How are you supporting local restaurants?
Local restaurants need our support now more than ever. These restaurant owners and workers are our friends, relatives and neighbors and many are wondering if their business will survive into the new year.
In September, 2020, the National Restaurant Association reported that the restaurant industry has experienced 100,000 closures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The past year has been especially unkind to locally owned restaurants. They’ve had to scramble to figure out how to survive while being shut down for weeks at a time and then adjust their menus to offer curbside and delivery services. Let’s help our local restaurants just as they have helped us over the years. Remember, they are the ones that have given to our local charity auction events, sponsored our little league teams and remembered us by name as while catering to our specific dining preferences.
But what can we do to support local restaurants when sometimes we can’t even walk through their front doors?
Buy local whenever possible. Remember all of the birthday and holiday gifts you give throughout the year? Pledge to give gifts or gift certificates only from local restaurants. (Many restaurants sell promotional items such as T-shirts, hats and cookbooks.) Get your morning latte at the local coffee shop just down the street. Chances are the lines will be shorter and you’ll get a kind word from your favorite barista.
Speaking of being kind, please be patient with the person who is preparing and serving your food. They may be thinking about how they are going to pay their rent this month and believe me, they are just as tired of wearing a mask as you are.
Share, share and then share some more. If the local restaurant has a social media presence, share news about their specials and promotions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other forums. Encourage others to participate in supporting local.
If you cannot physically go to the restaurant, consider ordering curbside or delivery to your home. Keep in mind that some delivery services charge the restaurant a fee for delivery, but those delivery drivers need to keep their jobs too, so either way you are helping people in your community. If the local store has a website, utilize that option if you can’t visit the restaurant in person.
Tip as much as you can afford. Put some dollars in the tip jar and give a few bucks to the person who served you. You may not be able to see their smile underneath their mask, but you’ll see their eyes light up in appreciation. Remember the neighborhood convenience store is a restaurant of sorts too. Go ahead and give the cashier a well deserved tip. You can always ask them if they can accept tips before giving them cash. They will appreciate being asked and at the very least you can give them a big “thank you!”.
If you know the store owner, send them a card of appreciation or “thinking of you” card and/or a small gift of appreciation. Let them know that you support local!
By dining and shopping locally, once the pandemic is over and our masks come off, we can be assured that we will see the smiling faces of our friends, relatives and neighbors that have worked so hard to continue services during these extreme circumstances.
What is your favorite local restaurant? How is your community rallying behind local restaurants to help them keep their doors open?