A Huge Employee Created a Website to Help Diners Connect with Local US Restaurants During Shutdowns

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'Dining at a Distance' was launched by Huge Chicago's Sean Lynch and PR agency Grapevine owner Jenn Galdes
A Huge Employee Created a Website to Help Diners Connect with Local US Restaurants During Shutdowns

A Huge Chicago employee has helped, in response to the current climate, put the Huge ethos of 'Give a Shit' into action to aid local Chicago (and now restaurants around the U.S.) reach and keep customers during this time. 

'Dining at a Distance' was launched as a passion project by Huge Chicago senior product manager Sean Lynch and PR agency Grapevine owner Jenn Galdes to address a need only this current climate could produce: a way to let Chicago residents know that, despite an order from the governor shutting down all restaurants, many were still open for pick-up and delivery. Some highlights about the project below:

The website was created in 2-3 hours as a rapid response to the government shutdown on Sunday, March 15. Sean and Jenn, who had met over Twitter just hours before launching the site, then met the next morning to officially launch the website, diningatadistance.com, which featured over 100 local Chicago restaurants.

The grassroots effort, which began in Chicago, encouraged local restaurant owners to share details of their takeout, delivery and curbside pickup options, outlining hours, which services they're using, and special promotions.

Now, Dining at a Distance is expanding to additional cities across the U.S. at  a rapid pace. 9 more cities were added over the weekend and 15 more plan to launch early this week. Cities include Arlington, Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, DC, Fairbanks, Los Angeles, Memphis, New Jersey, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Portland, Sacramento, Tampa Bay, and Traverse City. Huge is also talking with partners in Europe and Australia who started similar initiatives about potentially cross-posting.

The goal of this project is to help many restaurants solely survive during this time based on the outpouring of support they get from their local communities. Also, to keep our local cities’ food scene vibrant and blossoming.

Restaurants can submit a request to curate and launch their city’s website on the Dining at a Distance homepage.

The team is also rolling out a new initiative focused on supporting local farmers during the outbreak. 

Sean commented: “My family loves supporting the local Chicago food scene, so when we heard the news about closures in Chicago, we wanted to do whatever we could to keep our friends informed of where they can eat, while also giving visibility to these businesses who are committed to supporting their local community. At Huge, we are all about using digital products to elevate the human experience, so I channelled that mantra and utilised what I love doing -- building digital products -- to create this website." 

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Huge USA, 2 months ago