The Covid-19 crisis of 2020 is, for want of a much more original word, unprecedented. What we all once took for granted; the ability to go out for a flat white at our favourite café, catch-up with friends over a few drinks in the local pub on a Friday night, take your loved one out to a restaurant for a special occasion; all these simple pleasures have suddenly been taken away from us. How and when are we going to see our friends and family again? How are we going to post on our Instagrams without a perfectly runny poached eggs pic or a #datenight to fall back on?! We couldn’t have planned for this! What is clear though is that no matter how hard you are finding your lack of social media content (unless you’ve been tagged in one of those awful #challenges) , your favourite restaurants, cafes and bars are finding it much worse. With already tight margins and exorbitant costs, hospitality venues have been decimated by the total lack of footfall and therefore income. But what can you do to support your favourites whilst unable to visit in person?
- Social Media! Goes without saying but keep engaged with your favourite restaurants and bars. Follow their Instagram, their Twitter, ‘like’ their page on Facebook. Even follow the Chef’s or Bartender’s personal accounts. Many are posting even more than ever at the moment. Jason Atherton for example ( @_jasonatherton ) has been doing live daily cooking demos on his Instagram account. Well worth a watch! You might find somebody positing your favourite cocktail for example; or cooking your favourite ingredient. People are using the platforms differently but more people than not are posting recipes, hints, tips and some general positivity for everybody during lockdown. There might be ideas for you to cook at home, or some dishes in development for restaurants re-opening. Why not attempt your favourite dish or favourite cocktail whilst you #stayathome ? Either way, keep engaged with your favourites and you’ll get even more tempted to come back and visit when this is all over.
- Plan your special occasions. We don’t know when life will go back to normal, if indeed we ever will. But at some point, restaurants, bars, and cafes will be open again. And then they’ll need you back! Rest assured, every business is taking the time now to plan for the future. Safety measures will be taken much more seriously than ever, so you shouldn’t worry about being unprotected when you go out. Not only that but many businesses are taking this time to reflect and really enhance their product to be better than ever before. We’re now best part of two months into lockdown; how many birthdays of friends and family have you missed? Wedding anniversaries? Weddings, hen parties, stag dos? How many more to be cancelled or postponed? So why not get planning ahead for later this year or next? The restaurant you had booked for your birthday in April, or “that special restaurant” you have been saving for a family celebration, will be even better, and safer, once we’re through the crisis. So book them in! Not only will that give your local restaurant a boost that their locals and regulars are still thinking of them, but will give you some positivity and something to look forward to. So get planning!
- Donate and Support. Whilst restaurants are legally ordered to close publicly, many are doing their bit for charity and supporting the NHS on a not-for-profit basis. You will be able to see on each business’s social media pages what they’re up to. Chefs are a breed that need to be busy and many struggle without the buzz of a kitchen to run or the adrenaline that a busy service brings! That is why we are seeing that many are still working in their kitchens (keeping an appropriate social distance of course) and providing meals and food for NHS staff, other key workers, and vulnerable people. As we’ve touched on, restaurants sadly do not have a bottomless pit of money, and many now are especially struggling. Hence they are appealing for cash through crowdfunders or online donations, to enable them to continue to provide the brilliant service for these essential workers and vulnerable people. Why not check out what your favourite Michelin-starred restaurant is doing, and offer a donation to help their cause? It will certainly make you feel good about yourself.
So there we are, a few ideas. We all miss our daily habits and how these have been changed inconceivably- but with a little bit of positive thinking and some creativity, we can still support our favourites from a distance; and there’s certainly enough out there to keep your own social media feeds well fed and watered.