Speaking with CNN, Melendez says he first got the notion to share promotion in this way when a local realtor helped El Mezcal early on in the pandemic: “They did something where people voted for their favorite restaurant, and I got second place, so they bought $300 in gift cards from me…Right after that, I was like, I’ll probably do something similar.”
Melendez began doing the same, purchasing gift cards from local restaurants and sharing them via El Mezcal’s Facebook posts—like this recent one, giving away ten free $15 gift cards to the Rock’N’Roll Cafe. Funds to purchase these gift cards are drawn from El Mezcal’s own advertising budget, emphasizing how important it is to support small businesses’ needs through the pandemic over big chains.
All in all, this kind of pay-it-forward philosophy dispenses with the usual competitive nature of the restaurant biz. Melendez puts it best: “If you help one person and another person helps another, that will help a lot.”
Cover photo: Restaurant owner Adolfo Melendez spent $2,000 of his own money to help other restaurants in his Wisconsin community.