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The pandemic has been impossibly difficult for those in the food and beverage industry. As restrictions elevate once again, our support has never been more important - here are 9 ways we can support our favourite restaurants during ECQ.

The gruelling lockdowns and restrictions demanded by COVID-19 have been awfully draining, especially for those in the food and beverage industry. Between the cyclical easing and reinforcement of dining limitations, a continued apprehension for eating out, and a plummeting economy reducing non-essential spending, many beloved restaurants have been forced to shut. Similarly, those lucky enough to survive have been put through the wringer, confronted with an impossible situation that is mentally, physically, and financially taxing.

With this in mind, the recent restrictions prohibiting dine-in operations have been absolutely heartbreaking - not only to those in the restaurant industry but to the many who sympathise with their struggles as well. While we are unable to visit and dine with them in person, we can effectively support our favourite restaurants in other ways.

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1. Share the love on social media

Posting about your favourite restaurants on social media is an easy yet fruitful way of supporting the industry. No matter the size of your following, every post, repost, and share draw another set of eyes to these beloved kitchens. If you do manage to convince someone to place an order, great - you’ve helped them grow their customer base and pool more much-needed income. If not, it’s still a wonderful gesture that lets these restaurateurs know that you value the tireless work they put into your delicious food.

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2. Order food from the restaurant

Of course, ordering food from your go-to haunts is the most conventional (and mutually beneficial) avenue for supporting these establishments. Although restaurants are prohibited from entertaining dine-in customers during ECQ, many still operate with take-out and delivery options. 

To assist restaurants even further, forgo third-party delivery apps and order directly from the restaurants instead. When asked how customers can better support the F&B industry, Corner Tree Café’s Chiqui Mabanta shared “I would love it if they ordered directly from us rather than through third-party delivery apps which take out a huge chunk (20 to 25 per cent off the bill!) – for pick up. This is a challenge for many restaurants.”

3. Don’t forget to tip

When you do order from restaurants, don’t forget to leave a tip for the restaurant as you would when dining in. As transactions transitioned from cash to card and now to digital payments, tipping has sadly fallen scarce - let’s bring back the practice. Upon checkout, some restaurant websites have handy toggles that allow you to add gratuity with ease. Alternatively, when conducting a bank transfer or other digital payments, send a bit extra and shoot the restaurant a message letting them know. 

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4. Skip the discount

Discounts are always fun, but restaurants often end up paying for the discrepancies. In an industry interview with Tatler, Nono’s founder Baba Ibazeta-Benedicto noted that “something [she] found really thoughtful was when people refused to use their discount cards since they know it’s the restaurant that bears the cost.” If you’re able, do consider giving the restaurants a hand and skip the discount during these trying times.

5. Be patient, kind, and understanding

One of the biggest factors that dissuade customers from ordering pick-up or delivery is the fear that quality will degrade due to travel time. While this may be the case at times, it’s a small price to pay - though dining at the restaurant will always provide a better experience, we need to continue to support these kitchens so there’s still a restaurant to revisit down the line.  Addressing this concern, co-founder and creative director of The Moment Group empire Abba Napa intimates “Unfortunately, and our apologies in advance, it won’t be exactly the same experience”, but shares that they “appreciate how patient & understanding in general everyone is and continues to be.”

Similarly, Emmanuel “Nowie” Potenciano of The Sunny Side Group highlights the importance of understanding lapses in service and approaching each interaction with kindness. “The most important way consumers can help is to be generous and forgiving. This pandemic has stretched the remaining establishments to their limit [...] If customers are more understanding about the difficulties we are encountering, that will go a long way.”

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6. Write good reviews

Although sharing your experience on personal social media accounts is definitely important, leaving positive reviews on popular review platforms is extremely helpful as well. “In this online world, we encourage our guests to share their experiences online, such as through Facebook reviews and Google My Business reviews,” says David Sison, speaking from his experience as president and CEO of Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen. He continues, asserting “these are small but effective actions that have a great impact on the decision-making of guests who want to try our restaurant.”

7. Buy restaurant merchandise

Purchasing and proudly sporting restaurant merchandise is another fun and symbiotic way of showing your support. Beyond offering the restaurant financial aid, wearing or using the merchandise will help promote the brand and attract those who see it to the restaurant. 

8. Gift food instead of material goods

Some might argue that food is the best love language, and many more would agree. Nothing brings people together better than food, even on days we’re forced to be apart. Instead of gifting your friends and family material goods, why not surprise them with some comforting pizza or even a luxurious spread of tapas and wine? To take it up a notch, make it a video date and recount your most treasured restaurant memories while tucking into some of your favourite dishes. In addition to championing the restaurants financially, sending your loved ones food gives them a taste of the kitchen’s talent and creativity, which is the best way to win over another customer.

9. Engage with them on social media

Finally, enthusiastically engage with your favourite restaurants (and even its staff) on their social media pages - follow, comment, like, and reply. In doing so, you earnestly communicate your appreciation for the restaurants and show that you’re excited to dine with them again in the future. On top of this, actions like saving posts or sending them to friends boost their visibility on social media platforms, helping them expand their reach. Perhaps most importantly, these meaningful gestures keep the chefs, waitstaff, and entire restaurant team in greater spirits during such a challenging period.

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