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Salt Lake area restaurants launch website to keep business up

The parking lot of the Market Street Grill in Cottonwood Heights is almost empty as COVID-19 coronavirus shuts down in-restaurant dining. That's why restaurants have launched www.supportsaltlakedining.com to drum up business. (Photo: Kelli Pierce)

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, UT — Salt Lake restaurants have built a website to help their businesses stay afloat.

Fred Boutwell, the Director of Operations for Market Street restaurants, says business is down 65% since Salt Lake County shut down dine-in options for restaurants and bars.

Boutwell says they have refrigerators full of food they haven’t been able to sell to people.

It’s been tough for their staff as well, as many of those employees are 18 to 30 years old.

“I’ve got 350 employees…that we’ve had meetings with the last two days. We’re trying to keep them all employed,” Boutwell says.

That’s why Boutwell says they helped launch www.supportsaltlakedining.com, a website that lets people order online from several Salt Lake area restaurants and pick up their food curbside.

So far, dozens of restaurants have signed up with many more expected in the next few days.

And all competition has been set aside to save an industry.

“I think if we stick together and we band together then we’re going to have much greater success surviving this,” Boutwell says.

“And the small guys, they got two or three employees, they got one cook. They do one or two to-go orders. It’s not going to make payroll, but maybe it’ll sustain for a little while.”

Boutwell says many people in the restaurant industry know each other and help out when the competition runs out of something. That’s another reason www.supportsaltlakedining.com was launched.

“The idea was to not let especially the smaller restaurants die on the vine … there’s some very small, great dining facilities in our community, and I don’t want them to go away,” Boutwell said.