Globally, hospitality businesses and owners are experiencing financial challenges on a scale never seen before. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only led to the temporary closure of restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and bars to the public, but is already beginning to result in permanent closures as businesses struggle to deal with ongoing overhead expenses with minimal revenue.
But, there are signs of hope. Already, the innate resilience and entrepreneurial spirit of many small business owners has seen restaurants and coffee shops rapidly evolve their business models to offer take-out and delivery options. Businesses with little to no online or social media presence have turned on a dime to boost their store’s brand awareness and customer reach.
As a case in point, Somun Superstar – a Bosnian bakery and sandwich shop in Toronto’s east end – integrated online point-of-sale software within 24 hours to offer its customers no-contact delivery in the COVID-19 era.
However, this isn’t a fight the hospitality sector can win on its own. Small businesses need the support of their loyal customer base and local communities to weather the storm.
In partnership with inKind, starting April 22nd,SilverChef has launched the national #ServingHospitality initiative. Targeted at small, Canadian hospitality businesses, the initiative aims to provide owners with an immediate cash injection when they need it most, diversifying their sources of revenue and future-proofing their business.
The initiative works by allowing customers to purchase e-gift cards to any of the registered businesses. Often, small businesses don’t have the resources or technology to create their own online gift card system, so the #ServingHospitality platform provides a way for customers to “pay it forward” to a business, with the value then redeemed through the inKind app at a later date.
Small businesses – restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars alike – are the lifeblood of the Canadian hospitality sector. This isn’t an initiative geared towards sustaining the chains and franchises – while we recognize the financial difficulties of this type of organization as well, we’re motivated by the desire to retain the diversity and creativity of Canada’s independent and small hospitality business landscape. By investing in small businesses now (even when it cannot provide an immediate reward), customers are investing in the future of their local communities and economy… and that hot meal or iced coffee at the end will taste all the sweeter for it.
We’re encouraging all hospitality businesses across Canada who need that extra support to sign up to the #ServingHospitality initiative. And, we’re also calling on restaurant-goers, wine-connoisseurs, beer-samplers, coffee-lovers and sandwich-quaffers alike to future-proof your local businesses by paying it forward now.
The hospitality industry has always been there to serve us, so now it is time for us to serve the hospitality industry.
Businesses interested in signing up to the initiative, or customers looking to purchase an e-gift card to any of their local hospitality businesses, should visit the #ServingHospitality website at: www.servinghospitality.org.