• The Schnucks supermarket chain this holiday season gave nearly 14,000 employees $15 gift cards to struggling local restaurants.
  • All told, Schnucks gifted $200,000 to support others in their local ‘food family.’
  • The restaurant industry has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. It’s been estimated that 17% of restaurants across the country have closed since March.

In something of a heartwarming story, the St. Louis-based supermarket chain Schnucks gave its employees $200,000 worth of gift cards this holiday season. What makes the story special, however, is that the gift cards were all for local restaurants that have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus. Chipotle, after all, is likely faring a lot better than your local mom and pop shop.

According to a press released earlier this month, Schnucks said it gave employees $15 gift cards to restaurants located within 5 miles of their given location. All told, Schnucks provided gift cards to nearly 14,000 people.

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The gift cards were given ahead of the Christmas holiday and should provide a nice economic boost to nearby restaurants.

“As many families do this time of year, we wanted to support others in our ‘food family’ – in this case the many local restaurants negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Schnucks CEO Todd Schnuck explained.

“We thought the best way to do this was by offering all of our teammates gift cards to these restaurants near our stores, extending our mission to nourish people’s lives to those many businesses and their employees who help make up the communities that we jointly serve.,” Schnuck added.

Schnucks largely operates in the midwest and has stores across Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

Incidentally, this isn’t the first time Schnuck’s has made an effort to help out local businesses. Back in April, when much of the country was under quarantine, Schnucks started selling “grab and go” meals from local restaurants in its St. Louis-based stores.

“As a part of the St. Louis business community for more than 80 years, we feel we have an obligation to help those local restaurant entrepreneurs and their staffs who have been greatly impacted by the pandemic,” Schnucks President and COO Dave Peacock said at the time. “Schnucks hopes that by supporting local restaurants that our customers will continue to support local businesses too.”

It certainly goes without saying that the restaurant industry has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Over the last few months, thousands of restaurants — some of which have been around for more than 50 years — went out of business on account of the pandemic.

According to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), 17% of restaurants across the U.S. closed this year due to COVID. More specifically, an estimated 100,000 restaurants closed up shop either permanently or for good from February through September.

The NRA also relays that 87% of restaurants this year experienced a 36% drop in sales revenue.

“For an industry with an average profit margin of 5%-6%, this is simply unsustainable,” the association said earlier this month.

Looking ahead, we can only hope that coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna will usher in a return to both indoor and outdoor dining sooner rather than later. In a best-case scenario, Dr. Fauci believes life could return to normal by June.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.