5 things you can do to help your favorite restaurant survive the pandemic?

“We are on the brink of extinction.”—These ominous words are from the petition on Change.org made by restauranteurs across America appealing to the government for an aid package. Is this stretching the truth too far? When you flesh out the details, it really isn’t.

Restaurants, both big and small without exception, are looking at a catastrophic future. Unless help arrives from all corners. As a patron, you have an indispensable role to play in helping your favorite restaurant survive the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s how.

Encourage Direct-Order

It’s not enough that you place orders online, but important to order directly from the restaurant’s website or app. You may also encourage friends and family to do so by posting about it on social media using the hashtag #TheGreatAmericanTakeout. This campaign has been set up by a group of restaurants and even basketball star LeBron James gave it a nod on Twitter.

Some essential things to remember when ordering online:

• Make sure to order from the restaurants’ own websites so that third-party sites don’t take a lion’s share of the commission. If your favorite restaurant is not online, you can participate in our campaign and make a pledge here to help your restaurant get online. Our team will help them put things together in less than 3 days so they can start taking online orders for takeaway and/or delivery.

• Restaurants may only be able to offer limited menus, so be understanding and don’t complain or write negative reviews.

• Opt for contactless delivery and tip generously.

Donate funds

Several organizations in various cities have initiated programs to help raise funds. Here are some of them you can refer to make your donation:

The Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund is providing 50% of the funds directly to individual workers, 25% to NGOs serving restaurant workers in crisis and 25% as zero-interest loans.

One Fair Wage Emergency Fund: The OFW campaign is raising funds to help restaurant employees, delivery workers, and other tipped workers in the food industry.

CORE: Children of Restaurant Employees are supporting food and beverage employees with children who’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Find a comprehensive list of relief funds, including ones for specific cities, here. But also keep an eye out for newer funding avenues that may come up in your local area in the following days.

Order booze

This might seem a bit unconventional, but the truth is that buying alcoholic beverages can really help restaurants clear the stock and make a profit from it. Restrictions on liquor delivery have been relaxed in several US states, which comes as a huge relief for the industry struggling to stay afloat during this time.

While beer and wine are the most commonly ordered booze, customers in California can also enjoy cocktails to-go from their favorite bars and restaurants. This will not only help restaurants maximize their profits but also ease the anxiety of sitting on thousands of dollars of inventory.

Sign the petition

In these trying times, restaurants are adapting and adjusting the best they can and well-meaning patrons are lending a helping hand wherever possible. However, these efforts are simply not enough to rescue the industry.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) estimates that sector will be hit with a massive $225 billion loss as half of its 5.4 million jobs face severe risk over the next three months. This is why restaurant owners and workers, including celebrity chefs, are joining forces to seek government intervention with a petition titled ‘Save America's Restaurants’ on Change.org.

The petition seeks emergency employment benefits to those affected by the pandemic, waiving of payroll tax and zoning or permit restrictions to allow restaurants to set-up alternative spaces like boutique food and beverage markets and to endorse rent and loan abatement for workers.

There are 333,022 signatures (as the time of writing this article) and the target is to reach 500,000.

You can also call on your local representatives to help the industry using this contact form created by the NRA.

Go beyond food and drinks

Temporary websites have been launched by different individuals and groups to curate gift cards from several restaurants and make it easier for customers to purchases. Save Our Faves, by Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger, has a list of restaurants in the Bay Area. inKind Plus, set-up by a coalition of independent restaurants, offers gift cards with added bonus for customers and redeemable at all venues in the group.

Moreover, some restaurants are also selling merchandise like t-shirts, hats, and cookbooks. Some are even delivering groceries to offload inventory. So besides food and drinks, you can help your favorite establishments by snapping up some of these items on offer.

How Restolabs is helping the restaurant community to navigate the crisis!

We pledge to save yours, ours and everyones' favorite restaurants and we want your support to help us reach those who are looking to push through the chaos.

Throughout the campaign, we'll select 10 most tagged restaurants week-on-week and help them set up an online ordering website for absolutely no cost. We won't be charging them any subscription fee for the first 6 months as well.

If you wish to be a part of this great deed, tag your favorite restaurant(s) with a hashtag #isave and share one reason why you like them. Help them widen the reach by spreading the word about their impeccable hospitality.

So, take a pledge here, contribute as much as possible and help your favorite restaurants keep their kitchens running and doors wide open! They need us now more than ever!