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Downtown Fort Wayne Announces New Restaurant Aid Program in Partnership with the City of Fort Wayne

October 1st, 2020

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry announced that the City of Fort Wayne is working with the Downtown Improvement District (DID) to help local restaurants and businesses weather the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City of Fort Wayne is investing in DID programming that: 1) offers free meal delivery from participating restaurants to Fort Wayne residents 2) helps downtown restaurants expand, add or enhance outdoor dining options, and 3) extends the Clean & Green program beyond downtown into several urban corridors.

“Our local restaurants contribute significantly to our community’s quality of life by offering unique experiences for both residents and visitors,” said Mayor Henry. “Because the pandemic is disproportionately affecting our local restaurants and shops, we need to find creative ways to help them and their employees through this challenging time.”

“As we move into the fall and winter months, helping our local restaurants make it through the Covid-19 crisis is crucial,” said Michael Galbraith, President & CEO of the Downtown Improvement District. “Increasing the length of time that their outdoor dining areas are open and helping them serve our community with free delivery is the most effective way that we can directly help our friends and neighbors who are employed by restaurants.”

Meal Delivery Service

Beginning October 1, 2020, the DID will contract with downtown business Waiter on the Way to provide free meal delivery to Fort Wayne residents from participating local restaurants with the coupon code “DTFWCARES”. The free delivery will be available until the end of the year. Not only can residents support restaurants by ordering meals for delivery, the Waiter on the Way service also offers a virtual tip jar, providing a way for residents to tip local restaurant staff as well as Waiter on the Way drivers.

During the months of March to July, the DID provided free meal delivery through Waiter on the Way from restaurants located in the downtown area. That effort provided more than $120,000 in delivery sales for downtown restaurants and more than $95,000 in tips to downtown wait staff.

Expanding the free delivery to the entire city will also increase jobs. Waiter on the Way will hire up to 35 more drivers and up to seven more office staff to support the expansion.

By Stephen J. Bailey
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