New Pierce County program gives diners 30% off their bill

VIDEO: New Pierce County program gives diners 30% off their bill

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — People looking to grab a bite to eat in Pierce County have an extra incentive next month.

For 10 days in November, diners at participating restaurants, like Lobster Shop in Tacoma, will get 30% off their bill.

“Moving into the colder weather, numbers are still holding, people are still coming out spending money, which is great,” said Randall Hamel, Lobster Shop general manager.

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After closing for four months because of COVID-19, chefs at the Lobster Shop are thankful to be back in the kitchen cooking again.

However, not every restaurant has been so lucky. In Pierce County, a few restaurants are already closed, including The Swiss and Pacific Grill in downtown Tacoma.

“I think the biggest challenge is people may’ve planned to be down for a really short period of time. No one plans to have no revenue or very limited revenue for eight months,” said Betty Capestany, Pierce County Director of Economic Development.

To help undo some of the damage the pandemic has caused, Pierce County Council voted to fund a new program they’re calling Restaurant Rally. Sundays through Thursdays in mid-November, diners get 30% off their bill.

“There’s no limit, you could go breakfast, you can go lunch, you can go dinner,” said Dave Morell, Pierce County council member.

They encourage people to make the rounds and try out different cuisines.

Council came up with the creative idea and plans to fund it using about $7.5 million from the CARES Act. Across Pierce County, there’s close to 500 dine-in restaurants that qualify. So far, about half have signed up.

“We’re trying to make sure that our restaurants have the opportunity to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and this just brings some hope,” said Morell.

Restaurants will turn in their gross sales to the county weekly. They’ll be reimbursed 50% for each discounted meal served, which covers the 30% diner discount plus additional money to help with business costs. Restaurants are eligible to receive up to $90,000, and every restaurant that takes part is guaranteed at least $5,000.

“Not only does this help the restaurant, but the restaurants buy food from people, so it helps the farmers or the providers, so there’s circles that spread through that sphere of influence also,” said Capestany.

Restaurant Rally runs Nov. 8 – 12 and Nov. 15 – 19. The 30% discount is good for both dine-in and takeout orders but excludes alcohol.