8 ways to help the service industry without going out

Ordering delivery is a direct way to help out your favorite restaurant.

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Ordering delivery is a direct way to help out your favorite restaurant.
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Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
  • Many industries are being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but perhaps none so hard as the service industry.
  • As social distancing and quarantining goes into effect across the nation, restaurants and bars are struggling to stay afloat with a severely diminished client base.
  • There are plenty of ways to help the service industry from the comfort of your own home, from ordering delivery to purchasing a bottle of gin.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Increasing numbers of restaurant workers, and service industry employees at large, are finding themselves out of work as the coronavirus pandemic continues. “This is like 9/11 and [Hurricane] Katrina and the financial crisis all wrapped into one and multiplied,” the president of labor union UNITE HERE, D. Taylor, told the Wall Street Journal.

Though states are requiring restaurants and bars only serve takeout and delivery to customers, there are plenty of ways to help the service industry right now without getting off your couch.

Keep scrolling to learn more about how to help.


One of the easiest ways to support restaurants and their workers from the comfort of your own home is by ordering delivery.

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An Uber Eats biker.
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Neil Hall/Reuters

Whether it’s through apps like Seamless, Uber Eats, Postmates, Grub Hub, etc., via the restaurant’s website, or over the phone, many restaurants are continuing to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic so we can continue getting our favorite foods.

If you need some inspiration, here’s the best restaurant for takeout in every state, and if you have concerns about ordering takeout during this time, here’s advice on how to make sure you’re keeping safe.

Make sure you tip well, if you can!


Another option to help your favorite restaurants is to buy prepaid gift cards that you can use in the future.

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A Visa gift card.
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N Crittenden/Shutterstock

Buying gift cards will help give your favorite food establishments money now while they need it, and also ensure that once the quarantine ends, you’ll have plenty of options for places to visit.

The Dining Bond Initiative is a good place to start when it comes to gift cards. A “dining bond” works like a normal savings bond would – you purchase a dining bond for one value, and then redeem it at a later date for more money. So, for example, you could purchase a $50 dining bond, and when you redeem it months later, it could be worth $60.

Call or email your favorite restaurant to see if they’re part of the network.


Buying a bottle of Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Gin will help bartenders in the US and Canada.

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Ryan Reynolds talking about Aviation Gin on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon.
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YouTube/The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Aviation Gin announced that for every bottle delivered before May 1, it will be donating a 30% “tip” to the United States Bartending Guild, in addition to its $15,000 donation. The company is doing the same for Canada, with a $10,000 donation to the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association, and 30% tips.


Or if you’re more partial to mezcal, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul’s alcohol brand Dos Hombres made an even bigger promise.

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Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston indulged in their new alcohol brand called Dos Hombres.
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Aaron Paul/Instagram

Paul shared the news on Instagram that, until May 5, 100% of the proceeds from online sales of Dos Hombres would be shared between the Bartender’s Guild, the Hospitality Industry Relief Fund, and America’s Food Fund.


Consider donating to the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation’s (RWCF) COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund.

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A chef puts food into takeout boxes.
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Isabella Vosmikova/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

The RWCF addresses labor issues across the restaurant industry, including “wage fairness and career ladders, gender equity and sexual violence, racial justice and support for the immigrant community, and mental health and substance abuse,” according to its website.

The COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund will be split three ways: 50% to direct relief to individual restaurant workers, 25% to non-profit organizations serving restaurant workers in crisis, and 25% to zero-interest loans for restaurants to get them back up and running.


You can also donate to one of the dozens of other charities that are creating funds to help restaurant workers, like Guy Fieri’s Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (RERF).

Fieri partnered with the National Restaurant Association to create the RERF, which “would cover various restaurant staff, including upper management, chefs, servers, and dishwashers,” according to ABC.

There are plenty of other charities to choose from – just look at this list from Food Tank.


A specially designed T-shirt from El Paso’s Proper Printshop will support displaced restaurant workers.

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A food bank.
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Reuters

The special T-shirt, which states “Keep Calm and Stay Strong,” will help workers. Proper Printshop will “donate $10 from the sale of this shirt to Shift-Forward, which covers one hour’s worth of work for displaced restaurant workers.”

You can also donate directly to Get Shift Done, which will pay displaced restaurant workers $10 an hour to work at the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger food bank.


Share helpful information about where people in need can find support.

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Spreadsheets are key.
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Shutterstock

Erin Lowry, author of “Broke Millennial,” has compiled an extremely helpful spreadsheet of information on every aspect of how to handle this crisis, from money-saving tips to where you can grab food, to job leads and mental health resources.

If you’re not in a place to help financially, you can help others by sharing information about how to find support.