Restaurant tech company Toast today announced a $35 million relief plan for restaurants as winter begins and the pandemic continues to disrupt normal operations.
The Boston, Massachusetts-based company said today this “relief package” is in response to the status of the RESTAURANTS act, which is part of a larger stimulus plan and therefore currently stalled in Congress. Were it to pass, a $120 billion grant program would be available for those in the restaurant industry impacted by the pandemic. The point, however, is that it hasn’t passed yet, winter is here, and many restaurants are on the brink of permanent closure if they don’t receive assistance.
Toast’s Winter Restaurant Recovery Fund is not near the size of the $120 billion figure of the aforementioned legislation, but it could provide a temporary boost to restaurants in some areas.
The fund is available to Toast’s current customers. Through it, restaurants can access funding they can put towards winterization (aka, making outdoor dining feasible in cold weather) and working capital needs. They will also receive a one-month software credit for their current Toast tech stack and complementary access to the company’s online ordering, payroll, and marketing products. Finally, restaurant customers will also be allowed to pass their one-month software credit on to another restaurant (that doesn’t have to be a Toast customer) facing greater hardships.
According to the Toast website, restaurants do not have to take any extra steps in order to activate their one-month credit. For the funding portion of this relief package, restaurants will need to apply.
Toast has been quick to respond to restaurant industry needs brought on by the pandemic. In March, just as COVID numbers were rising and businesses closing, the company launched an initial relief plan and, like others, eliminated software fees for restaurant customers. Over the last several months, it has also released a slew of new products and features geared towards native delivery and contactless order/payments.
The restaurant industry in all likelihood stills need major assistance from Congress. (Honestly, it probably just needs a bailout.) In the meantime, assistance packages like those from Toast and other restaurant tech companies are able to provide some breathing room and help businesses keep the lights on one more week.