Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger and his wife Kaitlyn just launched a site that lets you see all the local restaurants that are selling gift cards to help them survive the current social-distancing lockdown.
The site is called SaveOurFaves, and it's a directory of Bay Area restaurants selling gift certificates and gift cards — searchable by name or neighborhood, and covering the East Bay, South Bay, Marin, and San Francisco for the moment. It's likely to expand quickly, and Krieger tells TechCrunch that they had 700 restaurants sign up so far, with about 50 email requests coming in per day.
Krieger's sister's partner is a co-owner of The Snug in San Francisco, and the Kriegers were inspired to launch SaveOurFaves after a conversation with him. And the site is similar to another that sprang up this week on the national level called Rally For Restaurants.
"I’ve lived in the Bay Area for over 15 years, and one of the reasons I fell in love with it was the vibrant community of shops, restaurants, cafés, and other businesses," Krieger tells TechCrunch. "It’s been heart-wrenching to see the immediate effect that the shutdown has had on the people working at these places."
SFist has heard from dozens of local restaurants since posting our running list of places that are staying open for takeout and delivery, but such models don't work for many restaurants, especially in the fine dining realm. The coming weeks are likely to be filled with a lot of wrenching stories, and thousands of service-industry workers have already been laid off in San Francisco in just the last few days.
On the plus side, the SF Board of Supervisors is mulling a moratorium on all small-business evictions, to help get through a difficult few months.
One of the bigger stories to bubble up this week was when the Delfina Restaurant Group had to lay off 90 percent of its 300-person workforce and temporarily close two beloved Mission restaurants, Delfina and Locanda — with the fate of both up in the air, but Locanda sounds likely closed for good.
Nightclubs are a different story, and many aren't accustomed to selling gift cards — let alone trying to keep their staffs from going hungry. Members of the LGBTQ nightlife community have launched a fund, the Queer Nightlife Fund, to provide some initial and ongoing support for performers and service-industry workers affected by the shutdown of the city's bars and clubs.
Similarly, the nightclub Public Works has launched a staff support fund to raise a few dollars to help its out-of-work staff members.
The Stud has launched a GoFundMe campaign to "tip our staff," with a currently modest $15,000 goal.
Oasis, in SoMa, has launched its own crowdfunding campaign on IndieGogo with perks to go with donations including VIP seating at an upcoming cabaret show, or a VIP lounge rental for a private gathering at the club at some future time.
"These are tough times for everyone and most importantly, we ask nothing but for each of you to stay afloat yourselves and stay mentally and physically healthy," writes co-owner D'Arcy Drollinger. "But if you’re able, your financial help to pay for our bills is appreciated during a tough period where we have no income."
So, give now and give often! You're stuck inside and likely spending far less on food and drinks the next few weeks, so if you're still employed, you can think of it as your civic and humanitarian duty to help keep your favorite businesses afloat.
Photo: Josh Wilburne