Who's hungry? At LLPR, we always are. We live to eat. When we're not cooking, we're reading recipes and restaurant reviews. During the formative years of this firm, some of our first clients were restaurants and, although we've shifted our focus to nonprofits, we remain passionate about Atlanta's robust dining community.
While everyone has been impacted by the pandemic, the restaurant industry was devastated. According to the National Restaurant Association, foodservice sales fell $255 billion, forcing as many as 110,000 restaurants to close since the start of the COVID shutdown.
In addition, nearly 2 million restaurant workers lost their jobs, a decline of 16% from pre-pandemic levels. Adding insult to an already severely injured industry, now that we're getting back to "normal," restaurants are struggling to staff back up. For reasons ranging from employees moving on to different industries, fear of COVID or remaining on unemployment benefits, the struggle to hire back has forced restaurants to leave tables empty, offer hiring incentives and jack up prices to meet higher wages.
The restaurant industry was already a place for passionate people to follow their dreams. The Food Network makes it look glamorous, but until you work a double shift on the floor of a high volume restaurant, you can't imagine how hard it is. Now the pandemic comes along and strips these folks of their dreams and their livelihood.
Who's hungry? You are!!
With these current challenges in mind, Open Hand kicks offDining Out For Lifethis week. But they're turning the tables on what had been a dine-in proposition to include take-out, curbside pick-up and delivery. And instead of donating 25% of your check to the cause, the restaurants who have supported this amazing event over the past 30 years will benefit completely from your patronage.
So eat early and often through May 2 at participating restaurants.
You can also donate to Open Hand on behalf of these restaurants. And you should! It will help Open Hand continue to provide nearly 5,000 nutritious meals daily to folks battling chronic disease and disability to live healthier, more independent lives. Remember, the folks they serve are also the most vulnerable to COVID, and the meals provide sustenance and peace of mind during this time of crisis.