MILWAUKEE -- The restaurant industry has been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. A nonprofit is turning the tables on one of its fundraisers to try to help.
It's a new type of busy at Maxie's in Milwaukee, with the restaurant transitioning to takeout. The sales are still far from what they see on a normal night.
"It’s probably less than 20% of our normal revenue," said Joe Muench, chef and owner of Black Shoe Hospitality.
Muench said Thursday, April 2 he had to lay off 168 people between his four restaurants. He said they're still adjusting to the idea of needing help.
"We’re not used to receiving hospitality," said Muench. "We’re always on the front lines giving it, but it’s good. It’s heartwarming to see that people are caring."
Muench gives back to the community in a number of ways. A few years back, he participated in the event, "Serve Taste Give." Top chefs in Milwaukee competed to help raise money for Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.
The nonprofit that hosted that event, SERVE60, is switching things up amid the pandemic.
“We wanted to turn the tables, transform our event and create a virtual fundraiser, so to speak, and give back to all of the restaurants that helped us," said L. Maxwell McKissick, SERVE60 founder. "They were there when we needed help activating our event, so we wanted to in turn do something for them now that they are in need of our help."
"We’re the ones that are usually out donating our time, donating our services, donating gift cards to causes," said Muench. "It’s good to see the community kind of coming back to support us the best way they can."
The money raised will be split between 20 different restaurants across Milwaukee.
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