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Some Restaurant Workers Are Getting Paid to Vote This November

Plus, restaurant chains are cutting back on dine-in business to focus on delivery, and more food news

Someone getting an “I voted” sticker Ethan Miller/Getty Images

How restaurant workers can get to the polls on Tuesday

Voting on election day can be tough for restaurant workers who work long shifts and are paid by the hour. So, some civic-minded restaurateurs are making it a little easier, Grub Street reports. Across America, employers are incentivizing their workers to vote with paid time off and rewards.

Cava, a fast-casual chain Middle Eastern chain with 70 locations, is reportedly giving employees two hours of paid leave next Tuesday, as will Hopewell Brewing Co., a taproom and brewery in Chicago. In New York City, employees at Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group will get three hours of paid time off. Boba Guys, a bubble-tea chain in New York and California, doesn’t have a plan for paid leave, but it will reward voting employees with an hour’s worth of bonus pay. The Boston restaurant Cultivar is allowing its workers to take three hours of leave. It’s unpaid, but those who cast ballots will be entered into a drawing for a Visa gift card. Whether restaurant workers actually take advantage of these incentives remains to be seen.

Chains are ditching dine-in for delivery service

The restaurant-delivery business is booming, and traditional fast-food chains are taking notice. Some, such as Firehouse Subs, are scaling back their dine-in operations and focusing their efforts on getting food out the door. “In July, all 1,102 Firehouse locations replaced some of their tables and chairs with shelves where delivery orders can be stacked,” according to Bloomberg. “About 10 square feet that used to be seating is now a place for couriers to grab orders.” This change has resulted in Firehouse’s revenue jumping 7 percent this year thanks to orders placed online and via delivery apps.

And in other food news ...

  • Sam’s Club is taking a cue from Amazon and introducing high-tech stores that are not staffed by cashiers. When they’re done shopping, customers with the company’s app can simply “scan and go.” [Official]
  • Apologies to the city of Reykjavík, Iceland, which saw most of its beer supply drained by American troops over the weekend. The military personnel where stopping over on their way to Sweden and Finland for a NATO exercise. [Takeout]
  • Rest in peace, Wing Bowl. After 26 years, the Philadelphia-based competitive eating event is coming to an end. []
  • A new book by Marion Nestle explains why nutritional science can be so confusing, and why so many studies seem to contradict one another. Research is often sponsored by big food brands such as POM Wonderful and Coca-Cola. [NYT]
  • Best-selling author James Patterson is working on what is being described as “a multimedia, interactive-fiction experience based on his forthcoming thriller, The Chef.” The work, a thriller about a food truck chef and police officer, just launched exclusively on Facebook Messenger. [Variety]
  • And, finally, here is a good reason to avoid the self-serve soup bar at your local grocery store. [@Jason/Twitter]

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