News about the recent spread of COVID-19 has become part of everyone’s day-to-day – from newspaper headlines to your family dining table, conversations about pandemics, airport closures, and the dire situation across the world are never-ending. With many bars and restaurants forced to close and switch to take-out only, local businesses worldwide are struggling to stay open, let alone remain profitable.

Spoon HQ supports all local restaurants (what would all our foodies do without them?!), so we wanted to do our share in ensuring their survival. Here are five ways to support local restaurants and grocery stores during the coronavirus outbreak – let’s do our part in helping local food communities weather this and thrive.

1. Purchase restaurant gift cards for yourself and family

Mackenzie Patel

Want to support that killer Polish pub while also practicing social distancing? Gift cards are your answer. Support your local bars and restaurants by purchasing gift cards for yourself, family, and friends that you can use once this virus haze passes — it minimizes contact while also providing a steady cash flow to mom-and-pop places.

2. Use delivery services such as Doordash and Grubhub

Mackenzie Patel

Delivery services are now offering a “no contact” delivery option for all orders, meaning your delivery person will drop off your cuisine at a location of your choice. Contact will be nonexistent so the health and safety of the patron/employee is prioritized. Many local restaurants are available on Doordash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats, so you have the benefit of supporting the corner bodega and keeping the community healthy.

Grubhub is also deferring commission fees for restaurants and establishing a Grubhub Community Relief Fund that “will go to charitable organizations that support drivers and restaurants impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.” Donating even $.65 per order will go a long way!

3. Speaking of delivery services … use local ones!

Photo Courtesy of 352 Delivery

Talk about optimizing community impact. Many cities have local food delivery companies (i.e. 352 Delivery in Gainesville, Florida) that are available to deliver both chain and local options. Your business not only supports their operations, but the restaurants they cater to — it’s a magnifying effect in action! These companies are also joining the effort in helping out local businesses; according to the owner of 352 Delivery, "We are adding local restaurants and taking their staff that can't work on as temp drivers during this crisis. We are also offering unlimited free delivery [within] 3.52 miles with code GNVFOOD."

4. Write positive reviews of local restaurants and engage with them on social media

Mackenzie Patel

The intoxicating power of Yelp won’t be stopped by a virus. Continue engaging with your favorite local dives by writing positive reviews (even if your food was catered/delivered), posting photos of your grub on social media, and following them on Facebook and Instagram. This pandemic is truly revealing the power and pervasiveness of the internet and the way it facilitates human interaction — show your restaurants some virtual love by sharing their articles and “inviting” friends & family to “like” their social media pages as well.

5. Shop at local grocery stores versus large chains

Mackenzie Patel

Instead of buying your tangerines and vodka at a large chain, head to your local specialized deli or market to purchase your wares. Large chains have more extensive cash flow, retained earnings, and leverage, whereas local and family-owned stores rely mostly on their current customers and foot traffic. Let’s keep our Vietnamese markets, German delicatessens, and Caribbean eateries alive with our support.  Also, grocery stores and restaurants (chain and local) are starting to have reduced hours, so shopping during less crowded times will protect your safety and wellness even more.

Hopefully these tips inspire you to pick up a few gift cards to that dank Greek deli down the street or Doordash a local grouper sandwich to your apartment! These are unprecedented times for both food communities and the world at large, so it’s more important than ever to remember your roots and shop local.

The safety, health and wellness of our Spoon University community is of the utmost importance to us. As we continue to closely follow the coronavirus outbreak, we at Spoon HQ are taking all necessary precautions to ensure everyone’s safety, health and wellness. See the CDC recommendations for the latest information on COVID-19.