5 Creative Ways Restaurants are Responding to Coronavirus

We’ve talked at length about the Coronavirus pandemic including the hardest hit industries and how you can help your favorite small businesses survive COVID-19.

One industry that keeps coming up again and again is the restaurant industry.

Restaurants are particularly vulnerable to the Coronavirus pandemic because of tight profit margins, and many have been struggling to make ends meet with takeout alone. Even with government assistance, some experts have predicted up to 75% of independently owned restaurants in North America could close as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Up to 75% of independently owned restaurants in North America could close as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Today, we want to shine a spotlight on restaurants and how they’re responding to these challenging times. If you’re looking for a way to support your local favorites other than ordering takeout, check out these creative ways that restaurants are responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

delivering groceries during coronavirus

The grocery situation has been out of hand for about a month now. From panic buying to price-gauging to hoarding, we’ve seen it all. While things have settled down a bit, I’m still struggling to find some basic dry goods at my local supermarket, including lentils, oats, flour, and yeast.

Grocery delivery services are a hot commodity as well, with time slots booking up days in advance and longer wait times for orders. This is problematic for quarantined or immunocompromised individuals who can’t leave the house and rely on services like these to get their food.

To keep up with the increase in demand, restaurants have started to sell and deliver their own groceries.

It’s a great system – restaurants get the food from their suppliers anyways, and a decrease in foot traffic means there’s a lot more of it to go around.  So, they’re repackaging this food and offering free or flat rate local delivery on curated grocery kits as early as the same day you ordered.

Here are some of the grocery offerings from restaurants in Canada:

  • Freshii: Freshii’s grocery kits are designed with specific diets in mind. Their vegetarian kit offers a variety of produce as well as tortillas, tofu, and dry rice noodles. Their Keto kit on the other hand includes low-carb veggies, a variety of cheeses and hard-boiled eggs.
  • JOEY: Groceries from JOEY can be ordered a la carte through Door Dash, making it a great choice if you only need one or two things. You can get everything from avocadoes and prime sirloin, to brioche buns and chocolate chips.
  • Earls: Earls is offering grocery kits including a produce pack, pantry pack, protein pack, and even a vegetarian essentials pack. Pick up some hand soap, vegan gelato, or cheesecake while you’re at it to really round out your meal.

Ordering groceries from your favorite restaurants is a great way to support local businesses, while giving you the opportunity to get your hands-on products that may be out of stock at your local supermarket.

meal kits and coronavirus

Maybe you’re tired of meal planning or eating the same things day after day. Maybe you’d like to  make something you’ve never cooked before, but you’re not sure where to start.

Restaurants can help with that too!

Some eating establishments have taken grocery kits one step further and are offering meal kits. These do-it-yourself kits come complete with everything you need to recreate your favorite restaurant meals at home.

If you’re wanting to get a little creative in the kitchen tonight, grab a meal kit from one of the restaurants below:

  • Local Public Eatery: Along with groceries, The Local Corner Store offers a nacho kit, an eggs benedict kit, and a farmer’s breakfast kit including 1 lb of bacon, a dozen eggs, 2 lb of hash browns, and an entire loaf of bread.
  • Nuba: This Vancouver based Lebanese restaurant has 5 different meal kits, depending on your dietary needs and the amount of food you want. Bring home falafels, lentil stew, and chicken shawarma to cook in the comfort of your own home.
  • Café Medina: This small Vancouver café offers two meal kits – the les boulettes (spicy Moroccan meatballs) and le thon (albacore tuna). Both kits include side dishes and condiments, and are enough to feed two people.

Meal kits can give you some confidence in the kitchen while providing you with a delicious home cooked meal and a couple hours of entertainment.

food delivery services and coronavirus

The Coronavirus Pandemic has left restaurants scrambling to make their food available on delivery service apps like Door Dash and Uber Eats. These widely used apps are a great way for consumers to easily connect with restaurants, and a great way for restaurants to maintain cash flow.

These services do, however, come with a cost.

Many delivery services take anywhere from 15-30% commission on every restaurant order. That’s a large cost to pay for restaurants that are already struggling to stay afloat. However, if they want the opportunity to reopen in the future, many have no other choice but to join these services.

To circumvent these high commission, some restaurants are offering alternative solutions:

  • Breaking Bread Now: Available in 6 major cities across Canada, Breaking Bread Now is a website designed to connect you with local restaurants in your area that are offering pick-up or delivery services. You can browse restaurants by a number of categories including groceries, wine, curbside pick-up, and meal prep. This website also allows you to order from the restaurant directly, saving them the high commission costs of delivery apps.
  • From To: Started by the owner of PiDGin in Vancouver, From To is “local delivery for restaurants by restaurants at cost”.  It’s still in start-up mode at the moment, but From To promises to be a way for restaurants to keep as much of their profits as they can, in a time when they need them the most. Currently, only PiDGin is available on From To, but they are in the process of onboarding more local Vancouver restaurants, including Yolks.

Bypass the delivery apps and order directly from your favorite restaurants to show them a little extra love right now. You may even get up to 20% off your order.

merchandise and coronavirus

Not every restaurant can keep selling food and drinks during the Coronavirus pandemic For some, the cost of operating is too high, forcing them to shut their doors and hope for the best.

Some restaurants and bars are offering merchandise as an alternative way of generating revenue. This includes a variety of items such as t-shirts, hats, tote-bags, and more. Check out some of the offerings below:

  • Flourist: Along with groceries, this Vancouver-based bakery is offering tote bags, cookbooks, and cookware for purchase. You can buy 2 kg of flour, a sourdough starter, a dough scraper, and a digital thermometer all on their website with free local delivery, and be baking bread in no time at all!
  • Laylow: This Toronto microbrewery is offering merch in the form of t-shirts and snapbacks. They even have some cool glassware, available in 3 different sizes, for purchase as well.
  • Grey Tiger:Grey Tiger isanother Toronto favorite that has shifted their focus to selling merchandise while they stay closed for COVID-19. They offer cool artistic designs, like their Illumicati Mystical Cat T-shirts made with organic cotton available to purchase online.

Support local by buying a t-shirt or even a dough scraper from your favorite restaurants.

Another option if your favorite restaurant is closed is to grab a gift card from Moola and get a $10 bonus on us for every $100 you spend. Give restaurants the cash they need now and use your gift card later at a convenient time for you.

happy hour and coronavirus

Happy hours are a great way to sample food and drinks from new restaurants at a fraction of the cost. They also benefit the restaurant by bringing customers in at times that aren’t as busy, say 3pm on a Tuesday.

Unfortunately, coronavirus has all but cancelled happy hour. Or has it?

Many restaurants have taken to offering virtual happy hours as an alternative. These virtual happy hours include food and drink specials available for pick-up or delivery during specific times of the day. Their menus usually offer a variety of appetizers and/or cocktails, and they can often be ordered directly through the restaurant or by using a food delivery app.

Here are a few restaurants offering their happy hour menus online:

  • Cactus Club Cafe:  Cactus Club has taken their iconic happy hour menu and moved it online for you to enjoy from 11 am to 4 pm everyday. Offerings include Beyond Burgers, truffle fries, chocolate peanut butter crunch bars, and the always delicious Szechuan chicken lettuce wraps.
  • Earls: Earls created two happy-hour platters available for purchase everyday between 2 and 5 pm. It’s a great choice if you want something affordable to share with one or two other people in your home. Their Happy-Hour Platter comes with a dynamite roll, spinach dip, and wings, while their Pizza and Wings Platter includes a margarita pizza and 2 pounds of wings.
  • Local Public Eatery: Local has also made their usual happy hour menu available to purchase all day on Door Dash. What are some of their offerings? A house made veggie burger and fries, fried chicken, cinnamon sugar donuts, and yam fries, all at a fraction of their usual cost. 

If you’re watching your budget but still want to help restaurants in your community, check out their happy hour menu instead. You’ll be able to get some great food at an affordable price.

A Different Way to Support Restaurants During Coronavirus

Restaurants have had to get creative in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. From selling t-shirts to delivering groceries, they’re doing their best to keep cash coming in during these challenging times.

Another great way to support your favorite restaurants is by buying gift cards. It provides restaurants with the money they need now, while giving you some flexibility in when you choose to spend it.

Buy a gift card with Moola and we’ll give you $10 for every $100 you spend as part of our #MoolaCares initiative. Stretch your dollar further while showing some love to your local favorites. Download the app now to see all the restaurants we offer.