GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The state's restaurant and lodging association is pushing both businesses and customers alike to use their Carry Out Michigan web application to help make remote ordering more accessible during COVID-related shutdowns.
Carry Out Michigan was initially launched this summer by the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association to help connect restaurants across the state with customers. They are now pushing folks to use it once again following the 3 week ban on in-person dining issued by the MDHHS last week.
There are now about 500 restaurants up on this site, which can be found HERE.
“As a result from being shut down for about 85 days already in the Spring, we've seen about 2,000 Michigan restaurants alone permanently close their doors,” said Emily Daunt, VP of Communications and Operations with the MRLA.
“If things continue to be shut down for dine-in again, we're projected to see 6,000, which is almost half of Michigan restaurants, permanently close.”
There is no cost for customers or restaurant owners to use the site.
“It's sole purpose is to get consumers connected to Michigan restaurants,” Daunt told FOX 17.
The web application makes it easier for folks to find new favorites in their area, places like Flo's Pizzeria on Plainfield Ave.
“These past few months have been extremely difficult for our company," Davide Uccello, owner of Flo's, told FOX 17 Monday afternoon.
“Regularly, out of all our restaurants, about 30% of sales come from take-out and delivery. Now, you have to figure out how to take the 70% of sales that you’ve lost, and try to convert as many of those sales to take-out and delivery.”
Uccello says that right now, any outside assistance, like being included on Carry Out Michigan, is appreciated.
“It will catch on. Our staff knows were on it, we tell people about it... So I think it's a good program and it will continue to do well,” Uccello said.
“Just 1 more way... to attract business. Whatever we can do to attract customers, we will.”
With 4 restaurants and a catering company to oversee, they have had to get creative the past few months.
They have tried to lay off or furlough as few employees as possible, and have even started an internal program to provide additional financial assistance to employees struggling.
So, hop on the site, find what is cooking up near you, and place an order.
And if you're looking for gift ideas right now, and want to help support local restaurants, Uccello says the best thing to buy are: “Gift cards"
"And try not to use those gift cards until we fully open again. That will give restaurants those dollars they need to continue to pay their bills, and you’ll have value at the end, so it’s a win win.”