A website created by a Vienna couple is looking to connect locals to Vienna restaurants offering gift cards to stay in business during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jane and Ray Brill, Jr. started SAVOR Vienna in mid-March when they noticed restaurants were “really taking it hard,” Ray Brill, Jr. told Tysons Reporter, adding that Vienna Inn was the first restaurant to sign on.
“We very action oriented,” Brill said.
In March, Gov. Ralph Northam ordered restaurants to stop table seating and switch to carry out, curbside pickup and delivery options. While many local eateries have managed to stay open with the new serving options, the restaurant industry is suffering due to the pandemic.
“You can do the carryout but it’s never the same,” he said.
While the effort has changed a bit, SAVOR Vienna now features information for 13 local eateries for people interested in buying gift cards, and Brill said he expects the list to grow. Patrons have to wait until July 1 to get their gift cards, which gives the eateries time to improve their finances.
To get the word out to restaurants, Brill said that he’s been having socially distanced conversations — staying 6 feet apart — with restaurants’ owners.
Restaurants interested in participating for free in SAVOR Vienna can contact the Brills via the website.
Brill said they paid out their pockets for the service to set up for the website and have bought about $700 in gift cards.
Brill also said that they are receiving “not a nickel, dime or penny” from the effort and that SAVOR Vienna has “nothing to with” the upcoming Vienna election — Ray Brill Jr. is a councilmember candidate.
While Brill said the idea can apply to other businesses like retailers, he’s waiting to see when the Vienna election will be held before deciding on whether or not to expand the effort.
“The process is very clean, very straightforward,” Brill said, adding that he hopes the opportunity for people to support local restaurants lifts everyone’s spirits up. “I’m just pleased we did it.”
Image via SAVOR Vienna