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Let's Save Our Restaurants: 8 Ways You Can Help

We're all longing to return to the life we knew before the pandemic. Let's help our beloved restaurants so we ensure they're still with us in the world after Covid-19

We are all looking forward to the time when this pandemic is over, and life returns to normal — the old normal that we knew before Coronavirus. It’s a rosy picture that is pleasant to hold on to, but the reality is that the pandemic has so disrupted the restaurant industry that they need our support to survive this challenge. Restaurateur Nowie Potenciano of SpiceBird says: “I’ve been getting bothered seeing social media posts that say restaurants are now fine. And even some that imply restaurants are taking advantage of the pandemic to squeeze money out of customers. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re a long way from being out of the woods,” he says. 


“Even if restaurants have transitioned to doing delivery, there are heavy costs in doing so from app commissions to additional packaging to more expensive ingredients. To add to that, there’s now increased competition from home-based businesses.”


Like Nowie, we are concerned about the fate of restaurants. More than just spaces in which to eat, restaurants are places that have seen some of the most memorable moments of our lives — from first dates, to loving family reunions, to work meetings or even solitary reading and writing. Restaurants provided us with an entire theater of experience, says the New York Times.  And we agree.


Likely, you have some beautiful memories or your own in your favorite restaurants. If you want to help support them, Nowie has a few suggestions for how you can help them survive this challenging time.




1. Order direct and skip the apps

Delivery apps typically get a whopping 25 to 30% share of your bill, leaving not much else for restaurants to earn from. Every peso counts especially during this time so if you’d like to help, call the restaurant and order direct. Book your own rider or if the restaurant offers it, they can do it for you. It just takes a smidge more effort and a bit of human interaction on your part but it will be a huge deal to the restaurant. 


“But  you don't have to sign up with Grab or FoodPanda,” I see some people say. While that is true, restaurants are caught between a rock and a hard place. From what I’ve been hearing, many restaurants are running at only 10% of their original sales, making them desperate for any influx of cash. 


Oh and another thing: because of the exorbitant charges by the delivery apps, many restaurants are increasing their prices on those platforms. So ordering direct can really be a win-win. 


2. Be a regular

Unfortunately, it’s not enough for your favorite restaurant to survive just because you ordered once the past couple of months. They need your constant patronage. Of course, you won’t be able to buy from all restaurants  — choose a couple that you want to make sure are able to stick around and support those as regularly as you can. 


And becoming a regular has its perks: good restaurants remember their loyal customers and take extra good care of them in little ways. 



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3. Don't ask for what you don't need 

We’re looking at every opportunity to peso-pinch at the restaurant and every little bit helps. So if you don’t need the utensils or ketchup in your takeaway, tell the staff as you order. These little extras add up to a restaurant’s expenses and they probably just gather dust in your house if you don’t really need them. And a very big plus: you also help in terms of sustainability. 


4. Don't abuse your privileges

Unfortunately, in the midst of a raging pandemic, we still see some Senior Citizen and PWD card holders abuse their privileges. Some use their cards to buy food and drink for other people when the law is pretty clear about the discounts being for their own consumption only. Please stop doing this. We know everyone’s in a pinch but this practice just kills restaurants that are already having a difficult time surviving. 


5. Tip and tip well

The pandemic’s been especially hard on food service personnel so please give a tip to the hard working staff. When staff gets good tips, they go to work happier. And happy staff means restaurants are running at their best. 



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6. Get that dessert and drink

With restaurants operating at a fraction of their usual sales, every little bit counts. And with a reduced number of customers, each transaction has to be higher for restaurants to have a chance of being in the black. So if you can afford it, do get that drink, the bigger size, or the dessert. And maybe even all of the above. 


8. Make allowances

Operations during this pandemic have been fraught with difficulties at every level. The chicken tastes a little different? That’s because the cook wasn’t able to get to work from Cavite. Your favorite dish is out of stock? That’s because supplies from the province couldn’t get into the city easily. Your delivery that arrived was incorrect? That’s because it’s the first time the staff have had to deal with so many take away orders. All of the above are very real examples that I’ve encountered in various restaurants the past few months. So if things aren’t a 100% there, please be a little understanding and forgiving.


That’s not to say that though you should keep any misses in your experience to yourself. The great restaurants are those that are willing to listen to customers whenever problems arise so let them know directly. You don’t even need to post on social media about it.