Tag Archives: Pane e Bene

Huge Restaurant Tip: Order Direct. Then Pick It Up!

When COVID struck, Westporters rushed to support their favorite restaurants.

Owners who already had an online ordering/takeout presence heated up their efforts. Those that did not quickly cooked one up.

The ability to pick up a meal curbside — or have one delivered to your home — helped many restaurants survive.

It’s easy to pick up an order at Jeera Thai, or have it delivered. But behind that convenience, there’s a surprising story.

But most customers have no idea how much the service costs those same restaurants they think they’re supporting.

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce wants us to know that 3rd-party apps, and delivery services like Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub, feast on restaurateurs’ bottom lines.

Those platforms charge fees up to 30% to the restaurant for delivery — and up to 25% for an order that, amazingly, a customer picks up herself.

Viva Zapata co-owner Bob O’Mahoney says, “those fees are our profit margins.”

Viva Zapata has been around for over 50 years. To survive the pandemic, it needs diners’ help.

The Chamber wants to help. They’re launching an initiative called “Order Direct — Pick It Up.”

The idea is simple: Use a restaurant’s own website or app to make a takeout order online. Or just call by phone, then pick it up.

“This simple adjustment will put those excessive fees back in the pocket of our local friends and businesspeople,” says Chamber director Matthew Mandell.

Restaurant owners understand that delivery is important to some people. Pane e Bene owner Angelo Capponi notes, “70% is better than 0%. But we also offer takeout, and we hope people will come to us. They can just call us up.”

It’s easy to have Uber Eats on your first smartphone screen, or speed dial. But it’s just a step or two more to Google a website, then click on your order. Or press “call.”

If you love a restaurant enough to support it with takeout, take those few seconds to cut out the 25 to 30% fee they toss away, as they toss your salad.

As the Chamber of Commerce says: Order Direct. Pick It Up!

(Graphic courtesy of Miggs Burroughs)

Photo Challenge #296

Last week’s two-fer Photo Challenge threw a few readers for a loop.

As the story said, “winners” (who get nothing except 15 minutes of Sunday afternoon glory) had to identify both photos — of plants and flowers hanging outside a couple of walls — correctly. (Click here to see.)

Most people identified the top photo as Pane e Bene, across from the Westport Inn. Fewer got the second one, another Italian restaurant in the other end of town: Tutti’s.

Congratulations to Rich Stein, Seth Braunstein, Amy Schneider and Claire Elliot for getting both images right. Buon appetito!

We’re back to one photo this week. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Les Dinkin)

Paying It Forward, One Dinner At A Time

Sure, Westport is filled with families with school-age children. They may not all have come from Manhattan or Brooklyn, though most did.

But they’re not the only Westporters. Many more people grew up here, stayed or returned, and still live here even after their own kids have grown.

Those folks remember another group of Westporters: the parents of the boys and girls they knew back then. Those men and women are now in their late 80s and 90s.

They too still live here. But many of their sons and daughters do not.

One 60-something resident looks up to that “Greatest Generation.” (And they earned the title not just for helping win World War II. After moving here, they poured their energy and talents into making Westport a great place for us to grow up in too.)

That man — who asked for anonymity — has taken it upon himself to invite some of those older Westporters out for dinner.

They often live alone. Most no longer drive.

He and his wife always pick them up. They head to Pane e Bene, Horizon, Rizzuto’s, Rive Bistro — nice, friendly places with good food.

They have a leisurely meal. They reminisce about old Westport, discuss current events (locally and around the globe). They talk about their own kids (who, in the case of the older folks, are the host’s contemporaries).

“I remember the first time I made enough money to take my parents out to dinner,” the man says.

“It was a rite of passage — and a not insignificant way to say ‘thanks’ at that young time in my career.” Both his parents have since died.

Now he enjoys spending quality time with his parents’ old friends and acquaintances.

“It’s so much fun. I’ve known these people all my life. They were the mentors of my youth.”

He adds, “They are as sharp as ever! And the battles we have over paying the bill are hilarious!”