To help support local restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic, it might be time to skip the takeout services, according to the creators of a new website.
As Manitoba restaurants continue to struggle through the latest coronavirus restrictions, a Winnipeg couple has come up with a unique way to help local businesses with their bottom line.
The new service, called Let’s Order Delivery, catalogues local eateries that offer their own in-house delivery services — so the businesses themselves can pocket what you pay them without giving a percentage to a third-party takeout business.
One of Let’s Order Delivery’s creators, Danielle Northam, told 680 CJOB that the one of the most convenient aspects of the project is that it breaks down the various Winnipeg neighbourhoods and encourages people to buy hyper-local.
“We picked the neighbourhoods the restaurants are in,” Northam said.
“Those are the ones most likely to deliver to you. They can go in, they can check out our citywide selection… or they can check out their neighbourhood or the neighbourhoods closest to them. (Users can) scroll through and find links to the restaurants’ own delivery services that they offer.
“All of them have their own delivery staff, a lot of them have their own delivery portals that are pretty easy to use, others go through phone and email, but the main criteria is that they hire their own delivery staff.”
Northam said the response, so far, has been overwhelmingly positive — from users as well as restaurateurs.
“We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from restaurants saying they think this’ll be helpful… they really appreciate the visibility.”
The restaurant industry has been among the hardest hit in Manitoba due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The current level red restrictions have limited the businesses severely — at a time experts were already describing as “bleak” for the industry before the new restrictions were implemented earlier this month.
According to an October survey by the Manitoba Restaurant and Food Services Association, most local restaurateurs were spending at least $2,000 a month on personal protective equipment (PPE), but are operating on less than 40 per cent of their pre-pandemic sales.
At the time, the association’s executive director told Global News restaurant owners were in desperate need of cash to help in the struggle against growing debt loads.
“The rising debt load that these operators are absorbing on a monthly basis, both in PPE costs and deferred payments, is outstanding,” said Shaun Jeffrey.
“You don’t have to be a mathematician to be able to look at these survey numbers and know that when these debts come due, it’s going to be a bleak time for our industry.”