Mass Rest Assc. COVID-19 Update March 21, 2020

March 21, 2020
Massachusetts Restaurant Association
Unemployment Insurance - update from the department

To help with the increased demand on the unemployment system, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and the Department of Unemployment Assistance will be hosting virtual town hall meetings. We will take all who sign up through a step by step process of achieving a successful unemployment claim. We will also be taking questions from claimants across the Commonwealth. Applicants should file for benefits at .
The first virtual town hall will be held this Sunday, March 22nd, at 3:30pm. Sign up information for the virtual town hall is available at . A Spanish language town hall will be held on Tuesday at 9am and additional language town halls shortly thereafter. 

To further help claimants through the process of applying for benefits, we have made specific web page updates that include the latest guidance for employee qualifications and additional resources like contact forms and a COVID-19 specific unemployment claim handbook that can be viewed at .
The MRA continues to push for alcohol to be included as part of the to go and delivery process.
Maximizing guest satisfaction with to go order s:
Thank you to the 99 Restaurants for sharing their policies on properly executed to go orders.
6 Steps to an Accurate To Go Order :
1) a) Phone in orders: After taking the order from the Guest, repeat the order back to the guest before sending and then give them their total.
b) Online orders: Remove check from Host printer, highlight Guest’s paid or unpaid line, write “NP” for unpaid and circle, check for accuracy and hang on Host To Go dupe rail.
2) When the To Go box comes up in the window garnish appropriately and write on the box the Guest’s name, what’s in it and anything special about it; example no tomato, extra blue cheese.
3) When the order is complete (we never bag incomplete orders) place the boxes in the bag in either the order of the slip, or by checking them off the slip as you place the boxes in the bag.
4) Staple the kitchen slip to the bag. (For 2 or more bags mandatory orange stickers to keep track of the number of bags in an Guest’s order)
5) Bring the completed To Go order to the To Go podium and match the Guest check on the dupe rail with the slip on the bag and staple the Guest check to the bag.
6) All Curbside Guests must be greeted immediately when they pull into our designated parking spot, regardless if the order is ready or not. If the order is ready bring the bag out and repeat the order back to the Guest. Thank the Guest and collect payment if needed. If the order is not ready, greet the Guest, let them know you are working on their order. Immediately repeat their order back to them and process payment. This will save you a step later. Let the Guest know you will have their order out as soon as possible. Be aware of time and don’t let the Guest sit in their car waiting too long. Utilize the Quality Guarantee if the order is taking too long.
No matter the operation, operators should ensure that guests continue to practice social distancing when picking up orders.
3rd Party Delivery
Operators should be sure to check the fine print on all 3rd party delivery contracts and links. Some of the companies out there are promoting zero commission transactions. In reality, some of these companies are deferring commissions until April. In any crisis, there is always somebody looking to take advantage of you.
Boston Medical Center supply request
For any operation that has suspended operations, there might be supplies of gloves or sanitation products sitting around and there is a critical need for these products at the BMC. Any operation that may have supplies to be donated is encouraged to contact Matt Kilty at Trinity ( who will arrange for supplies to be picked up and delivered to Boston Medical Center.
Together we survive
As you may have seen in earlier updates the MRA has partnered with Restaurant Strong Fund to support displaced hourly tipped employees and Rally For Restaurants to support restaurant revenue through gift card sales. As of yesterday our partners at Toast POS who are driving this program downloaded all MRA Member Restaurants into the data base so your loyal customers can support you through gift card sales. The link is above and below so please go there and ensure that your restaurant is participating. If for some reason it was missed you may complete the info quickly in about five minutes. You should then through all of your social medial channels push this out to your customer base.  Again the links for these two program are:
This week we also had three of our local Grocer Chains reach out with offers to assist displaced employees with job opportunities. To follow is the link to apply for position and contact information for each of the grocers. 
Sample Letter to Employees that will experience a reduction in hours.
(Reminder, any employee that has reduced hours is eligible to file for UI)
Dear Recipient Name:

Due to a steep decline in business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made the difficult, but necessary, decision to significantly reduce your work hours. Consequently, your wages have been and will be negatively impacted due to a lack of work during this national tragedy.

We look forward to being able to return to normal operations once the national emergency has passed. Until such time, you can expect your work hours to be significantly reduced.

If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to speak to any of our restaurant managers.