These are truly unprecedented times that we are facing right now. The lockdowns have done a number on the economy and it’s having a major impact on a lot of industries. The restaurant biz is one of the hardest hit areas as people staying at home and avoiding others mean dining out isn’t a priority anymore.
If you’ve been following your favorite eateries in social media, you’ll notice that some may have already closed their doors permanently. Smaller, independent restaurants just do not have the capacity to continue to operate while managing all of the rigorous health protocols with low sales. It’s a heartbreaking situation and something a lot of us can help avoid.
You might think that as an individual and single consumer you can’t do a lot to help the food industry ride out the health crisis. You’re wrong. Even if you can’t do a lot, you can still contribute to the bigger picture that might just help an industry survive the worst of the pandemic.
What exactly can you do? Here are six things that will help you contribute to the survival of small and independent restaurants.
Support restaurants directly.
When possible, it’s best to order from small restaurants directly. Instead of using apps that take a percentage out of the sales of the business, if they have their own delivery services that will cover your area anyway, opt to use the restaurant’s direct services instead. This way, they won’t have to spend more to cater to their customers.
Ordering for take-outs and pick-ups will also help. So if you can, go for these methods instead.
Spread the word.
If your favorite independent restaurant is open or has special offers, spread the word. It won’t hurt to share their announcements on social media or talk about them in your own posts. If you think other people you know will also benefit from what they’re offering, don’t hesitate to spread the word. Word of mouth continues to be an effective marketing tool today, even in the time of fast internet, so sharing is definitely caring for these businesses.
Write your representatives and Senators.
Governmental aid will make some of the biggest impacts in the survival of small restaurant businesses so it can also help if you’ll get involved by contacting your representatives and Senators. Writing and calling them will help their offices learn more about the situation on the ground and recognize the pressing concerns their constituents have about the food industry crisis.
Be ready to make adjustments as well.
Your attitude also matters when it comes to supporting the small and independent restaurants. Keep in mind that a lot of these businesses are facing a lot of challenges right now that might affect their operations, so being more understanding would greatly help. There will be new rules and policies for their customers’ safety that will be enforced and being open to them will make operations smoother and less stressful to businesses.
For example, if you choose to be a dine-in guest in their stores, make sure to follow the safety protocols they have in place. They will enforce social distancing measures, especially when seating groups, so please be understanding. Due to the limited number of seats, many restaurants might not let in walk-in guests, so check in advance about reservations.
Some states may also have specific points in their guidelines that might affect your dining experience, so it would be ideal if you can check in advance what they would be. In California, diners will have to pack their own leftovers while New Jersey will request to take their guests’ phone numbers for contact tracing.
Check with the restaurant you plan to visit if you want to make sure of your safety. P.F. Chang’s listed down what they’ll require their diners to do when inside their stores and what they’re doing to keep their customers safe. Peter Luger now only accepts credit card payments after being notoriously cash-only for nearly a century and a half of operations.
Most restaurants do not enforce additional measures aside from what the state mandates, however, so if you’re up to date on that, you will not be surprised with the new policies of your favorite restaurant.
Buy other stuff, too.
Aside from ordering food from your favorite restaurant, you can also purchase other things to help move their inventories and add more to their sales. Buying booze from them is recommended. You might be able to do this by the bottle or by ordering ready-made cocktails to go. Some places now sell gift cards, too, so you might want to check that out as well.
Support causes that aid restaurants.
Donating to organizations that help aid small and independent restaurants is another way you can extend your help to the struggling industry. There are lots that will welcome your help and are helping different sectors in the industry. You can easily take your pick which cause you want to help.
There’s definitely a lot that you can do in your small way to help struggling food businesses make it through this health crisis. You can try everything on our list or pick and choose which ones to do and you’ll still be able to lend a hand to those in need.