The Hawaii Restaurant Card for businesses is back for the holidays as part of a statewide effort to bolster struggling eateries in the state.
American Savings Bank announced that it has relaunched the business holiday card program, with the goal of distributing 50,000 cards across the state, which would inject about $2.5 million in direct support to local food establishments.
Businesses would be purchasing the cards, and have until Dec. 10 to complete an online order form.
“American Savings Bank is excited to bring real impact to our community by relaunching the Hawaii Restaurant Card Business Holiday Card program,” said John Ward, executive vice president, chief marketing and product officer of American Savings Bank in a news release. “This program gives businesses and entities the opportunity to multiply the impact of their employee holiday gift program by purchasing Hawaii Restaurant Cards for their employees, clients and partners while making a direct impact on our local restaurant and supply chain industry.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, Hawaii restaurants have continued to struggle.
A recent Hawaii Restaurant Association survey found that 37% of restaurant owners said their revenue dropped by more than half in September and October compared with the two prior months.
Also, 19% of restaurants surveyed said they lost over 30% of their employees in the same months.
Hawaii restaurants continue to remain in survival mode, according to American Savings Bank, due to reduced foot traffic, supply chain issues and a labor shortage.
Gov. David Ige said in a statement that last year, the Hawaii Restaurant Card program resulted in more than $75 million of direct impact to Hawaii’s local food supply chain – including restaurants, farmers, fishermen, ranchers, producers and distributors – as a result of the statewide economic stimulus initiative.
The program last year was different in that the cards were automatically mailed out to residents who met certain criteria and received unemployment insurance benefits using federal CARES Act funds. Each card was loaded with $500 for the purchase of food and non-alcoholic beverages at eating establishments.
A business card program followed, which allowed companies to purchase preloaded cards to give their employees or clients over the holidays.
This year, the cards are available in denominations of $25, $50 and $100, and will be mailed directly to businesses to distribute.
Orders placed by Nov. 26 will receive their cards by Dec. 10, just in time for the holidays. Orders received after Nov. 26 and before Dec. 10 will be delivered by Dec. 31. The cards can be used at all Hawaii restaurants, eateries, bars, taverns and fast-food establishments that accept Debit MasterCard through June 30, 2022.
“This is truly a business-to-business effort and an opportunity for organizations statewide to step up, support one another and be a part of the bigger picture to help rebuild our economy,” said Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii in a statement. “This could be the lifeline that our restaurants and food industry need to get them through this challenging holiday season.”
For more information, visit asbhawaii.com/HRC.