Panera, Visa, PepsiCo among brands supporting 'Great American Takeout'

The initiative asks consumers to order to-go meals on Tuesday to support the restaurant industry.

Restaurants are empty as Americans are sheltering in place. A social-media campaign is in place to encourage people to order takeout on Tuesday in support of workers.

The Great American Takeout is being promoted on the social accounts of various regional and national chains, including Panera Bread, Noodles & Company, The Habit and Torchy’s Tacos. It also gained the support of Visa and PepsiCo on Monday. 

"This is no longer about the survival of individual restaurants," said Russ Bendel, chief executive officer of Irvine, Calif.-based The Habit Burger Grill. "It’s about the future of our industry. And time has run out. Together, we must act to support each other and our communities in unprecedented ways."

Consumers are being asked to order in on Tuesday and encourage friends and family to do the same, via their social accounts, and then to post pictures of their takeout meals. 

Agency High, Wide & Handsome reached out to restaurants, including clients Veggie Grill, El Torito and Chevy’s, to initiate the program, which continues to expand.

"Today Visa said it would start spreading the word and I know Pepsi said they’d start spreading the word," said John Truscott, founder and president at High, Wide & Handsome in Culver City, Calif. "I have contacts at Visa and I got in touch with them and they decided to use their channels to promote it to all of the channels they use to talk to their users, both consumer and trade."

Veggie Grill reached out to their contacts at Pepsico to get their social support. 

"We just got Farmer Boys on board," said Zach Rosenberg, founder of Zach Rosenberg Consulting, who joined forces with the ad agency. "We are reaching out to other restaurant chains in support of the High, Wide & Handsome initiative."

DoorDash, the San Francisco-based delivery service, launched an ad campaign late last week, #OpenforDelivery, promoting the same concept of supporting restaurant workers by ordering in. 

In a class move, the DoorDash spot was restaurant-industry focused and only contained a brief, brand logo at the end of the ad.

The spot describes how restaurants are part of celebrations, first dates and busy lives. "Even though tables are empty the kitchens are full," goes a key copy point. 

Social media feeds and email accounts are filled with restaurant messages assuring consumers of safety precautions

Domino’s Pizza is promoting "contactless delivery," following the lead set by Chipotle, Uber Eats, Postmates and others last week.

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