Between curfews, tiers and social-distancing measures, the city’s restaurants, cafés, bars and hospitality venues have been struggling to stay afloat since the city first went into lockdown in March last year. As we head into Lockdown 3, local businesses need your support more than ever. From ordering takeaways (it’s a hard job but someone’s got to do it, etc etc) to leaving glowing reviews for your favourite spots, there are plenty of ways you can help keep them keep going without leaving the house.
1. Get a takeaway
Even if you like cooking, you’re probably a bit sick of it by now. And you (probably) can’t live off Mini Cheddars and spoonfuls of peanut butter alone. Luckily, London’s takeaway options are pretty extensive. The big companies like Deliveroo, UberEats and JustEat are still offering no-contact deliveries, meaning they’ll leave the food on your doorstep if you don’t want to come into contact with anyone. Plus, there are new delivery platforms that emerged from the first lockdown to rival the big dogs, including Big Night and Ambassador General Store – the aim of the two is to return more of the profit to the restaurants themselves.
Lots of small businesses have introduced new takeaway options, too. The list is ever-expanding and includes Rice Error by Bao, which serves everyone’s favourite hot Taiwanese buns and Gloria sending out massive lemon meringue pies. Keep checking back on our rolling list of London restaurants offering takeaway and delivery, which we’ll be updating regularly.
2. Order a DIY kit
Okay, a DIY kit requires slightly more effort from you than a takeaway, but not that much more (honest). The premise is this: London’s excellent restaurants have done all the hard work for you and you just have to do a bit of gentle reheating and/or assembling, bask in the glory of the food you’ve prepared and... eat it. The number of great London restaurants doing DIY kits is constantly increasing – from fancy, special occasion stuff from the likes of Lyle’s and Townsend to the more everyday and affordable options from Honest Burgers, Smokestak and more. We’ve eaten our way through many DIY kits to bring you this extensive list of all the excellent options available. Check out Restokit and Dishpatch or order from restaurants directly.
3. Buy a gift voucher
If you have cash to spare, now is a good time to ‘invest’ in your favourite restaurants and get a gift vouchers from them. It helps them earn some income in a difficult time and you’ll be able to use the vouchers once this blows over – think of it as an IOU. Restaurants offering vouchers include Patty & Bun, Trullo, Four Legs, Kricket and Harts Group, which owns Quo Vadis, El Pastor and Casa Pastor, as well as the four-branch chain Barrafina.
4. Pick up some merch
From tote bags to hot sauce to T-shirts, London’s restaurants and bars have some pretty great merch. Even if you’re working from home and not leaving the house much, you still need to shop, eat and wear clothes (your colleagues will thank you for that on those conference calls), so now’s the time to order those things you’ve always wanted but felt like you didn’t exactly need. There’s a load of new merch here you can purchase to help out some of London’s indie pubs, too. Consider it the only non-annoying kind of stockpiling.
5. Leave a review
Does anyone ever leave reviews unless they’re complaining? Now’s the time to change all that. Positive reviews can really help local businesses and leaving some glowing reviews for your favourite places will be an asset when they are able to reopen. It’ll only take you a few minutes but what else are you doing with your spare time?
6. Shop locally (even if it’s only online)
Your local supermarket is probably not a fun place to be right now and online delivery slots from the major supermarkets are increasingly hard to come by. But you can still stock up by shopping locally – lots of restaurants and cafés will be selling deli products and other food supplies. You can buy from Dusty Knuckle’s awesome sourdough delivery van or from Shop Cuvée’s game-changing store, for example. Some businesses have even done a full pivot to become a shop during lockdown – Westerns Laundry has set up a market in its courtyard, where you can pick up bread, wine and pastries (all the good stuff). Basically, seize the day and buy lots of your favourite beer, coffee or anything edible that’s made by London producers. And get groceries delivered from suppliers to the restaurant industry, who are also feeling the hit. We’ve got a running list of London grocery services here.