What people don’t often realize is that besides the employees they see when walking into a restaurant – servers, bartenders, chefs etc, we directly contribute to the employment of many other services. Local farmers and farmhands, food distribution companies with all their employees – whether it be produce, seafood, meat, dry goods, cleaning supplies, or paper goods. Repair people for all categories, such as refrigeration and plumbing, wine production and alcohol production, and along with all of that, those involved in sales, marketing, and distribution.
So the number is actually incredibly high. As a whole, I would say the restaurant/hospitality industry is the largest “employer” in this nation. To support them, I highly suggest you consider picking up a to-go lunch or dinner from them and remember, when and if you can, please tip so that they can keep a cash flow for their servers/bartenders who rely on tips as a major part of their income.
I highly recommend cash sales, if possible, as credit cards take a percentage of the sale (only if the handling of cash is safely done). Lastly, words of encouragement and thanks go a long way, along with spreading the word on who is offering food to go!