Restaurants Are Getting Creative to Stay in Business During the Coronavirus Outbreak

published Apr 1, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: gvictoria

The unforeseen consequences of the spreading COVID-19 outbreak have been far- reaching, but one of the hardest to wrap our heads around has been the devastating blow it has dealt to the restaurant industry. Because shelter-in-place mandates have put a halt to regular foot traffic, restaurant owners either have had to lay off staffers or majorly shift gears in order to keep their doors open at all.

According to U.S. government guidelines, as long as restaurants are able to provide carry-out/delivery and quick food-service, they are permitted to remain open as they are part of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. Here are some of the ways that restaurants are continuing to provide essential services to customers who are unable to visit as usual.

They’re packaging ingredients and selling them as groceries.

Many restaurants, including Gwen in LA (pictured above), are packing up the ingredients that they’d normally use to cook with and selling them directly to customers instead. That includes pantry staples like grains, legumes, and nuts, cuts of meat, fresh produce, eggs, and dairy. We’ve also seen reports of bakeries selling flour and yeast by the pound, and eggs by the dozen. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in the grocery store and want to continue to support your favorite restaurants, this is a great way to do so.

They’re making meal-kits.

According to industry publication Nation’s Restaurant News, certain restaurants are preparing meal kits for customers to buy and complete at home. Washington D.C.-based Farmers Restaurant Group re-branded to “Farmers Market + Grocery,” and is using Open Table to help customers schedule meal kit pick-up times. Dog Haus, a hot dog franchise, is selling packaged hot dogs, buns and tater tots. Provenance Restaurant in Newport Beach, CA is selling “take-and-bake” meals that feed 6-9 people. And our favorite: LA’s Guerilla Tacos is selling emergency taco and nacho kits. (Check if your favorite local restaurants are doing the same.)

They’re finding legal ways to sell alcohol (in some states).

Because so much of restaurant sales comes from alcohol purchases (20-30 percent), restaurants have been looking for legal ways to unload some of their bottles. New York eased regulations last week to allow bars and restaurants to sell liquor along with to-go/ delivery orders. Other states like NH, MD, IL, CA, TX, and more have followed suit. Since liquor laws vary by state, please check with restaurants in your area for more details.

How are you supporting restaurants in your area?