Stan Hays from Operation BBQ Relief and Todd Johns from Plowboys Barbeque announced they are partnering to pilot a Restaurant Relief Program. The program is designed to feed the community, keep restaurants from going out of business AND help workers stay employed.
Here is our interview where we get in depth about the program and how it can be a potential springboard for other restaurants to follow:
Meals will be cooked and distributed from Plowboys Barbeque’s Overland Park restaurant at 75th and Metcalf beginning Tuesday March 31st. The restaurant closed temporarily last week in preparation for the change in service.
To cover the cost of food and supplies for the Restaurant Relief Program, Operation BBQ Relief will rely on the generous support and financial assistance of the community, foundations and corporations. Donations can be made at OBR.org. For more information or to become a sponsor, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Operation BBQ Relief and Plowboys Barbeque’s unique partnership in the fight to feed those facing food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to help thousands throughout the Kansas City metro. But it will also bring hope for survival to a locally owned restaurant.
“Teaming up with a restaurant is a win-win for us,” says Hays, who met Johns through a barbeque forum in 2006. “Plowboys has the facilities, barbeque expertise and organizational experience to provide our goal of 2,500 meals a day. If this is successful in Kansas City, and we have no reason to think otherwise, we will roll out the Restaurant Relief Program in other key markets throughout the country.”
Recent reports indicate that last week, a record 68,000-plus workers applied for unemployment in Kansas and Missouri —a strong and sobering indicator that there are people who need food assistance or a way to stretch their food budget.
“The Restaurant Relief Program will help restaurants, like Plowboys Barbeque, negatively affected by the pandemic,” Hays says.
In addition to the food and some supplies, Operation BBQ Relief will pay Plowboys a set amount to enable the rehiring of some of its 40 previously laid-off employees.
“Plowboys is thrilled to be bringing back six employees to help us staff this operation,” says Plowboys president and American Royal Grand Champion pitmaster Johns. “This could be the missing link to help sustain us and obviously to serve the community in a time of unprecedented need. The barbeque community knows how to work as a team, and Stan’s organization has tremendous knowledge of navigating complex disaster relief efforts. “This opportunity to keep cooking is a small answer to big prayers. It gives us hope.”
What’s equally important is the they will be following all Center for Disease Control guidelines, Operation BBQ Relief has worked around the clock to establish additional protocols and processes specifically for COVID-19 that include: sanitizing surfaces regularly, medical screening of volunteers on arrival to any Operation BBQ Relief deployment site, limiting access to the food production areas, separation by at least 50-feet for receiving, delivery and distribution of food, as well as many other safety and security initiatives.
“Operation BBQ Relief is following all the recommended CDC and local health guidelines,” Hays says. “We have acted deliberately with care and concentration to ramp up COVID-19 deployments, like the Restaurant Relief Program.”
Plowboys is known for its famous loaded barbeque nachos, burnt ends and Texas-style sausage, but the stripped-down disaster-relief menu will follow Operation BBQ Relief’s recipes and vary daily, according to the donations received.
“We will cook and serve barbeque, just not our barbeque,” Johns says, “There will be different proteins and sides, based on availability.”
Essential workers, non-profit organizations and community-based organizations, as well as individuals, may request a meal. Depending on the quantities required, the free meals may be picked up curbside at the Overland Park command center at Plowboys Barbeque (6737 W. 75th St.) with limited delivery also available, while quantities last, on a first-come, first-serve basis.
For more information on receiving meals, contact FeedKC@plowboysbbq.com .