KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Downtown Council of Kansas City, Missouri, is encouraging people to order carryout or delivery beginning Wednesday from a downtown restaurant every Wednesday through the end of March.
The organization launched the KC Carryout Challenge this week in an effort to support restaurants hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After the holidays is traditionally, a very tough time for restaurants,” Jared Campbell, resident engagement project manager for Downtown Council KC, said. “People are tightening their belts, both physically and figuratively with spending and eating out. We know the winter months can be bleak.”
Campbell and other organizers hope the challenge helps restaurants survive the until April when hopefully more people will have received COVID-19 vaccinations and the weather improves, allowing for more outdoor dining.
During the pandemic, Campbell estimates 10 to 12% of the more than 300 restaurants, bars and cafes in the downtown area have closed either permanently or temporarily due to the pandemic.
Campbell considers the greater downtown area to extend from the Missouri River south to 31st Street and from State Line Road east to Woodland Avenue.
Spokes Cafe and Cyclery is among the businesses still open.
The managing partner of the combination coffee and bicycle shop says he’s adapted his business to more of a carryout model during the pandemic. Plus he cut hours and staffing due to a decrease in demand.
“Most of our business for breakfast and lunch are people working in the offices downtown stopping on their way in first thing in the morning or over lunch," Dan Walsh, managing partner at Spokes Cafe and Cyclery, said. "The fact that most of the banks, most of the major employers, are working from home, it’s pretty significantly impacted our business.”
Walsh supports the KC Carryout Challenge. He thinks the social media aspect of the initiative will help motivate people to support local restaurants.
“(The challenge) is the impetus to do buy local,” Walsh said. “People know we exist. People know what Spokes is. It’s really getting people to then go on our website and order what the food is.”
When people participate in the challenge, they can become eligible for a $50 gift card to a downtown restaurant during a weekly raffle.
To enter the drawing, people should simply post a picture of their meals on social media on a Wednesday tagging @DowntownDish and including #KCCarryoutChallenge.
The council will announce the winner on its weekly Downtown Dish YouTube episode.
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