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  • Writer's pictureEmma Schiltz

10 Ways to Support Local Businesses & Restaurants During COVID-19

1. Purchase gift cards

Consider purchasing gift cards from local restaurants and small businesses as gifts for family members and friends for the holiday season. By contributing to local businesses through the purchasing of gift cards, they are able to continue making money in a time that would usually be their busiest months of the year. Remember to use any gift cards you purchase after restaurants and bars are able to fully open, so they are able to supplement gift cards with other forms of income as opposed to only making money through takeout orders and gift cards.

2. Carry-out & delivery

Running out of food or just tired of cooking? Even though in many states restaurants & bars are shut down, countless places still offer delivery and take-out options. Many restaurants are also offering holiday meal kits, so instead of worrying about cooking a holiday dinner for two or four, let local restaurants do it for you! You are supporting them in an uncertain time, and they deal with the cooking so you don't have to.

3. Online shopping

One of my personal bad habits is online browsing, adding items to my cart, and then never actually checking out.  By online shopping at local and small businesses, there’s no need to feel guilty for clicking the “checkout’ button because you’re contributing to the further success of these establishments during a time when their physical stores aren’t able to operate. Remember that the best gifts are the ones from local restaurants and shops, so close that Amazon tab and support small during the holiday season!

4. Consider donating if able

Making a small or recurring donation to a local business is a great way to support other community members while practicing social distancing.  Even the smallest acts can benefit so many people, and if multiple people create small recurring donations to a local business, it could be the difference between staying open and shutting down.

5. Tip a little more than usual

If you do choose to support local restaurants, consider tipping 25-30% instead of the typical 15-20%. Though the difference is usually only a few dollars, the impact it creates is worth much more. A reminder that everyone has extra expenses throughout these upcoming months, and a 25-30% tip from each customer could take care of the cost of holiday gifts for an essential worker.

6. Like/share content & pages

Money isn’t the only way to uplift local businesses within our community.  Something as simple as a ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ of a company’s Facebook page can inspire others to support local retail and restaurants as well. A call-to-action on an Instagram story and a list of favorite local restaurants and shops shared on social media can also be a great way to share these places with others.

7. Leave positive reviews/comments

Challenge your friends, family, neighbors, and even yourself to pick 1-5 local restaurants or businesses that you have had pleasant experiences with & share that gratitude with them.  A simple comment on a social media page or a direct message can go a long way in making someone’s day a bit brighter.

8. Encourage friends & family to shop locally

Share information about how to support these small businesses with those closest to you.  Maybe this means buying a friend a gift card, convincing your family to order take-out from your favorite local restaurant, or sharing a list of your favorite locally-owed places on social media. Either way, the more we can use our resources to support others, the better.

9. Use Paypal, Apple Pay, Venmo, etc. when possible

A really simple way to support businesses and the people around you is to limit contact in any way possible.  One great example is to do your best to use forms of payment such as PayPal and Venmo to reduce or eliminate points of physical contact.

10. Continue to practice social distancing

Finally, keep practicing social distancing.  Though it is a struggle to slow down and stay at home, it is one of the easiest ways you can support your community and local businesses.  The more care we take in securing the safety of everyone around us, the sooner we will be able to get back into the booths of local restaurants and the company of each other.

Need some ideas? Our clients Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub, Degidios Restaurant & Bar, and Cossetta's Alimentari offer carry-out, delivery, holiday meal kits, and gift cards so you can enjoy social distancing all while supporting local businesses.

Emma Schiltz is a junior at the University of St. Thomas studying Music Business with minors in Business Administration and Recording Arts. Originally from Duluth, MN, she is currently working with Fretless Marketing as a Social Media Brand Associate.

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