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COVID-19: FreshDirect To Sell Prepared Meals From Restaurant Associates

FreshDirect is selling prepared meals from area restaurants.
FreshDirect is selling prepared meals from area restaurants.

In an effort to bolster restaurants negatively impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, FreshDirect announced it is teaming with a dining management company to sell prepared meals, bringing some employees back to work.

FreshDirect announced it has joined forces with Restaurant Associates, which will enable the company to serve more customers with a rotating selection of heat-and-eat meals while bringing furloughed employees back to work.

The online grocer stated that “the alliance expands its offerings in the prepared food category, allowing the company to serve more customers with ready-to-eat meals that only require heating. 

"At the same time, the initiative provides employment for Restaurant Associates cooks displaced by the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced many restaurant and foodservice businesses to temporarily shut down and lay off workers.”

The meals will be sold under the Restaurant Associates Kitchen banner. Current meal selections include eggplant parmesan, penne pasta with sausage Bolognese, beef meatballs, and chicken and vegetable soup.

“The devastation this health pandemic is causing across the New York restaurant industry hits close to home, as I started my career in restaurants, as a cook,” FreshDirect co-founder and CEO David McInerney said in a statement. “By partnering with Restaurant Associates, we have the opportunity to bring some of their employees back to work, while offering our customers great meal solutions.”

According to FreshDirect, for each meal purchased, both companies will donate a meal to New Yorkers through New York Common Pantry, which has been distributing food to individuals and families during the pandemic.

“Their mission is more vital than ever as we anticipate the rise of unemployment, which will lead to even more people facing uncertainty and worrying about where their next meal will come from. No one should face that fear,” McInerney added.

According to a new national survey by the National Restaurant Association, the entire restaurant industry has lost two-thirds of its workforce, or more than 8 million employees, because of closures during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The survey of 6,500 restaurants nationwide estimated that the sector lost $30 billion in March and is on track to lose $50 billion in April and over $240 billion by the end of the year.

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