OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A nationwide social media push with a cheery name is drawing attention to the dire situation for restaurants across the country and especially in Oklahoma.
Restaurants across the country are promoting “Great American Takeout,” a move encouraging people to get takeout for at least one meal Tuesday, March 24, but the need for continued diners and support goes far past the day.
“It’s huge, it is absolutely huge,” said Rococo owner Bruce Rinehart. “Think how intertwined our industry is in everyday life.”
Right now, he’s focused on pushing takeout and delivery orders to keep employees paid, and his long-time business from going under.
“I’m on an emotional rollercoaster,” he said. “So times when I’m good and times when I’m not.”
He said banks, property owners, and businesses he works with are doing what they can to help, but he knows it won’t last forever.
That’s why his restaurant is one of those pushing #GreatAmericanTakeout.
“If you want to keep anything that’s not a major chain open, you have to eat there,” said Jonathan Unruh.
He and his wife are Enid natives and have owned franchise burger joint Wayback Burgers in Edmond for about four years.
The restaurant was having a record week at the beginning of March, then everything tanked overnight.
“It’s just like any small business, it’s hard to start but it was really picking up, and then it just- it’s kind of soul-crushing when you just fall off a cliff like that,” Unruh said.
Several of his employees have opted to stay home away from the public while others went to work to help he and his wife continue to try and serve takeout orders.
Business has dropped about 80-percent, and they haven’t even reached half of the goal for the month.
Unruh understands that as a sit down restaurant, the food is best the moment it’s ready, so customers may not be inclined to opt for it.
However, if people don’t continue to support local restaurants, he said many won’t be able to remain open much longer.
“It’s very stressful. The home life has even been stressful because all you think about is the store,” Unruh said. “There have been days where we only did like $200 which is, you might as well not even open those days.”
The ripple effect is already devastating to what was the city’s fastest growing industry.
“A lot of folks aren’t going to have anything to come back to after this,” Rinehart said.