Ravi Parakkat, a 14-year Oak Park resident and current village trustee candidate, has pulled together local leaders and residents in an effort to buoy local restaurants through the challenging winter months of COVID ahead. 

After witnessing the “very binary debate” generated by one local restaurant’s decision to defy the governor’s dining room closure mandate, Parakkat went in search of a solution.

“The debate between restaurant survival and public health does not yield any results that benefit the business or broader community,” said Parakkat. “The solution has to be beneficial to both.”

Parakkat put his background in consulting and small business ownership to use to create a mathematical formula designed to help community members see how making a small commitment can have a big impact on the local restaurant economy.

There are approximately 100 restaurants in Oak Park and Parakkat assumed the average basic operating costs for a restaurant is $10,000 per month. That means the Oak Park community must generate a million dollars a month in restaurant takeout business to get the 100 restaurants $10,000 per month in revenue.

Parakkat breaks it down further:

“If we get 10,000 Oak Park households to spend $25 each a week or $100 each a month on local restaurants this winter, then we have the numbers.”

Working with the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation, OPRF Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Oak Park, the Hemingway District (and other business district leads), a5 Inc, Visit Oak Park, Wednesday Journal and other leaders in the business community, Parakkat is formalizing a campaign to inspire community members to pledge to spend $25 per week at local restaurants throughout the winter.

The initiative is in its infancy, but you can learn more by visiting  takeout25oakpark.com or joining the Takeout 25 Oak Park group on Facebook.

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