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How to Support Local Restaurants After A Pandemic

It's no surprise that Covid-19 has taken an astronomical toll on the food industry. Even though many of us continued to visit restaurants during lock-down, between supply-chain issues, worker shortages, and thousands of forced layoffs, Covid-19 has sent local restaurants careening into a destructive tailspin that many owners are finding difficult to climb out of.

Now more than ever, it's important to support local restaurants. Below are some effective, tangible steps you can take to revitalize our culinary landscape to keep your beloved mom-and-pop shops open for business.

Tip, Tip, Tip


We all know it’s customary to tip when dining in, but the vast majority of customers don't understand the degree to which restaurant workers rely on tips to make their living wage. As a result, many don’t tip for pickup orders. Especially in states where servers still make a server’s wage, that one or two dollars extra is how food service workers make ends meet.

But during the pandemic, when pickup orders dominated, tips were cut short. Between a plummet in tips, slashed hours, and a general plunge in the economy, servers weren't making the money they were used to. Because of this, servers left the food industry in droves, resulting in restaurant managers scrambling to staff their front of house.

It may sound obvious, but restaurants can't run without their front of house servers. By tipping servers (even on pickup orders), you help keep workers financially motivated and able to continue being involved in the food service industry, which in turn keeps restaurants afloat.


Ditch The Apps


With the recent tidal wave of technology, apps like UberEats, Postmates, Doordash, and Grubhub possess a stronghold on how our food is delivered. But what customers gained in convenience, restaurants lost in profit.

When customers place orders through apps, restaurants must pay enormous commission fees to those apps - sometimes up to 30% of the total order. The fees are so high, in fact, that some restaurants don’t make any profit on these orders at all.

Next time you order pickup or delivery, try going old-school and call the restaurant directly. Not only will it help the restaurant earn more profit, but it will save you money, too.


Purchase Gift Cards


Gift cards are a tremendous help when supporting local restaurants. Think of gift cards as a personal investment in the business: you’re offering your financial support when they need it the most. This burst of money helps give them straight profit, which could be the helping hand they need to stay in business.

If you have a restaurant you love, purchase a gift card to use later. Or, better yet, purchase a gift card to give to a friend as a present; this may help the restaurant attract a larger fan-base.



If You Have A Good Experience - Spread The Word!


Most of us only think to write a review when we've had a poor experience despite the fact that most customers turn to sites like Yelp to help choose a restaurant. This creates an imbalance where a restaurant may have an inaccurate number of bad reviews, which damages their chances of attracting new customers.

The next time your food is delicious, make sure to leave a positive review. It also never hurts to pick up the phone and express how great the food was to the restaurant team. Servers and managers usually only hear complaints when customers call back after an order; contacting the restaurant to compliment them on their service may be the emotional boost those line cooks, servers, and managers need.


Use Social Media


If you know of a restaurant that's struggling, social media is an effective tool to increase business. Many restaurants try to expand their reach on social media but can’t afford to hire a professional social media marketer to help them bring in more business.

Promoting a local restaurant on social media is a free, easy way to show your support. Find your local sandwich shop or ice cream parlor on social media and encourage others in the area to visit them.


Be Patient


Second to the decrease in pay, the biggest reason workers are leaving the food industry is due to the aggressive, sometimes cruel, behavior of customers. There have been cases where restaurants had to close their doors to take a break from viscous customers.

Of course, it’s frustrating when a restaurant is out of your favorite item, but understand that in addition to dealing with global supply chain issues, they're also dealing with staffing issues, on top of trying to survive a pandemic - all while providing you with top-tier service.

If you don't have the extra income to buy a gift card or leave a generous tip, then come in with a smile and be patient during long wait times or when presented with smaller menus.



As the world continues to recover from what we hope is the peak of the pandemic, restaurants struggle to bounce back to what they were pre-Covid. If you're a fan of your local pizza shop or vegan eatery, then show your support during these trying times. Consider leaving a generous tip or purchase a gift card. At the very least, come in with a smile and some nice words.

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