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  • Digital Media Lab

How to Support Local Restaurants

The past 18 months were like no other in our lifetime and, if you’re like the majority of Americans, you are probably hoping for a fresh start. With the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the global economy and wiping out our social calendars, celebrating milestone events will have a different feel. When you’re dining out for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions - consider supporting local restaurants.

The restaurant industry was among the hardest hit during the pandemic. According to the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, one in ten establishments that temporarily shut down due to the pandemic are now out of business. Before you decide on dining at fast food or other chain restaurants, consider dining at local, family-owned establishments.

The math for buying local is compelling--for every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, $73 remains in the local economy, and $27 leaves. Compare that to the same $100 spent at a non-locally owned business, where $43 remains in the local economy and $57 leaves.

If you’re looking for ways to support your favorite local restaurants right now, here are some ideas:

Eat Their Food. The easiest way to support your local restaurants is by continuing to buy their food. Some establishments are open for full-service dining, while others continue to offer take-out. If you’re still wary of eating out, see if your favorite restaurant has an online menu and then call or place your order online. Not sure of what restaurants are open or only offering carry-out? Here’s a list of great local restaurants courtesy of our local chambers and merchants associations: Delafield, Oconomowoc, Hartland, and Pewaukee.

Buy Gift Cards. Another great way to show support for your favorite restaurant is to buy gift cards. Have a friend down the road who’s feeling stir-crazy or struggling post-pandemic? Get them a $25 gift card or Lake Country CityTins® to lift their spirits, or buy one for yourself (you know you’ll use it). The bonus? It gives the restaurant immediate financial assistance.

Shout-Out on Social Media. If you were looking for a great time to add food photos on social media, this is it! If you just had a delicious meal, snap a picture. Post it online and credit the restaurant. A rave review complimented with a gorgeous food picture goes a long way on social media. Some people may not realize a restaurant is open, so you can help spread the word.

Tip Well. All restaurant staff are working extra hard cleaning, cooking, serving, and on their feet for longer than usual shifts. Please tip well by going above the 20% standard tip. A little kindness and consideration can go a long way.

Offer Your Services. If you have the time and resources, ask restaurant owners or managers what they need. Maybe you can donate time behind the scenes or offer your graphic design skills to a marketing campaign. You’ll be surprised by the different ways that you can help!

Be Patient: Keep in mind, many restaurants are scrambling to find staff. They are doing their best to maintain quality and take good care of their customers - especially with some staff reducing their hours or heading back to school. Our advice is: take a deep breath, order an extra glass of wine, and enjoy your night out with friends and family!

As we charter post-pandemic waters, it’s more important than ever to focus on marketing incentives to keep your business as healthy and strong as possible. Your time is important, so let the experts at the Digital Media Lab help! Our team of designers, marketers, SEO experts, and content creators are ready to help you connect with your best prospects online, increasing inbound leads, customer count, and revenue! To learn more or schedule a free consultation, call 866-275-1561 or fill out our contact form.


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