These are uncertain times, not least for restaurants but also for the diners that love them. We all have a favourite place to head for breakfast meetings, for grabbed lunches or a slap-up dinner, but right now that all feels like the distant past (even though it’s less than a fortnight ago!). But there are still ways you can help your favourite restaurant get through this incredibly tough period, and they’ll help keep them going until the world goes back to normal…
Still go (at a social distance!)
We aren’t on an Italian style lockdown just yet and many restaurants are still open. Those that are really do need customers, and many are working hard to ensure that social distancing is still a reality, by moving tables to create distance. This might well be your last opportunity to visit some old favourites before likely enforced lockdown descends.
We don’t want you to take unnecessary risks, and if you have even the slightest inkling of Coronavirus symptoms then please remain at home and self-isolate. Likewise, it would be unwise for at-risk people to merrily toddle down and start selecting from the wine list, but it is still possible to exercise caution and still experience some of London’s best cooking!
One way that restaurants are still able to make the money they desperately need to survive is to sell vouchers, which can be cashed in when they re-open or at a more convenient time. It also gives you the chance to lock in a deal.
Of course there’s a risk that this doesn’t pay off, but we’d urge anyone who wants to support their favourite restaurant by buying a voucher. If nothing else, it gives us something to look forward to!
Many restaurants are still operating takeaway services, often in tandem with delivery services like Deliveroo. Let’s face it, another bowl of your stockpiled pasta and pesto tonight isn’t quite as appealing as a real restaurant-cooked meal. And what’s more, you can enjoy it at home when and where you like.
Chefs work incredibly hard to rise to the top of their profession, and for the odd Jamie Oliver superstar there are dozens more moving heaven-and-earth to make ends meet and right now their livelihoods are at risk. So support them, send an email or social media support. If they’ve written a book, get onto Amazon and order a (new!) copy!
Keep them informed
Many of our favourite restaurants may actually be small, local restaurants where English is not a first language. The chancellor has already announced a raft of measures to help the hospitality industry, it’s very likely he’ll rush out more. If there are grants on offer, rates relief or future payroll help then it’s important that this is communicated to them. If you’re on friendly terms, maybe mention them to restauranteurs who might have missed such opportunities.
This isn’t the new normal, and once we’re through life will still carry on largely as before, and that includes Christmas. Perhaps you’re the person who books the office Christmas venue, in which case most restaurants start taking Christmas bookings incredibly early, and so perhaps now is the time to lock that in at your favourite restaurant?
Or perhaps you’ve a birthday in August or September, when current models suggest that the country will be up-and-running again, get on the phone and book ahead.