One thing that has changed over the past couple of months is visiting some of my favorite coffee joints and local eateries. I LOVE eating out and I have learned to LIKE eating in. With so many states on stay-at-home orders, dining out has been a challenge. Now that many are opening back up, supporting local restaurants is critical. Heck, supporting small business from any industry is critical right now. Keep reading for 5 ways to support local restaurants; a couple that don’t even cost a penny!
I don’t know about you but I’ve been cooking a lot more, experimenting with new recipes; some are great, some are meh. A weekly treat has been to order curbside pickup from a local eatery. Grocery store shelves are still bare of yeast and flour, so it’s safe to say a lot of baking has been going on! As a matter of fact, I baked a delicious Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction last night! It was tasty!
I’ve been diligent about making coffee at home because several coffee joints have been a challenge to get to or order from. Finding more recipes to experiment with like the Coffee Italian Soda has been fun and I’m even working on a little project to help making fancy coffee drinks at home even easier, so stay tuned! I miss the coffee shop experience; chatting with the baristas, indulging in sweet pastries, people watching, and enjoying my coffee. I have been visiting my local Dutch Bros. locations and they are still bubbly and excited to be at work, which has been a bright spot to find. Who am I kidding? Dutch Bros mafia are always excited to be at work, but that’s a whole different case study.
Our adventures finding local places to eat and patron during this pandemic started when I joined a local restaurant group on Facebook. We typically eat out on the weekends and didn’t want to lose out on that, thanks to COVID-19. From that moment on, I decided we would patron a local eatery for takeout or delivery. It started as a way to get together with the family like we normally do on the weekends. I would pick up the food, deliver it to the parents, then come back home and we would jump on Facetime for dinner. This became a weekly thing, and now I have committed to continuing our support of local restaurants, on the weekends.
Other ways to support local restaurants
Many people think the only way to shop local is to spend money in their establishments.
There are so many ways to support small business, and especially restaurants and coffee shops. During this pandemic, restaurants, eateries, and coffee shops have taken a tremendous hit. From supply chain disruptions to drastic customer count declines, the food industry has been hard hit. Unless they had an already established online ordering system or an easy way to create curbside delivery, food establishments were faced with closing and layoffs. In some areas, like right here in Las Vegas, many were forced to close due to where they were located.
So what can you do to help the small local restaurants in your area? Here are 5 simple things you can do to support your neighbor business owners:
1. Write a Review
Believe it or not, reviews help a business in a good way. If the business has a Facebook page, give them a recommendation. Facebook runs those through their algorithms and shows recommendations to the page’s followers. Word of mouth advertising is the most powerful ad any business can run. So next time you visit a place, write a review. And oh, another tip! While you’re there leaving your recommendation, ‘check-in’ to tag the business in your social media post. This will alert your friends of great places to eat! The best part of this? It’s free! You don’t have buy anything that moment. Just go back to the places you’ve eaten at or frequented recently and write a review.
2. Buy a Gift Card
Supporting small business can be as simple as buying a gift card or gift certificate. Many merchant companies like Square and Clover have gift card programs built in so the merchant more than likely has some type of gift card. If not, ask to be able to pay it forward and buy someone’s dinner. Not only will you have good karma, but you’re helping drive your local economy!
3. Get Delivery or Curbside Pickup
This is a no-brainer, but getting curbside pickup or delivery will not only help the support the restaurant, but it will also give mom a break in the kitchen! Find a new place you’ve never been, place an order, then find a park bench and enjoy your meal. This is exactly what we did a couple weeks ago. We visited downtown Las Vegas, ordered takeout at 7th & Carson, then found a vacant bench to enjoy it. By the way, it was some of the best food I’ve had in a LONG time! Fun fact: 7th & Carson had just opened a market near the beginning of the year and they used their supply chain to ensure they had kitchen staples available to purchase when grocery store shelves were empty. #genius
4. Tip Well
Of course, if your budget allows it. Living in Las Vegas, we tend to tip everyone and just about everything. Standard here is 18-20%, however I’m pretty generous with my tips. Working in the food service industry, you gain an appreciation for great service and awesome food. Although I have a high standard, we have consistently left 20-30% during the pandemic. Why? Because it’s nice and we may be the only people the restaurant sees that day. We also are fortunate to be essential workers and continue to get regular pay. So if you can, leave a good tip, just because. I promise your servers, cooks, and baristas REALLY appreciate you.
5. Say Thank You
Many business owners and their employees may be considered essential and are glad to be working. But guaranteed they encounter some real ‘peaches’ if you know what I mean. Take some time to write them a thank you note and pop it in the mail (USPS could use our support too!) or heck, deliver it yourself the next time you’re in. A simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way and I know many in the food industry don’t hear it enough. This is an easy and no cost way to support local restaurants.
The food industry going to take a long time to get out of this and need consumer confidence to come back as quick as possible. Your reviews, recommendations, tags on social media, and your patronage will help spread the word that restaurants are ready to take back customers. I’d love to hear some of your local adventures! Leave a comment with some of your favorite businesses (because thanks to search engines that helps too!) and feel free and email me the places you think I should check out. We travel often and love hitting up new places!
Thank you for continuing to support local eateries and coffee shops. They need our help now more than ever.