TACOMA, Wash. - When was the last time you and your family went out to eat?
A new program offered to restaurant owners in the South Sound is meant to entice diners back to their favorite places for a sit-down meal with up to 30% off their bill.
Beginning November 8, the ‘Restaurant Rally’ program kicks off and aims to keep local businesses afloat and their employees on-the-clock.
“You’re going to have to bear with me,” said teary-eyed bartender Marci Coyne. “I’m the emotional one in the Doyle’s family.”
The thought of having to say goodbye to her co-workers pushed Coyne’s to tears. It’s a worry she has held onto ever since her world changed back in March.
“We didn’t know what the next day was going to bring,” she said. “It’s been difficult.”
Coyne has worked at Doyle’s Public House in Tacoma for three years. The owner says to-go orders have helped the business scrape by and somehow none of the employees were laid off since the beginning of the economic downtown.
Health regulations slashed indoor seating for restaurants that offer indoor dining. The program could help make sure those seats stay filled.
“If you could have a chance to save on your bill and help a community restaurant,” said Doyle’s owner Russ Heaton. “It’s a win-win right there.”
Beginning Monday Pierce County full-service restaurant owners will be allowed to apply online to enroll in the program. Federal CARES Act funding would cover 30% of a customer’s food items but discounts for alcohol purchases will not be allowed.
The Swiss, an icon in Tacoma, did not survive the economic downturn. The Washington Hospitality Association estimates 35% of restaurants across the state have already closed for good.
‘Restaurant Rally’ aims to lure diners back to their favorite haunts and give them a chance to see first-hand how businesses are working to keep them safe.
“What we want is the chance to show off all the steps we’ve made,” said association CEO Anthony Anton. “If you haven’t been out to dine since this started you’re going to see why the transmission rates in restaurants are so low in Washington.”
Some customers think the program could help both employees and business owners alike.
“I don’t see why this wouldn’t be a great program to entice more customers to come out and stimulate the economy,” said Joshua Roberts visiting the City of Destiny.
Only owners of full-service restaurants operating in Pierce County are eligible to apply. The program lasts for two weeks and launches on November 8th.
All customers have to do to partake in ‘Restaurant Rally’ is show up and they will see the savings on their bill.
Heaton plans to apply for the relief. The rally is a light of hope for his employee Coyne and a way to share gratitude for their customers.
“One of the best places I’ve worked,” she said.
Business owners seeking more information or wishing to apply for the program can find more information here.