Restaurants adapting in light of COVID-19


As much as I’ve heard the phrase ‘unprecedented’ repeated again and again over the last few days, it’s true. Businesses of all kinds, face a completely unprecedented situation over the next few months due to COVID-19. 

Hospitality businesses are particularly affected – with footfall near enough non-existent and forced closures imminent. Many have temporarily closed, leaving thousands without an income for the foreseeable future.

There are many, however, who are adapting to fit in with new government guidelines. Whether that’s offering takeaway services, giving discounts to NHS staff and then there are those who are volunteering their time to help others in this time of need.

Jennifer Sutcliffe, CEO & Founder of JAMSPR lost pretty much all of her clients in a day, as PR is regarded by many as a luxury. Instead, she’s trying to make a difference by offering her services for free to try and support others. Here’s a list she put together for us…

City Harvest, are a London based charity who collect nutritious surplus food from all segments of the food industry including restaurants, grocers, manufacturers, wholesalers, hotels and caterers. At this time they are working round the clock to get as much food out to those in need but also helping all the chefs clear down their sites as they close. Their biggest drive at the moment is funding so they can keep their employees paid for as long as possible. They are currently looking for more volunteers to help pack the surplus food and more details can be found on their website.


KERB is launching their Keep The Wheels Turning campaign. This will include:

A web-shop of vouchers and street food experiences so you can support the continuation of the industry at a critical time.

A series of practical survival guides for traders and independent businesses across the nation.

Offers of support and assistance from customers and the wider community.

Trading opportunities for their traders, everything from office catering to deliveries to innovative events. More information on how to be involved can be found here.

TiPJAR and Hospitality Action have launched a Hospitality Workers Emergency Fund to help those who will lose their zero-hour contracts during this crisis, meaning they will struggle to pay rent, bills and feed themselves or their families. People can donate directly to hospitality workers in need, in their local city and 100% of the donations are going to Hospitality Action to distribute. Fundraise Packs are available to download to let people raise awareness for their cities. More information can be found on their website.

Many businesses understand how stretched NHS staff are at this time and are offering them generous discounts. These include White Mulberries Coffee Shop in St Katherine’s Docks, who are offering 50% off their whole menu to all NHS cardholders and have stepped up their takeaway offerings. Upper House in Islington is also offering 50% off their menu to NHS staff, SweetChick in Fitzrovia are offering 40% off to all NHS staff and are operating normal business hours via takeaway.

Cutter and Squidge have moved all operations online with £9 delivery within the M25. For nationwide delivery, they are offering free Easter egg shipping. They are also increasing their nationwide offering today with care kits to give a little love, with 30% off everything for NHS staff. They are continuing their gift voucher offering and will be adding future afternoon tea dates this week.

Juliet Sampson of Copperhouse Chocolate, London’s only vegan chocolate cafe, remains open on Sunday mornings 10-2 as long as the Islington Farmers Market remains open. They are putting their delicious treats online including rocky road, brownies and cookies. Easter eggs about to go online as well – mini eggs with peanut butter or caramel filling. They have some larger vegan chocolate eggs which are too fragile to post but can be collected and delivered locally to Islington.

SugarTits London will continue with mail order service. The code SMALLBIZSOS will get you 25% off all treats ordered online. They will also be trying to keep morale up at local nursing homes, hospitals and shelters by gifting any surplus treats they have from orders that have been placed.

Many photographers are offering their services for free for businesses who are switching to takeaway and need new imagery for this including Nic Crilly-Hargrave, Milly Fletcher, Scott Ball and Harriet Clare.

Charlotte Williams from The Proper Booth who provides Photo Booths for parties etc have set up a virtual photo booth on their Instagram account to help us spread some joy. They are posting up a new pose tip every day for everyone to have fun with. They have over 100 to choose from – everything from Face Squish and Bunny Ears to Jurassic Park.

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