7 Ways to Support Local Restaurants During COVID-19
As federal and state governments continue to issue and extend shelter-in-place orders, the impact of COVID-19 on everyday life is pervasive and hard to escape. Though our daily routines may be interrupted and it is a stressful time for everyone, there are still things that we can do to help out local restaurants and workers that are being hit significantly.
1. Order Gift Cards
This one is a great solution to support restaurants financially while still practicing social distancing. Furthermore, you could gift these to loved ones (or even a stranger!) to make their day and lift spirits or keep some for yourself and look forward to a great meal once quarantine is over.
2. Use delivery/pickup
Restaurants are doing their best to survive the pandemic by pivoting their business models and converting their operations to be more delivery and pickup centric. By ordering takeout for your next meal, not only is that a task crossed off the to-do list, but restaurants will appreciate your business! If the restaurant doesn’t offer delivery services, opt to use companies that are helping with COVID-19 efforts such as GrubHub who is waiving restaurant commission fees, providing relief valued at $100 million.
Courtesy of Mi Tierra Cafe and Bakery @mitierracafesa on Instagram
3. Leverage your social media game
Let’s face it: the majority of us are spending increased amounts of time on social media now that we are quarantined at home. Spare a second and follow your favorite restaurants on their social media accounts and leave a positive review on Yelp/Google which boosts their visibility and internet presence.
Courtesy of El Arroyo @elarroyo_atx on Instagram
Want to take it a step further? Share on your social media if you had a notable positive experience with a particular restaurant! For a friend’s birthday last week, I ordered a pint of ice cream from Marble Slab Creamery to be delivered to her apartment. Not only did Marble Slab Creamery keep me updated on the delivery, but they threw in an extra pint of Birthday Cake ice cream for free. It was a great way to establish me as a loyal customer while brightening my friend’s day.
4. Buy your weekly groceries at your favorite restaurant
Given the significant reduction in customers, restaurants are now faced with an excess of food inventory. To combat this, state governments are amending restrictions and restaurants are quickly turning into mini grocery stores which not only provides an opportunity for restaurants to sell food, but offers people alternative places to buy groceries when their local Kroger, Walmart, Whole Foods, etc. are out of certain items.
Check out these restaurants turned grocery stores in Texas:
5. Go to the grocery store (specifically, H-E-B)
I know this one sounds like it is going against the last tip but Texas-based grocery store, H-E-B, has launched a cool initiative to support local restaurants throughout the state.
Select H-E-Bs have partnered with local restaurants to sell ready-made meals in stores. Not only does this initiative increase accessibility of these restaurants to potential customers, but H-E-B has pledged to give all proceeds directly back to the restaurants.
6. Increase your tip amount (or find another way to donate)
It’s no secret that the service industry heavily relies on tips to supplement their paychecks so if you are financially in a place to do so, consider leaving a bigger tip than usual when ordering delivery or pick up.
However, if you are not financially able to donate monetarily, consider donating your time or talents instead. For example, one of my friends who is a yoga teacher hosts weekly yoga sessions via Zoom/Instagram Live. Rather than charging a fee, she asks attendees to donate to a chosen restaurant of the week. Talk about an effective workout!
7. Be kind
Finally, remember to be kind and be human. As someone who worked in the service industry up to the beginning of this year, I have friends who have shared horror stories of customers snapping or yelling at them during quarantine when there were miscommunications with orders. Restaurant employees are still adapting to curbside and delivery and might make mistakes under pressure.
Check-in on friends and loved ones (both those in the service industry and those who aren’t). This is a stressful time for the entire world but hopefully, a good meal might make things a little easier (coupled with good hygiene and social distancing, of course!)