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6 Ways To Support Local Restaurants During the COVID-19 Pandemic

There are simple things you can do from the comfort of your own home.

Though the coronavirus has brought on scary and uncertain times throughout the United States and across the world, it has also reminded us that each of us can play an important role in our communities.

Social distancing, though directly beneficial to the individual, is even more crucial for preventing further widespread outbreaks and deaths, especially for those who are elderly or have compromised immune systems.

Another way to help each other during this challenging time is to support food businesses in our communities that are going to be suffering due to social distancing and mandated closures. Many local restaurants are facing a challenging few months that could pose a substantial threat to their livelihoods.

Many restaurants will have to rely on delivery and takeout as their prime income verticals. As consumers and fans of their product, or simply as good samaritans, we can find ways to rally together and help keep them afloat.

Here are some simple ways you can support your local food businesses without leaving the comfort of your home.

Learn the facts

food delivery

If you're worried about contracting the coronavirus from restaurant food, keep in mind that CDC states there is currently no evidence to support that fear. The virus isn't any more contractable from ordering takeout or delivery than it is from going to the grocery store and stocking up on pantry goods. There has also been no evidence to support that coronavirus is transmitted through food from one person to another. Learn more about coronavirus-related food safety here.

Buy a restaurant gift card—or a bunch

gift card

Despite the fact that restaurants are bringing in far less business, most are all still responsible for paying regular operation expenses like rent and taxes. Buying gift cards for your favorite restaurants, not only gives you something to look forward to when coronavirus is finally in our past, but will also play a crucial role in giving these spots a chance to survive.

A Rally for Restaurants Campaign was started by Toast, Inc., a restaurant software company based in Boston, Massachusetts, if you opt to buy a local restaurant gift card. All you need to do is post a picture of the gift card you purchase on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #rallyforrestaurants and challenge your friends to do the same. With each tagged post, Toast will donate $1 to restaurant charities including World Central Kitchen, Restaurant Community Workers' Foundation, and others. So, this way you can not only help your local spots, but restaurants throughout the U.S. and around the world.

Support the mom-and-pop joints

takeout delivery

Many restaurants are remaining open as of now for delivery and takeout orders, so take advantage of that! Save those pantry items for later, and skip the chain restaurants. If you can order from local mom-and-pop spots instead, providing them with business will be a huge help at a time when every order counts.

Tip well

tip jar

Just because you're not dining in, doesn't mean you shouldn't leave a tip. Though you might otherwise not have left one for takeout under normal circumstances, today everything counts. If you're hoping to have all of your favorite restaurants open when we can all finally go out to eat again, tipping well is a great way to help make that happen. We're all in this together.

Make a donation

make donation

Many restaurants have proactively started GoFundMe pages or set up Venmo accounts to help pay their employees. So do some digging into your local faves and see if they've set up an account. If not, the next time you get your delivery or takeout from them, give something a little extra.

Place orders during off-peak times

place order

One thing you might not have considered during this pandemic is that the restaurant kitchens can still be overrun with delivery and takeout orders despite the fact that dining-in services have been halted. This doesn't mean you should stop placing your orders because your local restaurants still need your support. Instead, try placing your orders at off-peak times, so the kitchen demands remain manageable.

Your ultimate restaurant and supermarket survival guide is here!

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.
Rachel Linder
Rachel is an Associate Editor responsible for compiling the daily Eat This, Not That! newsletter, making TikTok and YouTube videos for the brand, writing articles for the site, creating original graphics and providing direct assistance to the editors when needed. Read more about Rachel