When expanded outdoor seating — crucial for eateries to serve nearer to “normal” customer capacity — goes away with the cold and indoor dining remains limited, for now, at 50 percent to prevent the spread of COVID-19, restaurants expect to see a significant drop in sales. That means patronage, in the form of takeout or in-person dining, from the community will soon become an even more vital lifeline to help favorite local eateries outlast a potentially grim winter.
Enter the Spokane Hospitality Coalition, a group of more than, at this writing, 90 locally owned restaurants that have banded together to promote themselves and the safety guidelines that everyone — staff and customers both — needs to follow to ensure businesses can safely survive the pandemic.
“Our goal is to provide local restaurants with the support they need to survive — putting butts in seats — educate restaurant owners and the public to ever-changing rules and regulations, and support the community that supports us,” says coalition co-director London Harris.
The group, which has an online presence at save509.com, was founded by local restaurateurs Chad White (Zona Blanca, High Tide Lobster Bar and more), Mark Starr (David’s Pizza) and Matt Goodwin (Backyard Public House, Barnwood Social Kitchen & Tavern and more).
The coalition is also partnering with the city of Spokane and Spokane Regional Health District in a pledge to follow improved safety and sanitation guidelines, all outlined on its website.
“We wanted to simplify things, non-politically, to get numbers down and save our jobs,” Harris says.
To that end, the coalition’s main message is for community members to follow the “Three Ws:” wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance.
To promote its mission while also giving back, the Spokane Hospitality Coalition is next hosting an event this Wednesday, Oct. 7, that supports victims of the September fire that destroyed the Palouse town of Malden.
Hospitality for Hope will see each participating restaurant donate 10 percent of net sales from Oct. 7 to support fire relief efforts. Customers can also support by purchasing a $10 or more gift card from any participating restaurant to be donated to Malden fire victims. By doing so, they'll be able to order a beer for just $1.