BLACKSBURG, Va. – There’s a new opportunity to help struggling Blacksburg businesses while supporting Virginia Tech’s dining needs.
The kitchen is hot at Marco and Luca in Blacksburg, but the business is not.
“We will have like 40 or 50 orders through the whole day. That’s only 40% or half a comeback,” said Bill Chen, owner of Marco and Luca.
Like many others, Chen’s restaurant has taken a big hit during the pandemic.
The fall outlook doesn’t look much better, heading into a very small-scale football season.
“Football is a big event for students to come to my store and bring more business,” said Chen.
But now there’s a new program to help.
“I thought, ‘Man, this is an opportunity. I definitely need to catch it,’” said Chen.
With fewer customers coming to restaurants these days, the restaurants are now going to them. And in a college town like Blacksburg, that means coming to Virginia Tech’s campus.
“They can have a unified platform to order from and a very specific location to deliver to,” said Chris Lawrence, deputy town manager for Blacksburg.
It’s all part of a new program called Blacksburg Delivers. The town has rallied more than a dozen local restaurants to participate.
Students and staff simply place an order online and pick it up directly on campus.
“We need our businesses to be successful and stay in business, so we’re mutually working together through a partnership on finding ways to be creative and keep their sales up,” said Lawrence.
It’s beneficial for students living off-campus who aren’t allowed to eat in dining halls right now, restaurants desperate for business and a town struggling to manage it all.
“Give us more business and help us to survive in town,” said Chen.
Each restaurant has to meet strict safety criteria to participate.
Click here to learn more about Blacksburg Delivers.