Why supporting restaurants now matters more than ever
When it comes down to it, restaurants are the cornerstone for our communities. These are the places we go to celebrate major accomplishments and milestones. Restaurants are so often chosen for a first date or visited time and time again to celebrate special occasions. We gather with friends just because. We look forward to a cold beer or a spirituous cocktail on a Friday or Saturday night to unwind from our work weeks. And don’t forget — brunch. Restaurants and bars have become an integral part of our lives and many Americans have a lot of special moments and memories attributed to food and beverage experiences.
But right now, these places that have provided us so much in times prior to the stay-at-home orders, are struggling. The financial distress so many of these restaurateurs and small business owners who offer dining and drinking experiences are facing is beyond measure. Some are closed completely while still needing to maintain rents while others have pivoted and remain open but have taken a devastating blow to sales.
So what can we do to ensure the best possible outcomes for the restaurants in our community?
Here’s a few thoughts on what could make a difference.
As a community member:
- If you are financially able, order your favorite food or merch offerings or gift cards from your favorite restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, etc. as often as you are able while you remain home.
- If you do place an order, opt for curbside pickup versus using a third party delivery service who drastically reduces the restaurants’ margins.
- Try to support local, independent businesses as much as you can as these companies may not have as much cash on hand to keep afloat until orders are lifted and it’s safe to be out and about.
- Check social media pages for your favorite establishments to see if there are employee relief funds or other support (financial or otherwise) they are requesting that you are able to contribute to or provide. Or donate to the Ohio Restaurant Associations’ Employee Relief Fund.
- Should your budget for carry-out be a little lower given the circumstances but you want to support in whatever way you can, Flavvr is currently offering a free 90 day trial of the digital dining rewards application that passes exclusive, members only promotions from restaurants directly to the diner here in central Ohio. Using an app like Flavvr allows the restaurant to maintain control over presentation and customer experience without losing a large percent of their margins.
- And if you can’t support the industry financially, become a superfan. Follow your favorite establishments on all of their social media platforms and share valuable content with your networks. Write great reviews about the service, food and people. Anything you can do to help introduce others to your favorite spots and build connection, is invaluable.
As a partner that serves the restaurant industry:
- Be an empathetic partner and a good human. If you are a service or technology partner or otherwise support the restaurant industry through your business dealings, and you are in a place where you can be more flexible with payment terms or offer financial assistance or expertise, even small gestures go a long way right now.
As a restaurant owner or operator:
- Continue to deliver on consistency and quality of customer experience and offerings while operating with empathy and levity (i.e. a free roll of toilet paper with every order). Don’t let people forget why they fell in love with your establishment in the first place. Give them as many reasons as you can to return again and again for curbside and someday hopefully in the not so distant future, for dine-in. (And start thinking about that future now, as being a restaurant in apost-COVID-19 world will be vastly different.)
In our hometown of Columbus, Ohio, restaurants are a way of life and so much a part of what makes our city a particularly amazing place to live. The restaurant industry feeds our appetites — for food and for life. And they need us now. More than ever. Amidst so much uncertainty, community support of the restaurants remains key to the survival of each of these establishments. We are all in this together, and if everyone does a little bit, my hope is, together we will make it to the other side of all of this and maintain the people and places that have brought us the experiences that define how our communities eat, drink and celebrate.