As COVID-19 continues to have a devastating effect on communities and economies, many people are wondering: How can I help? Beyond volunteering and direct monetary donations, there is a push for more people to eat from local restaurants. As the Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) decreases, it’s crucial for community-conscious people to support their neighborhood eateries and help keep these businesses afloat. To help bridge the gap between restaurants and customers, several UT Students recently created LocoEats.

The website is a collaborative effort from Texas Computer Science (TXCS) student Aadhithya Kannan, and Texas Honors Computer Science and Business students Kevin Qi and Tejas Mehta. “LocoEats connects you to locally-owned restaurants around you. We hope to support these locally-owned businesses during these difficult times by generating awareness and customers for them,” said the creators.

Once users land on the website, they’re prompted to share their location and either search for nearby restaurants or to browse by meal category. Users are then presented with a list and can filter the results according to the price point, delivery options, and operating time. Recently, the developers added a new category specifically for Black-owned restaurants. They included the category to “express support for the Black Community in the fight against systemic racism.”

Locally-owned restaurants may not have the resources to promote their business and reach potential new customers. The impact of this lack of resources is particularly strong during this time, as many businesses are losing money during the pandemic and can’t afford advertising efforts. LocoEats is giving these restaurants exposure during a time when they need it the most, and helping communities better serve each other.

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