UPDATE: SERG Group makes $50,000 donation through ‘Community Strong’ program


Restaurant group creates special VIP card where proceeds will go to employees laid off by coronavirus shutdown

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WSAV) – They made a promise to support people struggling during the pandemic.

Now one of the Lowcountry’s largest employers is making good on that pledge.

The SERG Restaurant Group presented checks to Deep Well Project and Bluffton Self Help on Wednesday.

Each organization got $25,000.

The money is from the “community strong” VIP card project we told you about last week.

So far, more than 1,000 people have ordered the card.

“We thank the community for being able to do such a thing,” said Ryan Larson of SERG Group. “We want to provide for these people right away and we want to continue to do this on a regular basis as we are going through this crisis. so to be able to do this is such a short time frame we are very happy and pleased with how the community has come together.”

The card costs $250. It includes a $100 gift card for SERG restaurants and a 25% discount for the next year.

$100 of the proceeds will go to SERG Group employees laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic. $50 will go to Deep Well and Bluffton Self Help.

The gifts cards are now available online: serggroup.com/community-strong

Original story:

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WSAV) – The people hurt the most by the shut down of businesses in South Carolina are the thousands of employees who are off the job.

Now one Lowcountry restaurant chain is doing its part to help those people, whether they work for them or not.

SERG Restaurant Group is the largest employer on Hilton Head Island. Only 10 of their 18 restaurants are open and their staff is down to 150 from the normal 1200 people. Business is down 97% since the governor’s mandate to only allow carry-out or delivery.

Even for a multi-million dollar company, the future can be frightening.

“It’s insurmountable when you look at an extended closure,” said Alan Wolf, Director of Operations, SERG Restaurant Group. “We took a look if we were closed April, May, June. There isn’t enough money to loan, whether its SBA of otherwise, to get us that far.”

But while SERG is looking at the long haul, its employees are worried about right now.

Many people without jobs living paycheck to paycheck.

“It’s so funny you put budgets together and you focus on the bottom line,” said Wolf. “For the last week restaurant owners in Hilton Head and across America, nobody is watching the bottom line.”

Instead, SERG says they want to help. That’s why they created the “Community Strong VIP card.”

For $250, folks get a $100 gift card, a 25% discount on purchases for one year. The remainder of the proceeds going to help the SERG employees who aren’t working get through this tough time.

“The goal would be to sell 10,000 of thee cards which would raise $1 million to keep our employees working for the next 3-4 weeks, hourly and salary team members,” explains Wolf. “But more importantly raise $500,000 for Bluffton Self Help and Deep Well so the greater food and beverage community can go get grants for their time of need as well.”

Wolf says it is designed to help people now, and bring the community together later.

“If we have 10,000 folks come in with these cards there will be a lot of hugs. As soon as we reopen we will be so grateful to see those folks,” said Wolf.

SERG has already given all its employees a check for one week’s work at $10 an hour. The goal would be to give more of these checks out as the cards get sold.

The gifts cards are now available online: serggroup.com/community-strong

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