How to Support Your Favorite Local Bar, Restaurant or Brewery?
Due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19, businesses of all types around the country and the world have been forced to make significant changes. At best, they are changing their operational structure, and at worst, are being forced to shut down. In the hospitality industry, one which relies on in-person interaction, many restaurants, bars, and more, have shut their doors entirely to dine-in customers.
While this is a necessary action to contain the spread of the virus and protect everyone’s safety, it is causing significant strain for many businesses around the world, whose revenue flow has been drastically reduced, in some cases to zero.
These establishments are struggling, and they need support from their community. So the question arises: “How do I support my favorite restaurant during the coronavirus outbreak?” That’s exactly what we want to answer. For that reason, we have gathered several tips and strategies for supporting local businesses during quarantine lockdowns, all while staying at home. From ethical food delivery methods including safe curbside delivery, to tipping your delivery workers, and even social media activity, there’s plenty we can all do, and it all helps in some way. Check out some of the best ways to help out your local business below.
Takeout and Delivery
Why It Helps
With dine-in no longer a safe option to offer customers, many restaurants are now doing their best to switch to a delivery and takeout-only structure, if they aren’t closing completely. This obviously makes a substantial cut into revenue streams, especially for places that do not usually rely heavily on takeout as much as dine-in. For that reason, every order counts and your support makes a big difference as it helps the establishments not only to stay open, but also helps to support at least some of their staff. Each order received improves their position and keeps revenue flowing.
Many restaurants are also taking advantage of third-party delivery services, such as GrubHub, Postmates, DoorDash, etc. We recommend checking out these apps to see what’s available in your area. Do note, however, that third-party delivery services do take a significant chunk of profits from the restaurant, sometimes up to 30% per delivery order. So, while it’s still a good way to support a restaurant, the most helpful way to go about it is to check if a restaurant has their own delivery service, and use that if so.
Most, if not all of delivery services — both first and third-party — are also allowing options for contactless delivery. This means their delivery workers will leave your food at the door or entrance of your building, and usually wait for a notice from you that you picked it up, all without any direct interaction. This is done in order to limit the risk of infection.
TIP: If you know that some of your favorite restaurants are generally dine-in only, you should do some research online, as they may now be switching to delivery anyway due to these extenuating circumstances. We have seen that even places that don’t have a history of delivery/takeout are now offering both to stay afloat.
Eating Out Without Going Out
In addition to being a great way to support your best local restaurants, taking advantage of their delivery and takeout services can also be a great way to add some fun to any night of the week and get over the social distancing blues. Just make sure you stay safe when going out by wearing a mask and maintaining a 6 feet distance from other people you might see.
Many restaurants have also begun to offer safe curbside delivery, meaning that once you order your food and come to the restaurant, staff will walk it to your car once it’s ready. This is something you can find out about at each restaurant; it’s a good way to limit contact and prevent any spread of infection. Once you figure out your preferred method for getting your food, get some from your favorite restaurant and you’ll have a nice night in with great food and your favorite show to binge!
A more specific option you may want to try out is a meal subscription. You will likely need to figure out the availability and logistics based on each restaurant independently, but for places that do offer this service, it can be a great way to benefit both you and the restaurant. Meal subscriptions can be arranged directly with certain restaurants, but there are also third-party services that can help with this.
Buying a gift card for a restaurant you may not be able to visit yet may seem like a strange option, but think of it as an investment. When you buy one, you are investing in the financial well-being of that restaurant to help them make it through this crisis. In return, you will be able to get your favorite food in a few weeks when this odd situation is over and you can feel good about helping a local business during this hardship.
Whether a given restaurant is closed completely or still supporting delivery options, this is a worthy investment. Save it for yourself for later, or give it to a friend to encourage more business – it’s up to you. You’ll get value out of it, and you’ll be helping the restaurant community in the process. Win-win.
Keep Drinking Your Favorite Local Brews
Why It Helps
Both breweries and local bars are likely to be struggling with mandated lockdowns. As non-essential establishments, they are required to suspend services until it is safe. Still, it may be possible to buy your favorite beers from them. When going out for necessities, you can take precautions and visit your local bars and breweries to see if they are still offering any ways to purchase some of their delicious craft brewski. If they are, it will be a huge help to have customers buy it off their hands, as it will begin to clear their inventory and bring in some revenue.
If these types of establishments are still selling drinks, they are likely doing so by selling them in sealed containers, most commonly smaller beer cans, growlers or something more unique and perfect for two or more – crowlers.
What are growlers?
Growlers are large glass, ceramic or metal jugs that usually hold 64 oz. of whatever drink they are filled with. Bars may be using these containers as their primary method of selling drinks, as they are easy to carry and safely insulate. You will need to directly ask whether or not this is the case for each establishment, but if so, buying one or more can be a win-win for you and them, especially if you care about lowering your carbon footprint.
What are crowlers?
Crowlers are basically huge cans, usually holding 32 oz. of your favorite beer. They are perfect to share with a partner, another family member or a friend you are quarantined with. Crowlers are also sold by certain bars and taprooms. Like growlers, they are vacuum sealed so they make for a nice and safe option to get your favorite drinks.
Example of a crowler (not a growler), shown above. Adorable dog for scale.
Order 4 or 6-Packs
Local grocery stores are most likely still going to be selling most of their usual beers, and this should include some local craft brews as well. If you’re a beerhead, this is definitely the easiest and safest place to get them. When you go out to get necessities, you can easily pick up a 4-pack or 6-pack of your favorite beer along with your other groceries. You’ll get to enjoy an awesome drink experience and also help out some of your favorite craft brewers as well.
For example, one of our favorite breweries empowered by PourMyBeer, District Brew Yards in Chicago, is now doing takeout in their beer shop on Tuesday through Saturday from 1p-7p to save at least some of their sales and make the quarantine times for their local market at least a bit hoppier.
Help Restaurant Employees Out
Why It Matters to Them
Employees of restaurants and bars that have had to make serious changes or shut down are, at best, experiencing a significant change in lifestyle. At worst, they are out of a job completely. Things are rough for everyone at the moment, so it’s very important to support each other. For restaurant and bar workers, the end of the virus won’t necessarily be the end of tough times, as lost profits and slow returns to normalcy will affect this industry the most.
Small gestures can go a very long way in easing stress and making people feel happy at a time when the future is so uncertain. Support your friends who work in this industry by talking to them often, making sure they have some kind of support system if needed, and perhaps even helping them out with necessities if you can afford to do so.
During these times of crisis, we should try our best to help each other out, especially those affected most significantly.
Continue to Tip
For restaurants that have been able to make the switch to takeout and delivery only, it is very likely that their workers have had to take a sizable reduction in pay. For this reason, tipping when you order is even more important than ever before. If you can afford it, you should continue to tip delivery workers, and we even recommend tipping a bit extra than you normally would due to their current financial cuts. This can be a big help for them, and if nothing else, it will certainly brighten their day.
If one of your local favorite places has any merchandise for sale, buy some! Plenty of PourMyBeer customer restaurants, bars, and taprooms have branded items for sale, including shirts, hats, water bottles, and more!
Check out the websites for some of your favorite places to see if they maybe have an online shop for items like these, and buy one for yourself and maybe some for your friends and family as well! Not only will you be helping the restaurant with your purchase, but you’ll be able to give them a bit of extra publicity with their swag as well.
Why It Helps
Social media may seem a bit too intangible to be something influential for food and drink businesses, but that’s not entirely true. Social media continues to be one of the most common ways for people to stay connected with the world and the people in their community. Especially now that people are more physically isolated and likely to be working from home rather than at their offices, social media is being used more frequently to stay connected.
That’s precisely why restaurants maintaining a strong online presence during this time are in a good position to successfully engage audiences and have their content seen. For establishments in the hospitality industry, this kind of exposure is essentially the best way to ensure that people will remember them, since fewer customers will be seeing them in person. Once things stabilize and reopen, that social media exposure will then serve as a reminder for people to make one of their first outings dining at their place.
Keep Up to Date
Whether your favorite restaurant is posting once a day or once a week, you can help out simply by keeping up with their updates and engaging with them. Reactions and comments, even simple ones, can help them appear and reappear on people’s feeds, thereby giving them that much more visibility.
In addition, keeping up-to-date can be good for you as well! If this is a restaurant, bar, or taproom you like, you can benefit from keeping up with any potential updates and changes; for example, they may switch to a delivery system if they didn’t have one before.
In addition to reacting and commenting, another nice way to increase an establishment’s visibility is to share a post of theirs, and possibly add some of your own messaging to the post. This is a great way to give them publicity among your personal network, which they may not be able to tap into ordinarily.
Some establishments that have had to close down have been hosting streaming events, in which they put out a variety of content relating to updates on their operation, personal updates from staff, and more. Check out your local restaurant and bar’s pages to see if this is something they are doing, and if so, tune in for a while! Showing engagement will encourage others to join in, which can again increase their visibility on social media platforms.
Something else that can potentially be very helpful is to use Yelp. Leaving positive reviews and comments for your favorite places, in addition to relevant words such as takeout and delivery, can really help the business get more exposure with other diners who are looking for the same experience.
Reviews can lead to a boost in visibility when people search for places to eat just as much as when they are looking for a place for takeout and delivery. Not to mention that in the long run your review can help improve overall ratings for these restaurants and encourage people to try their food either now or in the future when quarantines are lifted.
This is an uncertain time for everyone, especially for those working in the hospitality industry. It may be this way for a while longer, and that’s precisely why it’s so important that we all continue to support each other. We look forward to the time when all our favorite taprooms, bars, and restaurants open up and bring people joy again, but until then let’s all try to support them in whichever ways we can, and be safe while doing so.
Be sure to follow social distancing rules, stay safe, and maybe grab some beer during your next trip for essentials to make your quarantine a little easier and more hoppy, ahem, we meant happy!
Finally, if you find yourself with a bit of extra time on your hands and are eager to improve your beer knowledge, we have just the right resources for you! Take a look out at our article on the seasonality of beer and also how to choose the right glass to complement your brews. Cheers!