As people around the globe are being implored to stay home and avoid social settings, the restaurant industry is bearing the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic’s negative economic effects. More and more restaurants are being ordered to move to a takeout/delivery-only model for the foreseeable future, causing food service workers to be laid off and restaurants to see a sharp and potentially detrimental drop in revenue.
At Tripleseat, our primary goal is to support our restaurant, bar, and venue partners, and we know that many consumers are also looking for ways to help local businesses during these uncertain times. We’ve put together a list of ways to support your neighborhood restaurants and food providers while practicing social distancing. Read on, and let us know if you have other ideas for how to help friends at local restaurants.
1. Purchase gift cards
Buying gift cards from your favorite local restaurants is a way to support their immediate cash flow even when you can’t dine with them. If you typically like to give gift cards for birthday or holiday gifts, consider stocking up on them now for later gifting. Many restaurants have gift cards available online, so check there before making an in-person visit.
2. Order takeout or delivery
Even when you’re stuck at home, you still need to eat well! Treat yourself to a meal from your favorite restaurant that you can enjoy in your own house. Call and ask your local restaurants whether they’re offering takeout or delivery options. Many eateries that don’t normally offer or emphasize to-go orders are focusing on them now, so check in with your favorite dine-in spots on their current services.
Some third-party delivery services, like UberEats, are even waiving delivery fees to aid restaurants during this period of social distancing. Do some online research to find out the best ways to order takeout or delivery from local restaurants.
3. Make donations
Many organizations have set up relief funds and GoFundMe accounts to help struggling restaurants and service industry workers during these challenging weeks. If you have money to spare and are looking for ways to help, consider making a donation to a relief fund that speaks to you. Find a list here.
4. Buy merch online
In addition to food, many restaurants and bars also make money by selling merchandise like t-shirts, hats, mugs, and more. Take this time to check out their website and buy some swag for you and your family. That way, you can rep your favorite establishment while also supporting them financially during the coronavirus outbreak.
5. Shop at local grocers
With all the panic buying that’s been going on around the world, big-name grocery stores are certainly not facing financial hardships due to the coronavirus. However, your small local grocers might not be faring so well. Next time you need to restock your pantry or snag a bottle of wine, stop in at your neighborhood’s corner store or market. You might pay a slightly higher price than you would at a big-box grocery store, but you’ll be supporting the future of the small business economy.
6. Order restaurant meal kits
As restaurants adapt to social distancing practices, they’re looking for creative ways to drive business and meet customers in the middle. For some restaurants, that means building and selling meal kits that you can pick up, take home and prepare in your own kitchen.
For customers, this is a great way to enjoy a delicious meal and learn a new recipe while still practicing social distancing. You can even make it into a fun activity for the whole family! Check your local restaurants’ social media pages to find out if they’re offering this service right now.
7. Write positive reviews
If you’re like most people, you’ve suddenly found yourself with an abundance of free time. Take a few minutes to go online and write positive reviews for your favorite local restaurants on TripAdvisor, Yelp, and other sites where they’re listed. It may be a small gesture, but it can have a huge impact when the restaurant business returns to normal in the future.
8. Ask how you can help
Local restaurants and businesses are all looking for ways to survive over the next few weeks, and many of them have unique needs or ideas for keeping their business afloat. If you’re not sure how to help, call, or email your neighborhood spots and ask what you can do to best support them through the coronavirus pandemic.
To read more about how the coronavirus is impacting the hospitality industry, read our blog posts. You can also register for our Adapting Your Business to Change with Tripleseat webinar to learn industry tips and some Tripleseat tutorials to help you during this difficult time to stay ahead of the game.