food for thought

COVID-19 and restaurants: weathering the storm

Colorado restaurants and their staff are trying to come to terms with the unfathomable blow delivered Monday: eight weeks of mandated closure of dining rooms as a defense against the outbreak of COVID-19. It surely was a heartbreaking decision for Governor Polis  – and everyone else, but the right one. Takeout and delivery are an option for some, but not plausible for so many others. 

Now, we must all do our part by staying home, locking it down and waiting out the storm COVID-19 is bringing to us. A week from now we will all know someone with it, or be fighting it ourselves. Then as the curve flattens, we will go back to another fight for survival: how to find financial support, how to keep our employees, and how to rebuild.  

In the meantime, here are some ideas for weathering the storm, and resources for you and your staff:

Transition your service to takeout and delivery only:

  • Streamline your menu to a handful of popular dishes that travel well
  • Think about setting up a system for folks to pay online, if you don’t have one already
  • Get creative! Brainstorm creative ideas such as weekly specials, including something for the kids, coloring pages, recipes kits, cooking decorating
  • Communicate frequently with your customers via social media, email and your website (your PR and social media pros can help you with this if you need)
  • Be clear in all communications how to order and pick up food easily
  • Use the hashtag #ColoradoCurbside if you will be serving takeout/delivery so you can be included in media lists/round-ups
  • Set short term goals for your business for this time period

Consider donating food to local non-profits such as your local homeless shelter, who are redistributing it to our community. Community Food Share and Boulder Food Rescue are excellent options in Boulder County.

Use the resources from the Colorado Restaurant Association:

The state of Colorado has issued emergency rules on paid sick leave for food service employees being tested for COVID-19. Please read up at the link below on what you need to do to comply with these rules. Their Coronavirus Resource page also features a compilation of sources of real time updates and information to keep you, your guests, your employees, and your businesses safe.

Advocate for Governor Jared Polis to suspend rent, mortgage & utility payments and to request emergency funding be issued to the restaurant industry and workers by insurance companies. Governor’s Office, Front Desk: (303) 866-2471 or e-mail the Governor:

The Boulder County First Bite team is working on compiling ideas and messages for you to use to keep your customers engaged.

This is a time to be creative, make people laugh, strengthen community, and remind each other that there is good in this world. We are with you all the way to support you during this tough time. We will come back together to rebuild our industry, support one another and serve once again. Until then, we wish you and your families health and safety.

Food is Love,

Jessica Benjamin, Owner, First Bite: Boulder County Restaurant Week

Photo Credit Joni Schrantz






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