Small, local restaurants are one of the most recognized and prominent staples in communities all across the country. Nothing makes us feel better than going to the small cafe in town that serves the best breakfast anywhere. Or grabbing the award-winning, #1 rated hamburger at the locally owned bar and grill.
Let’s face it. When it comes to going out to eat, nothing quite beats the authenticity of our favorite local restaurants. But Covid-19, rising costs, and labor shortages are threatening the very survival of these institutions. The big chains can usually weather the storm with their large balance sheets and brand names. But the little guys have it a little harder. If you want to ensure the success of local restaurants in your community, here are four simple ways you can make that happen:
Eat Out at least Twice a Week at a Local Restaurant.
We know that times are a bit challenging for many people. And with rising prices, everything is so much more expensive many people are looking to cut back in certain areas.
It is pretty typical for a weekend day or night to be the time to grab a meal outside of the home. If you commonly go out on Saturday and eat out, consider doing so again another day of the week. Committing to eating out at least twice a week with your favorite local restaurants will go a long way.
Make one of your Dine Out days during the week.
Everyone loves to eat out on the weekend. But what about during the week? This time is usually the slowest for restaurants, particularly Monday-Wednesday. If you can add one of your eat-out days during this time, you will help restaurant productivity during non-peak hours and bring them much-needed cash flow during their slower times.
Buy Local Restaurant Gift Cards for Yourself and as Gifts
Gift cards are hugely popular as gifts. If you ever need to buy a gift for a friend or family member, consider grabbing a gift card from a local restaurant. This option isn’t trendy, as you can’t usually find these gift cards in your local drug or grocery store like you can the more prominent brands. But if you go to the website of a local restaurant, there is a good chance you will be able to buy a gift card and have it emailed directly to the recipient. It makes a great gift and helps restaurants access immediate cash for operations until the card is redeemed.
But wait, buying a gift card as a gift isn’t the only option to support your favorite local restaurant. You can also purchase gift cards in increments as high as $1000 for yourself! Just use the balance on the gift card throughout the year. Gift cards are great for restaurants because the float on the money is theirs until you use the entirety of the funds on the gift card. So if you buy a $100 gift card and don’t spend it until a month later, that is $100 your favorite local restaurant gets access to for an entire month at no cost to them. This “float” could be the difference between turning a profit or staying in business.
Say NO to the big online delivery apps.
DoorDash, UberEats, Grubhub. These are just a few big players in the online food delivery business. They have become hugely popular with consumers, as they provide an excellent convenience for hungry diners to order food and have it delivered straight to their door. But this convenience usually comes with some not-so-good benefits to restaurants. While they obtain new and increased business, they typically pay upwards of 40% commissions to the large delivery apps. These added costs hamper the already small margins that restaurants operate under, causing them to lose money on orders they receive from the big delivery apps.
So if you want to support local restaurants, the simple thing to do is to avoid these guys whenever possible and look for better alternatives. If you’re going to order takeout, make sure you use a delivery platform that doesn’t charge local restaurants crazy fees for the privilege of getting orders from you.
ChowNow makes it super easy to support local restaurants and is an ideal alternative to the big brand delivery apps like UberEats. Our online marketplace is 100% free for restaurants. So when you order on ChowNow, restaurants keep 100% of the profits. Saving restaurants massive commission fees helps them make money when they deliver food to you, not lose money.
Supporting your favorite local restaurants doesn’t have to be complicated. Making just a few tweaks to your dining out plans and recognizing the hidden actions we take that hurt restaurants’ bottom lines is the first step to ensuring these local institutions remain viable parts of our community.