How to help support local Calgary restaurants survive the pandemic
Now’s the time to support Calgary restaurants!
Food is the fabric of our society both fulfilling a basic physical need and as a social connector to gather friends and family. What better way to get to know others than breaking bread together?
Going out to eat is such a normal part of life, and was a major part of mine. My whole existence was about trying out new foods and restaurants to document on Instagram for y’all. Sadly, normal still hasn’t returned yet. But I try to look at the bright side and think about all the things I’m going to do when we’re allowed to gather and mingle and sing and be merry together! But that won’t happen if we don’t keep buying and shopping from our favourite small businesses, especially Calgary restaurants.
Don’t wait for next summer’s patio season to eat restaurant food again. If you have a favourite spot you enjoy or somewhere you’ve always wanted to try, now is the time! Assume that all your favourite eats are struggling and that they need your business ASAP. Support our Calgary restaurants, bakeries, eateries and food vendors today before they are all gone! Here are some ideas to make the most of your local dollars:
How to support Calgary restaurants
1. Order takeout from Calgary restaurants as often as you can!
As the pandemic shuts down Alberta restaurants again, they need our business more than ever. Without dine-in service, every takeout dollar will make the difference in their being able to stay open or closing their doors forever. I know not everyone is a financial position to order takeout even irregularly, so this post is probably not for you. But if you got the means, get hungry and get ordering, again and again and again.
2. Skip out on food delivery apps! If you can order takeout, stop by the restaurant to pickup your order yourself. Services like Skip the Dishes, Uber Eats, Door Dash and others are super convenient, but they take a huge portion of the profits away from the restaurant – upwards of 30%! It’s impossible for businesses to survive if owners can’t keep enough of the money for themselves to pay staff, pay for food and to pay themselves.
3. Don’t forget to tip! I know with takeout you’re not really getting the same kind of service that you would with dine-in, but staff are still working just as hard to get your meals ready for you. Any tip will also go a long way to help out both the restaurant and the servers.
4. I know not everyone has access to a car, so sometimes you just gotta use a third-party delivery app.
- Door Dash has been offering the lowest service fees for restaurants to use. Try them first if a restaurant works with multiple delivery apps.
- Check with your restaurant to see if they have their own in-house delivery instead!
- Consider trying out a ghost kitchen (an online-based restaurant specifically set up to do takeout delivery on platforms like Skip the Dishes). You’ll recognize the listings that make tons of different kinds of cuisines all coming from the same kitchen/address.
- Also remember to tip your driver well! They are also relying on your service as well.
5. Post a positive review on Google and Yelp. If you had a great experience somewhere, help out their online presence by leaving an online review. For many small Calgary restaurants, they may not even have a website, but these online reviews help them exist to the thousands of people researching their next online meal.
6. Order groceries, meal kits, booze and other extras from restaurants. Many Calgary restaurants have pivoted their business to offer new at-home specialities. I’ve seen everything from pizza kits, at-home charcuterie boards, alcohol kits and groceries like produce and meat. It makes for a handy one-stop online shop to get both your takeout and some other provisions at the same time.
7. Buy gift certificates for when dine-in is possible again. Yes, it is very possible that the business doesn’t open again. But it can truly make a difference for the restaurant trying to survive.
8. Follow and like on social media. Every time you share, retweet and like a social, you’re showing your support for Calgary restaurants – and it’s free to do! Your online engagement helps boost their profile to other people’s feed which could then turn into a sale.
9. Don’t forget about all the other food services out there too like your favourite bakery, butcher, deli, coffee shop and more. All of these food vendors feed us in so many ways and we want to be able to enjoy them for years to come – when we can break bread together again.
A big thank you to Elizabeth Chorney-Booth for inspiring many of these ideas and to all our fave restos working so hard to feed our hungry bellies. Do you have other ideas to help your favourite restaurant? Please comment below!