Chase’s grant contest is aiming to reward a select few restaurants for their resilience and innovation in the midst of the pandemic.
Want to help your favorite restaurant win some extra cash to push through the pandemic?
Through Aug. 16, Chase is accepting nominations for 20 restaurant grants worth a total of $1 million (which works out to $50,000 apiece). The Sapphire Supports Restaurants contest is looking out for small eateries with no more than two locations and up to 50 full-time employees.
As Chase puts it, “Through the difficulties of the past year, restaurants have been there for their communities. They’ve pivoted to takeout, provided meals to essential workers, and so much more. Chase Sapphire is a proud supporter of local restaurants, and wants to help you give back to the restaurants that helped you during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The application is quick and easy
You just need to enter a little information about yourself and the restaurant you’re nominating, along with 3,000 characters or fewer describing:
- The role this restaurant plays in your community
- What it has done differently to get through the pandemic
- Why this is your favorite restaurant
Submissions will be judged on the following:
- Restaurant’s display of integrity, impact to and leadership in the community
- Restaurant’s innovation or creativity during the pandemic
- Nominator’s passion for the restaurant
Credit cards and restaurants go hand in hand
I think Chase is making a really nice gesture to support local establishments that its customers care about. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of our favorite cards to use at restaurants because it gives 3X points per dollar on dining.
Those points are worth at least 1.5 cents apiece when you redeem for travel or (through Sept. 30) when you use Pay Yourself Back to obtain statement credits offsetting eligible grocery, dining and home improvement purchases. You might even be able to get more value by transferring your points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners (including United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, Marriott, Hyatt and others).
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is another solid choice for dining. It gives 3 points per dollar on dining (including takeout and delivery), plus 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 2 points per dollar on other travel purchases. And it’s currently offering a record-high 100,000 bonus points to new cardholders who spend $4,000 in the first three months. Because those points are each worth at least 1.25 cents toward travel or Pay Yourself Back redemptions, that’s a minimum of $1,250.
Restaurants are digging out of a big hole
Sadly, 17% of U.S. restaurants were closed (either permanently or long-term) when the National Restaurant Association conducted a survey in late 2020. The report also found that seven out of eight dining establishments experienced a drop in revenue last year. The average decline was 36%.
The restaurant business is faring better in 2021, although it’s certainly not all the way back. According to OpenTable, daily seatings at U.S. restaurants in July 2021 were below 2019 levels on 28 out of the 31 days. The typical decline was less than 10% – a marked improvement from earlier in the pandemic – but that’s relative to seatings a couple of years ago on the same dates. This doesn’t factor in all of the lost business from 2020 and early 2021. And overcoming those losses will take a long time.
That’s one of the reasons I believe we should tip more generously than usual – assuming you can afford it – when we go out to eat these days. Unfortunately, our recent tipping survey found that many Americans’ gratuity habits leave plenty to be desired. Data showed that only three out of every four diners always tip the wait staff at sit-down restaurants. When they tip, they leave an average of 20%, which is pretty good, but that doesn’t factor in all zeroes.
Consider tipping even more if you can afford it, especially if you receive great service at one of your favorite restaurants. And don’t forget about delivery drivers! That same survey showed that only 59% of U.S. adults who have food delivered say they always tip the delivery person, which seems awfully low.
Take a few minutes to nominate your favorite restaurant for one of Chase’s $50,000 grants. Our communities are better when we have a thriving local dining scene, and many hardworking people in the food and beverage industry have had a rough time in 2020 and 2021.
Have a question about credit cards? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to help.