As of mid-July, nearly 16,000 US restaurants had to permanently close because of Covid-19, and more closures are anticipated. The sad truth is many of these restaurant closures are small, independent businesses just like SippingTHIS, and these closures, both permanent and temporary, have resulted in people losing their jobs. California, Texas and New York have been hit the hardest.
At SippingTHIS, we believe in helping our community and people in need, especially the wonderful people who have served us wine over the years. Even though our own business has also taken a hit because of Covid-19, we still want to give back however we can.
Here's how we've been helping and how you can help too.
With many PPP loans running out and business down with people staying home, restaurants need our help to pay rent (and in many cases back rent from when they were closed) and to pay employees.
At SippingTHIS, we're donating 10% of all sales to restaurants and restaurant workers impacted by Covid-19. Learn more here.
You can donate too! There are restaurant organizations, GoFundMe accounts, and more.
Here are a few places we've donated to:
- USHG HUGS - a nonprofit 501(c)(3) fund to support USHG team members who are facing unexpected and exceptional financial needs. They've also recently partnered with nonprofit organization Rethink Food to some of their restaurants into commissary kitchens to cook meals for food-insecure families in the South Bronx.
- The United Sommeliers Foundation - a charitable organization whose mission is to provide immediate financial assistance to sommeliers who are experiencing a pause or termination of their employment due to Covid-19 or other circumstances beyond their control.
If you have a favorite restaurant, don't be shy about asking them how you can donate. If you own a restaurant or know of one that needs help, please comment below with the donating details. We aim to spread the love with who we donate to and would love to support our SIPPERS.
2. Volunteer Your Time and Skills
Not everyone has funds to spare right now, but that doesn't mean you can't help.
I've been donating my time and skills to help my favorite NYC restaurant Lavagna bounce back. I've been helping them with their social media and email marketing efforts. I may not be getting paid for this work, but perk alert, they've generously provided me with free pasta and wine during our "work sessions."
If you have a skill to offer, volunteer your time. Here are a few examples of how you could help local restaurants near you.
- If you have a relevant skill, you could teach the restaurant owner or employee about that skill so they are better equipped to improve their business (tech, marketing, finance, legal, etc.).
- If you're a photographer, take high-quality photos of their restaurant and food for them to use on their social media accounts or website.
- If you're savvy with social media and they aren't, offer to help manage their social media accounts. Even one post a week is better than none.
- If you're handy with tools, offer to help them build new structures required for outdoor dining or social distancing.
- If you're a florist, you could help them arrange outdoor planters or donate flowers.
3. Dine (& Tip!)
We've been showing our support by dining out and ordering takeout and delivery. A real win-win!
If dining out, make sure the restaurant is following the correct safety protocols like spacing tables 6ft apart, wearing masks, and using digital menus or disposable ones. You should also make sure you are protecting their staff's safety by wearing a mask when speaking to the waiter or leaving the table.
If ordering takeout or delivery, look into their wine pricing. Many restaurants offer retail pricing on their wine list so you can wine and dine for less at home.
And don't forget to tip! I'm talking 20% tips. If you can afford more, tip more.
If you love a restaurant, let your friends, family, neighbors know! Post about the restaurant on social media and tag them. Leave a positive review on Yelp or other review channels.
2020 is a strange year, and many people are struggling. We've chosen to focus our efforts on helping restaurants and restaurant workers, but there are so many other ways you can help. By helping others, you also help yourself 'cause it feels good to make a difference.