A Portland Architecture Firm Gave Employees a Dining Allowance to Help Support Local Restaurants During the Pandemic

Portland Dining Month may be canceled this year, so the company found another way to give the industry a boost.

The pandemic has forced Portland Dining Month into another hiatus, but one Portland company is going out of its way to support restaurants in March by giving every single staff member an expense allowance to eat out.

LRS Architects, an architecture and interior design firm with offices in Northwest Portland, sent out an internal email at the first of this month letting employees know that they would be receiving a $50 allotment to use at a local eatery in order to help boost the food and beverage industry following an incredibly tough year.

"The LRS Principals would like to show our appreciation for each of you while at the same time, help support your neighborhood restaurants," the message read. "March would typically be Portland Dining Month but it has been canceled this year due to COVID-19. We'd like to support our local businesses while at the same time supporting you!"

The payment went out to more than 100 people at the firm, which asked participants not to use any third-party delivery apps to ensure the entire financial contribution went to the restaurants themselves.

LRS leadership got the idea for the allowance from Tom Kilbane, vice president and regional general manager at the Urban Renaissance Group in Portland, and decided to enact its own version of it.

Portland Dining Month has been around since 2009, becoming a vital part of restaurants' revenue stream during a typically slow January and February. The Travel Portland promotional event will see dozens of eateries across the city offering three-course meals for $33.

But bars and restaurants aren't the only beneficiaries: Every reservation made using OpenTable through the Portland Dining Month website leads to a donation to the Oregon Food Bank. To date, that's brought in nearly $30,000 for the organization.