Support Local Business During The Pandemic

Nick Nomi

Senior Contributor

Uncertainty is now amongst the most common forms of anxieties. Cities across the globe are in various states of lockdown, while businesses large and small grapple with the realities of a mass panic spreading across the consumer landscape. But while we fret over the vast all-consuming nature of this pandemic, there are ways that we, as consumers, and as fellow humans navigating the same crisis can help businesses that are worried about their livelihood.

Support Local Restaurants With A New Wave Of Home Delivery

Those stuck at home not wanting to brave the supermarkets for food will do well to scour Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for local restaurants, many of which have turned to delivering pre-made dishes, meal kits, merchandise, frozen goods and ingredients for a boost in income while restaurants everywhere continue to close “for the foreseeable future”.

Here in London, a favourite of mine, Zima in Soho has listed their delicious Russian cuisine (along with recipe packs) on Apps like Deliveroo and Uber, but have stretched a little further, sending frozen Pelmeni to hungry isolators like myself with local couriers — which helps me keep eating, and helps them to expand and keep their existing customer base, hopefully leading to an open restaurant when the time to brave the outdoors comes once again (and remember that it will come!).

Others such as Scottish legends Mac & Wild are now clamouring to quickly broaden their business model to include an online butcher, and East London's Monty’s Deli has set up an online shop stocked with their salt beef and pastrami to help see them through these hard times. But remember that this is happening across the globe — open up Twitter or Instagram and embrace what for now is (unfortunately) the new normal.

Companies like Deliveroo are still providing households with local food

Buy Gift Cards From Local Businesses

Much like planning for future travel by suspending journeys until the summer, in this climate it’s perfectly reasonable to make a reservation at a restaurant for the distant future. But the best way to do this during the pandemic is by purchasing a gift card directly from the restaurant (this works with any business — flowers, beauty, even hotels) — effectively supporting them now but dining with them later — or not if you prefer to be purely charitable.

It may be a useful gift too, a holiday present for when all of this blows over. Or simply think of it as an investment for a future of full stomachs. Crypto-food, if you will, but not quite so risky… hopefully. For restaurants, this means being able to use the money now to support their business, with some restaurants such as Tom Colicchio’s Craft in NYC setting up staff funds and promising 50% of their proceeds to help employees in the coming months.

As consumers, we sometimes forget that we’re all only human. As such, we are as inherently powerful as those we look to for guidance, so if there’s a restaurant, cafe or local store, a local stylist, a wine shop, or a dog walker who might benefit from this approach, please do contact them and let them know that there’s interest and even more crucially… support in the local communities.

Craft, New York City

Buy Local

Where supermarkets in certain parts of the world right now are, frankly, rather disturbing places showcasing some of the worst elements of humanity’s explosive selfishness and worrying desire for TP, there are in each of our localities, smaller, independent stores who will not have the resources to carry on if we abandon them.

With this in mind, try to support local shops, delicatessens (a great source of everything from dried pasta and batch-cooked lasagna to pickles!) and if one has them locally, farms (including inner-city farms), farm stores and the like — many of which have instigated or expanded their delivery services (such as Borough Market in South London) — some going as far to hand deliver items directly to front doors and letterboxes for those most affected by the pandemic. 

London's Borough Market

Signal Boost And Say Thank You

It may not seem like much but positive reviews for local businesses are an essential part of running any business, whether online or off. With that in mind, think back: was there a particularly good restaurant, bar, shop or cafe that deserved (but didn’t get) a positive review or recommendation? Look them up on YELP, Google, Twitter and Facebook and leave that glittering, all glowing review they deserve.

Follow local businesses on social networks and share/monitor their posts for ideas on how to show your support — keeping in mind that many businesses are still figuring out how to move forward and will likely benefit positively from customer interactions. And think of those who survive on zero-hours contracts, freelancers and artists, the writers that inform or move you, the musicians whose work goes under the radar, artists who inspire, and seek out there merchandise pages, GoFundMe pages or Patreons.

Help them by using your audience to enhance theirs, because this is a time to invest in each other. And if your income isn’t affected by the pandemic, consider a donation. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cash donation or helping out with essential supplies, any sort of assistance could mean everything to someone who is in a less fortunate position.

And perhaps most importantly, in terms of mental health at least — with folk worried for their livelihoods and riding the tumulus waves of viral anxiety, show your appreciation and connect on a human level…. say thank you

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