it is to support these businesses in during the COVID-19 outbreak. Another takeout day occurred on March 31, 2020 and there could be more of these days ahead as stay-at-home orders extend through the month of April. In the meantime, these restaurants are doing their part to give back to the communities by donating meals and even opening up as makeshift grocery stores.

Grocery stores are facing a shortage of supplies and empty shelves have caused widespread concern among shoppers. Restaurant chains have taken notice and turned to their own pantries to find that their shelves are fully stocked. To provide much need relief to grocery stores and shoppers, more restaurants around the country have begun opening up as temporary grocery stores. Restaurants often keep large amounts of essentials like eggs, rice, and even toilet paper on hand. By selling these items in bulk to consumers, they have been able to keep their employees working and the “doors” open. Jason’s Deli and Dog Haus International LLC are a few of the restaurants participating in this trend with Dog Haus calling itself Haus Market. These grocery restaurants can reduce crowds at grocers and help us all adhere to social distancing and CDC guidelines. By offering these items as a carryout and delivery with little to no human contact, restaurant chains are providing a safe alternative to grocery stores.

The decision to pivot business strategy has also reached peripheral restaurant services like the popular Open Table. With all dining rooms in the U.S. closed, which is the main function of their service, Open Table has found a way to help the fight against COVID-19. The company has updated their software to allow customers to find restaurants near them that offer grocery items like eggs and toilet paper. They have also partnered with local grocery stores to allow customers to reserve shopping times. These two new services will reduce crowds at stores and hopefully help slow the spread of the virus. Chain Store Guide is contributing to Open Table’s efforts by supplying crucial market intelligence necessary to launch and fulfill this project.

In addition to selling bulk grocery items, some chains have rolled out new menu items to better serve the  circumstances we find ourselves in. Boston Market is helping families prepare for Easter by offering take and bake meals for a family of twelve. Chronic Tacos has taken a similar route as they are now offering family kits and Juice It Up! has launched a new berry bowl aimed at giving immune systems a natural boost. Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc. has debuted new meat offerings to sell alongside grocery supplies at its restaurants. These innovative items will help provide for families while complying with the critical stay at home orders.

Frontline workers are the most vulnerable during this crisis and several restaurant chains have answered the call to provide relief. KFC has donated over 1 million pieces of chicken to communities in need.  Coolgreens will be donating a salad to local hospitals for every salad that they sell and Pieology Pizzeria has pizza packs that customers can buy for healthcare workers. These are just a few of the chains who are donating supplies to keep those helping our communities safe.

Chain Store Guide is the leading provider of essential market information and key contact data for the foodservice industry. We have assisted companies through The Great Depression, the Recession, and the Coronavirus Pandemic. It’s time for suppliers to meet the demands of not just the grocery segment, but the restaurant as well. With more demand on delivered food and supplies, manufacturers are called to step in and fulfil this need. Let’s get started to help America.