On Deleting Food Delivery Apps and Feeling for Restaurants Under Construction

The Intelligence Brief is our weekly compendium of food and drink news sourced from outlets all over the world, including right here at home.

The global fight against Covid-19 continues. As we come up to the one-month mark of restaurant closures, city-wide shutdowns and continued social distancing, we’re understandably wondering how long this will all last. While there are no definitive answers, we can at least be comforted in that our collective efforts are showing positive results. As BC Health Officer Bonnie Henry stated yesterday, “We are asking you as well to keep holding the line, keep doing what we are doing, especially for youth and children — remember this is not forever, but it is for now.” So yeah, keep it up! We will get through this together. In the meantime, we continue to cover how the outbreak is impacting the hospitality industry both locally and abroad…

Eater tracks the impacts of the pandemic on the restaurant industry across the US.

Meanwhile, on this side of the border, restaurant owners across the country continue to advocate for government support to ensure that the industry is able to recover once the dust settles and the nation reopens for business.

This crisis is not just affecting existing restaurants. It is also having a huge impact on those that were under construction when the pandemic hit.

As if the industry wasn’t hurting enough, the city has seen a slew of restaurant and grocery store break-ins over the past week including The Pawn Shop, Eternal Abundance, and Manoush’eh on Davie.

Despite these incredibly difficult times, it’s heartening to see all the ways members of the hospitality community are rallying around each other to help everyone get through! Case in point: Odd Society has pivoted their business to make hand sanitizer to be donated to not-for-profits and essential services.

Also! DL Chicken is collaborating with BoomBox Brewing on a beer and merchandise merchandise drop. Proceeds will go to support the Vancouver Food and Beverage Community Relief Fund.

The local Chinese Restaurant Awards have also organized a new campaign to provide 100 meals per day for 15 days to health care workers at VGH.

While we continue to applaud those on the front lines, it’s important to remember the thousands of workers behind the scenes in the food industry and the risks they continue to face when employers refuse to put their safety first.

“The coronavirus pandemic has reached the processing plants where workers typically stand elbow-to-elbow to do the low-wage work of cutting, deboning and packing the chicken and beef that Americans savor. Some plants have offered financial incentives to keep them on the job, but the virus’s swift spread is causing illness and forcing plants to close.”

As food delivery apps continue to charge restaurants exorbitant commissions through this crisis, the calls to delete the apps altogether grow louder.

While DoorDash announced on Monday that it would cut its commission by half for certain restaurants, the slow response time seems to beg the question: is this too little, too late?

Fortunately, one local restaurant owner has answered the call and is currently beta testing a new ‘at-cost’ food delivery service.

And while you’re ordering in, here’s a handy article from the folks at NPR explaining how to safely enjoy takeout during the pandemic.

Wondering why you can’t find yeast of AP flour anywhere? Here’s your answer!

It’d probably be easier if we could all just have access to the Sourdough Library. (No, but for real…it’s an actual thing.)

Speaking of missing ingredients, here’s a helpful breakdown of simple substitutes to make when you run out of certain staples.

The New York Times on how the “farm” in “farm-to-table” is being left behind amid the global pandemic.

“So these small farmers, like many others across the country who spent decades building a local, sustainable agricultural system, are staring at their fields and wondering what to do now that the table has been kicked out from under the modern farm-to-table movement.”

A reminder that there are still substantial ways you can help the hospitality community through this crisis. These are people that can’t work from home. They are hourly wage earners who often have fewer extended benefits and paid sick time. If you’re looking for ways for ways to support our local hospitality industry and employees:

– Purchase gift cards to use at a later date.

– Participate in Canada Takeout Day and order from one of your favourite local restaurants

– Support your local small grocers and independent food stores.

– Order food for pick-up or for delivery (keeping social distance during pick-up).

– Make sure to tip your delivery person well (in many ways, they are on the front lines).

Support your local food bank. This pandemic is increasing the number of people facing food insecurity. They ask that you prioritize financial donations over food so as these can be made online.

– Engage with local restaurants, bars and cafes on social media. Share photos and leave words of encouragement and support.

– If you do need to go grocery shopping, consider supporting a local small business (they’re also often less busy than the larger grocery stores and have more supplies in stock).

– Buy restaurant/bar merchandise online if available (ie: t-shirts, hats, tote bags). Helen Rosner has compiled a list of great F&B merch on her IG Stories.

– If you have private events booked at any local bars/restaurants, consider postponing rather than canceling.

– Check in with your friends who are bartenders, servers, dishwashers, cooks, etc. and ask them how you can best support them through this.

Most importantly, stay safe and take care of each other. We will get through this!

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