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Today is Wednesday. In an effort to encourage more people to support restaurants in their communities across Canada, today and Wednesdays for the next while are now declared #takeoutday .

Canada_Takeout_Day

I’m sure you’ve heard and seen posts on social media and watched local business people asking for support as they struggle to make it through “The Great Lockdown” (so named by the International Monetary Fund when they announced this week just how bad the short term economic outlook is).

Nowhere is the strain so great as with tiny businesses. Independent shops, whether they be retail, restaurant, accommodations or any other service, are the lifeblood of communities. They depend on locals to support them on a regular basis, but in times like these nothing is regular. We are past laughing off a slump in sales.

small business in hard times

I don’t want to sound like I’m against big box retailers and chain restaurants. But the simple reality is their likelihood of survival is greater than a small independent. Those guys need your help if you can give it.

The restaurant trade in particular is being highlighted because it’s one of the industries that operates on small margins of profit. Many places literally run on today’s revenue to pay tomorrow’s bills. They base their expenses on ratios of what is a normal business day. (Remember I said nothing is normal at the moment?) So running at half mast by doing takeout is already a risky proposition at best in trying to stay afloat.

The simple truth is, this promotion highlights what was already true. The entrepreneurs in your community need you to keep their doors open, just like you might well need their support to keep your livelihood. We all need to engage with each other for this to work.

Community: a group of people with diverse characteristics who are linked by social ties, share common perspectives, and engage in joint action in geographical locations or settings.

Whatever you can do will help. Since our “joint actions” can’t involve being close together, ordering takeout from a restaurant is a way that works right now. Ordering grocery items from your local fishmonger, butcher, bakery, coffee shop, or farm also makes a difference.

grow-your-communityGoing directly to these businesses gives them the best chance of success. For example, if you use a delivery service to receive the takeout order, they need to charge the restaurant to pay their driver. I see this right now as robbing Peter to pay Paul. The delivery service is a convenience, one that some folks might need to use. But if you want to make the biggest difference for the restaurant, pay them directly.

And no one says if you order takeout another day of the week it won’t help. How about we use Wednesdays as a reminder? Then we won’t overwhelm our local places all on the same day 🙂

why buy local infographicI know it’s tough for everyone. We are all having to make sacrifices and adjust to the new world within this pandemic. As someone wisely said, “This too shall pass.” We are in this together, so let’s remember that and take strength from the common ties and traditions we have in our communities.

At the risk of sounding overly optimistic, maybe we could even carry on our sense of community engagement after this is over? Wouldn’t it be great if we could come out of this a better world? Hashtag looking for the rainbow.

after the storm