Uptown restaurant

Ronnie Swantner, Andrew Blough and Sawyer Phillips pickup takeout from Smashed Waffles, a restaurant located in Uptown.

Uptown Greenville, North Carolina, will wind down the #TakeoutUptown campaign, which was made to encourage people to order takeout directly from local restaurants in Greenville, as the month reaches an end.

Events Manager for Uptown Greenville Courtnee McGrath said in an email statement, the idea for the #TakeoutUptown campaign was sparked by a similar campaign in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, labeled #TakeoutPhilly.

The marketing staff at Uptown thought February would be a good month for the campaign, McGrath said, because Valentines Day falls within it. She said restaurants still operate at reduced capacity, so while many people would usually dine out on Valentine's Day, the restaurants may not be able to serve them all.

“Most people normally dine out for Valentine’s Day, but due to COVID-19 the restaurants’ capacity is limited and takeout is a great solution to still support the restaurants. It was also decided that February would be the perfect month since many people took a break from eating out in January because of common New Year resolutions,” McGrath said in an email statement.

People can participate in #TakeoutUptown simply by ordering takeout food or cocktails from local restaurants, McGrath said. She said people are encouraged to place pick-up orders directly from the restaurant rather than a third-party delivery service.

McGrath said the desired impact of the campaign is to support local restaurants. She said, based on the performance of Uptown’s social media posts and how many people have participated, the campaign has been successful thus far.

“People should participate in the initiative because it is helping the local business owners. Many of these businesses have seen a loss in revenue due to the pandemic. #TakeoutUptown is another way to continue supporting local merchants,” McGrath said.

The Uptown Greenville website on the campaign said patrons of local restaurants are encouraged to post pictures of their takeout food with the hashtag #TakeoutUptown.

Owner of Luna Pizza Cafe Richard Williams said the restaurant has had an increase in sales due to Valentine’s Day weekend so it is difficult to see right now if the #TakeoutUptown campaign contributed to that increase in sales.

Willams said takeout sales have increased by 20% since the pandemic started last year and the dine-in service is at a 50% capacity right now so guests can socially distance themselves. He said they prefer that guests call first to guarantee they have space for them to dine-in.

“If you spend money in local businesses you are supporting your neighbors, you’re supporting ECU students. We have 20 to 21 employees and 15 of them are ECU students, so you are keeping the money local and you are helping to support your neighbors and friends,” Williams said.

Local businesses do not get the same support as large businesses that are nationwide, according to Williams. He said larger businesses have systems in place to stay efficient and leverage their business in times like these.

Williams said the #TakeoutUptown campaign helps to get the restaurant’s name out to the public and lets them know that they offer takeout. He said the majority of the menu is available for takeout and one alcoholic drink per adult with an I.D.

“We are very appreciative of the local communities' support throughout this entire thing (pandemic). We’ve felt nothing but love from Pitt county and ECU. We are forever grateful. Uptown Greenville doing events like this is tremendously helpful for us,” Willams said.

Quinetta Wilson, a manager of The Breakfast Bar, said she has noticed an increase in business especially from ECU students. She said it's dining room is open at a 40-person capacity and they are taking all safety precautions for customers to dine-in.

Wilson said the takeout campaign is helpful and works well with the restaurant’s menu since they make breakfast food to order. She said the restaurant offers delivery through the third party delivery service Postmates.

“We serve all of our food to order. We like to serve hot, fresh food. Breakfast food to me is not good cold at all, you can’t rewarm it,” Wilson said.

People should support local businesses to keep money local and because local businesses offer support to their communities, according to Wilson.

Customers should order takeout to enjoy good food and to save them time from cooking, Wilson said. She said some additions will be made to the menu in the near future such as cocktails and mimosas.

“I am excited to be a part of it (campaign). I hope it gives us the opportunity to gain more business and more customers. We have a variety of foods for people to come out and try if they haven’t been here,” Wilson said.

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