Still-struggling restaurants renew appeal to take it to go

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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“The Great American Takeout” is coming back – just in time for its first anniversary.

Initially introduced in March 2020 by a coalition of quick-service and fast-casual food chains including Panera Bread, Noodles & Company, Veggie Grill, El Torito, Jason’s Deli, The Habit Burger Grill, Lemonade, Modern Market, and Chevys Fresh Mex, The Great American Takeout returns as a one-day event on March 24, 2021. 

The coalition is launching the event, called “The Great American Takeout: One Year, Still Here,” in partnership with CPG companies PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company, Nestlé Professional, Rich Products, Tyson Foods, Constellation Brands, Smithfield Culinary, Keurig Dr Pepper, International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) and Georgia-Pacific Pro.

During The Great American Takeout, consumers are encouraged to order at least one delivery or pick-up meal to show support for the struggling restaurant sector. Data from the National Restaurant Association indicates that more than 110,000 restaurants and bars have closed nationwide during the pandemic, with nearly 2.5 million jobs lost, and many restaurants continue to rely on takeout orders to stay open.

To participate, on March 24, consumers can order a takeout or delivery meal, then take a picture of their meal and post it on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #TheGreatAmericanTakeout. For every takeout order shared on social media on March 24, The Great American Takeout's sponsors will donate $10 to the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and CORE: Children of Restaurant Employees (up to $555,000 combined).

"The past year has been devastating for our industry and the millions of people it employs," said Rob Gifford, president, NRAEF. "We're grateful to The Great American Takeout and its sponsors for their generous support as we continue to help our restaurants and restaurant workers rebuild and get back on their feet."

"One year into the pandemic, food and beverage service employees still need our help," said Sheila Bennett, executive director of CORE. "We encourage Americans to participate in The Great American Takeout to support food and beverage service industry employees with children."