After more than a year of struggle—through closures, takeout only, outdoor dining and then restricted indoor seating—New Jersey restaurants continue to need help. DoorDash, the meal delivery company, stepped forward to offer grants of $2,500 or $5,000. More than 400 restaurants applied for the grants, and the 120 winners are receiving their checks this week.
“DoorDash required that the restaurants be in New Jersey, not part of any chain or national brand and have five locations or less,” explains Marilou Halvorsen, president of the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association, which administered the project and assembled the judging committee. “And they had to show a 30 percent loss in revenue year-to-year from 2019 to 2020. The requirements took a lot of people out of the pool.”
Applications were printed in English and Spanish. “Not everybody supplied all the information that was needed, and unfortunately that eliminated a lot of people, but I didn’t have time to call them back,” she says. “The committee wanted to be good about diversity—and not just diversity but different kinds of restaurants, locations all around the state and then what the grants would be used for.
“Some applicants wanted to hire a marketing company, but we wanted to make sure the money was going for immediate needs—to pay rent, make payroll or buy supplies, things they need to do to survive.
“After we vetted out those who met all the requirements, it took us three two-hour Zoom calls to work out all the decisions. At the end of the day, the need outweighs the amount of money we were able to give, but it was very generous of DoorDash.
“Hopefully we’ll see more companies stepping up to help. It’s nice that DoorDash is giving back. I’d like to see Uber Eats and Grubhub do the same thing.”
Some of the 120 restaurants that received grants include Mad Batter Restaurant, Barrio Costero, Asbury Festhall & Biergarten, REYLA, Stage Left Steak, Catherine Lombardi, Langosta Lounge, Choc O Pain, Sapori Trattoria, Calandra’s Mediterranean Grill, H2Ocean Restaurant and Raw Bar, Maywood Inn’s Twin Door Tavern, Braddock’s, The Jug Handle Inn, Otts Medford and more.Click here to leave a comment