Well, we think it’s fair to say this has been a shocker of a year? One industry which has felt the full force of the impact Coronavirus can have is the hospitality industry. When lockdown was announced back at the end of the March we don’t think anyone expected restrictions to still be in place all these months later.
While of course guidelines have eased and we’re now allowed to eat at restaurants again, there have been massive shifts to how hospitality business must operate. Social distancing has meant fewer tables can be filled in most cases, while the 10pm curfew has shortened service times considerably. Most recently, the tiering system brought into practice in October has meant many restaurants and bars across the country have been forced to shut, or only allow groups of guests who live together to dine inside their venues - again reducing their revenue opportunities.
With huge swathes of the country reliant on these business for income, there are many people’s livelihoods at risk. While so many restaurants have gone above and beyond to ensure their space is a safe haven for guests, there will naturally be those who feel nervous about eating out during a pandemic. So, whether you’re happy to eat out or would prefer to support your local from the comfort of your couch, there are many ways we can all lend a hand and support the places which have provided us all with so much joy over the years (because nothing says happiness more than sharing a pizza with pals). With the new regulations enforcing closures in some places and tougher guidelines elsewhere, we want to ask for your help, to support the industry and raise some awareness around how you can help to minimise the effects on all those local businesses, their owners and their staff - who are having a tough time right now.
If you want to support your local restaurant - and the industry as a whole - we have picked out 11 ways you can help (...and most of them won’t cost you a penny).
1. Book a restaurant DIY box
Along with most of the businesses in the UK, the hospitality sector has done an incredible job of ‘pivoting’ its offering in response to Coronavirus. One way lots of restaurants and bars are supplementing their lost income is to create DIY recipe boxes so that diners can whip up their favourite dishes or drinks at home. From Dishoom’s famous bacon naan through to Patty & Bun’s burgers, these are a great way to add a little excitement to your weekly recipe rota.
2. Order a takeaway
Okay, this one is hardly revolutionary, but have you thought about getting takeaway from your favourite restaurant? Even if your local never offered a delivery service pre-Covid, you may find that they’re now offering meals to enjoy at home. Why not pick a new independent restaurant to enjoy a meal from once every so often to help support a family business going through a tricky time.
3. Write a review
If everyone reading this added one review of somewhere they have eaten and enjoyed then the overall impact would be fantastic. Not only would you be sharing your inside information on where to eat in your local area, you would also give the restaurant and its employees a lovely morale boost. Of course we love it when our readers write a review on our website but anywhere you can write a review, be it sites like ours or on social media, makes a difference - the most important message is to just write one.
4. Buy restaurant merchandise
While you may not be able to visit your favourite restaurants right now, you can still represent them out on the streets by snapping up some of their merch. Plenty of restaurants have jumped on the merch bandwagon in recent years, selling everything from mugs and t-shirts to canvas bags and reusable coffee cups. If your favourite restaurant has a line of merchandise, visit their website now to help them generate some much-needed income.
5. Purchase your favourite restaurant's cookbook
Everyone has a favourite restaurant, and at their favourite restaurant, a favourite dish. A simple way to recreate the magic in your own home while eating out is a little trickier than normal is to purchase a cookbook from them, if they have one. Any additional income is sure to help support staff wages and hopefully aid your favourite eatery to survive the pandemic.
6. Like, comment on and share their social posts
Whether it’s a favourite dish, a new menu or just a general shout out, interacting with social posts from your local restaurant or venue could significantly increase their post engagements and widen their audience. If won’t cost you a penny and you can show a little bit of solidarity for the hospitality industry.
7. Post that foodie photo
Did you go to your favourite restaurant for dinner and forget to post the pic? Post it now and tag the restaurant. Friends and followers may want to follow in your footsteps to book a spot somewhere similar.
8. Buy a gift voucher
If you want to show support to your local restaurant, but you're worried about being in busy spaces right now, buying a gift voucher to use at a later date can be a real help. Most restaurants allow their gift vouchers to be redeemed up to six months after purchasing and some restaurants have even extended this period because of the current climate. If you want to help out the restaurant scene, check out our SquareMeal Gift Vouchers, which can be redeemed in over 40 participating UK restaurants and bars.
9. Sign up to their newsletters
If you want to take your support to the next level then why not sign up to the newsletter for your favourite restaurant? You might even find you get to be first in the know about special events, discounts and new menus when they happen.
10. Be kind
Whether it’s some love on social media or just an extra thank you at a restaurant the next time you're eating out, a few kind words can go a long way. Why not make some extra effort to do one additional gesture of kindness?
11. Share this article
By sharing this article you will help us to spread the word and show your support for the hospitality industry. Whether you work in the industry or simply love going to an event or out for dinner, we would be so grateful for your help with spreading this message.
Love to help? Here's how you can support a charity to combat homeless from as little as £1 at your favourite restaurant