As Boston area hospitals struggle to keep up with the surge of Covid-19 cases, a Cambridge pizza shop is stepping up to thank all the doctors, nurses and other workers taking care of patients.
&pizza in Harvard Square, part of a chain based in Washington, D.C., is giving out free or discounted pies to health care workers. Hundreds of fresh, hot pies have already been sent to area hospitals, according to the company.
Any worker can get a free pizza by texting a photo of their employee ID along with #hero to 200-03 and it will be delivered or prepared for pickup.
Andy Hooper, president and chief operating officer at &pizza, said the company launched the Hero Pie Project. to support health care workers in the communities where their restaurants are located.
“[This has] reminded us that hospital workers are the everyday heroes that are keeping us healthy and moving and healing in our community,” he said in an interview. “So we quickly mobilized to provide free pies to any hospital worker as a simple thank you for being our community heroes.”
Hooper said they have given out over $170,000 worth of pies since March 13 when they began the national initiative. &pizza delivers to every health care facility in the area.
In addition to the free pizzas, others can order for health care workers at a discounted rate. Each of these pizzas only cost $10 instead of the typical rate. Hooper said this flat rate was to cover the cost of making the pizza, but the company would not get any revenue from the purchase.
The Cambridge restaurant is &pizza’s only location in New England. Hooper said this location has been dedicated to making and giving pizzas to hospital workers around the region.
“This allows our guests or vendors or partners, even people from outside of the markets in which we operate, to buy a pie for our hospital workers and make sure that they stay fed and appreciated,” Hooper said.
&pizza has also raised all employee wages by one dollar, increased benefits, and allowed workers to take home more food from shifts. But despite all of this, Hooper said he’s not concerned about the financial impact on &pizza, saying they have always had a “serve first, solve next” perspective.
“Of course it’s not nearly as profitable for us to operate like this," he said. "But I think our point of view has been, these are the communities that support us when times are good, and they pay full dollar for their pizza during those times.”
Stephanie Purifoy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.