How to Support Detroit’s Service Industry

By: Michael Fossbakk | March 27, 2020

Tommy's Margarita, one of the many cocktail recipes available in Standby's e-book. Photo courtesy of Standby.

While Michigan’s shutdown of all dine-in options at bars and restaurants is a necessary precaution to curb the spread of COVID-19, many in the service industry have now fallen on hard times. With some places completely closing and others pivoting to carryout and delivery options, many servers and bartenders are finding themselves without a job or with severely reduced hours. Since a majority of their income is based on dine-in customers tipping for their service, a lot of these workers have lost their income.

Whether you have a favorite restaurant or bartender, here’s how you can help workers from the service industry in Metro Detroit.

Pre-purchase a beer from Batch Brewing Company

Located in Detroit, this popular craft brewer responded to the order from the State of Michigan by closing their location completely. “The unfortunate reality is that carry out business won’t sustain Batch Brewing Company,” they wrote on their website. To that end, Batch laid off everyone from their staff, but, to help alleviate some of the financial burden for their former employees, Batch set up a GoFundMe page where people can donate money.

Interestingly, not only is this a method for people to make a donation to the former employees, Batch has incentivized donations with a pre-purchase program for beer. 

“Any contribution you make in increments of $5 will be considered a pre purchased beer,” they wrote on the GoFundMe page. “This money, minus fees and taxes, will go to our employees. You’ll have beers banked to drink once we reopen.”

If you donate more than $5, the difference will go directly to Batch’s staff as a “tip.” If you’d like to pre-purchase multiple beers, you’ll have to make separate donations to avoid confusion.

Purchase Standby’s cocktail e-book

Vermillion-Fizz-Standby

Vermillion Fizz, one of the many cocktails found in Standby’s e-book. Photo courtesy of Standby.

Being that it is primarily a cocktail bar, Standby has had to close its doors for the foreseeable future. “To close our doors, even temporarily, is an impossible and heartbreaking decision,” they wrote in a Facebook post. “One that has been made for us, but one we feel is important for the health and wellness of our team and our community.”

They will be providing meals and food options for their now-unemployed staff “for as long as [they] possibly can.” Those that were receiving health insurance through their position at Standby will continue to do so until April 30th. 

To provide some financial assistance to the staff of Standby and its sister bar The Skip, they will be selling an e-book of signature cocktail recipes online. The e-book will be released on March 23, but you can pre-purchase it right now. The minimum price for the book is $15, but you can pay more if you would like. All sales from the e-book will go directly to the staff.

Donate to the only “barlor” around

With locations in Farmington and Northville, this “barlor” (bar + ice cream parlor) has also fallen on hard times. Much of the staff at Browndog has either been laid off or have had their hours reduced. Owner Greg Richards has set up a GoFundMe page with 100% of donations going to the hourly staff to financially support them. Both locations are still open for takeout and delivery, too, if you want to support them that way.

General tips

Here are some other ways you can help out, too:

  • Reach out to a friend/family member from the service industry to see how they’ve been affected and offer to help in some way
  • Reach out to a favorite bar or restaurant and find out if they are taking food donations for their staff
  • Share this article on social media as a way to signal boost

As we all do our part to curb the spread of COVID-19/coronavirus, we will all be impacted in different ways. Let’s do everything we can to help each other out in any way that is safe and adheres to recommended guidelines with regards social distancing, hand washing, and self-quarantine. Let us know if you’ve found other ways to support those in the service industry by reaching out on Facebook or Instagram.

Remember to drink responsibly and plan ahead with a designated driver or take advantage of one of these local designated driving services.