How to Help Local Restaurants, Bars and Cafes During the Coronavirus Lockdown

How to Help Local Restaurants, Bars and Cafes During the Coronavirus Lockdown 1

As more people remain at home to self-isolate, concerns have been raised regarding how our favorite food and drink will survive during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

“There are more than 1 million restaurants in the U.S., employing 15.6 million people,” Marvin Irby, National Restaurant Association, interim president and CEO, told Newsweek. “More than 70 percent of these restaurants are small businesses that support their local communities — these local restaurants run on razor-thin pre-tax margins and they are facing an unprecedented cash flow crisis.

“The foodservice industry was on track to have sales of $899 billion this year, but sales are already slowing and the loss of revenue will have a deep impact on the small business owners of local restaurants,” he says.

Chairs are wrapped in caution tape at a restaurant in Dublin, California following shelter in place orders in the San Francisco Bay Area during an outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, March 16, 2020. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

In several states in the U.S. including Ohio, Texas, and Virginia, restaurants, especially those that offer dine-in options, have been restricted from opening during the outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also released guidance to businesses, primarily those whose employees might deal with customers face-to-face, to help them slow the spread.

But with the number of COVID-19 cases rising in the U.S. it looks like restaurants, bars and cafes could be restricted for a lot longer. To help your favorite eatery or meet-up spot, Newsweek has compiled some examples and ideas on how you can support them from the comfort of your own home.

Order takeout

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Just because some diners have been closed doesn’t mean that a restaurant or cafe won’t offer takeout. Companies such as DoorDash and GrubHub have committed to supporting community hospitality businesses, with Tony Xu, president and CEO of DoorDash writing in a blog post. “Around the globe, the restaurants that form the backbone of our communities are being asked to change how they operate. From limiting their occupancy to closing their doors to dining guests, these businesses are facing the prospect of lost sales, making it harder for them to meet their daily expenses.

“That is why we’re announcing a package of commission relief and marketing support for new and existing DoorDash partner restaurants to help them generate up to $200 million in additional sales this year.”

Check your go-to takeaway app and see what local establishments are offering delivery and keep them going through these difficult times.

Purchase gift cards

Restaurant, bars and cafes operate on lean margins, so the pandemic and the resulting restrictions placed on them means their cash flow is going to suffer. One way to help keep their cash flow going is to buy a gift card.

While you might not be able to use the gift card at the moment — some eateries are dine in only, for example — the purchasing of a gift card will help keep your favorite place going as it will contribute to cash flow.

Get the merchandise

Businesses big and small often have their own branded merchandise and now is a good time to buy it. Like purchasing a gift card, this goes directly into the company’s cash flow meaning that they can continue to pay staff and expenses.

To find out what your local business offers, visit their website and you’ll often find they have a shop where you can buy t-shirts, caps, mugs and much more.

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