Local support for restaurants & cafes

5th May 2020 | Eativity editors

As non-essential businesses have been ordered to close their doors during the COVID crisis, restaurants and cafes are struggling to stay afloat. Figures from the Restaurant and Catering Association suggest that bookings and foot traffic are now down by 80 to 100 percent. Many business owners have had to stand down staff. In an attempt to keep their business open, most are now offering takeaway and delivery options. However, many are unsure how to attract customers or adapt their business model.

A crisis can bring the best out in people, and many organisations large and small have stepped up to the plate to help local hospitality businesses survive the shutdown.



MessageMedia has been working with restaurants and cafes across the country to redirect their dine-in services to new takeaway and delivery options via SMS. The company is offering restaurants and cafes free use of MessageMedia SMS “text-in” services. Customers can text their pick-up or delivery orders directly, without having to pay a third party. The package includes free messaging credits and a dedicated phone number to promote to customers. It also offers assistance with getting the service up and running.

“As this crisis worsens, businesses across the globe face temporary closure,” says MessageMedia CEO, Paul Perrett. “We want to do our part to help our customers and others in the hospitality industry who are doing it so tough right now. So many restaurants and cafes are scrambling to shift from a dine-in to a take-away business model. We know that the quicker that happens the more people’s jobs and livelihoods can be saved.”

Uber Eats is helping restaurants promote their business.
Uber Eats is helping restaurants promote their business.


Online food delivery juggernaut Uber Eats has announced it will make up to $5 million in funding available to independent restaurants across Australia and New Zealand. In a prepared statement, Uber Eats Regional General Manager for APAC Jodie Auster stated that this funding, “will allow restaurants to deploy promotions to attract customers and will help restaurants time promotions to suit their individual business needs”. Restaurants will also pay no service fees on pick-up orders up until June 30. Uber Eats will also offer businesses the option to receive daily payments rather than weekly. Plus, they’ll waive activation fees for any new restaurants wanting to join the food delivery platform. 

With no foot traffic, restaurants need another way to show people they're open.
With no foot traffic, restaurants need another way to show people they’re open.

Community spirit

A growing number of online communities are also cropping up. People across the country are showing their support for the industry by promoting local services. In Canberra, a team of website builders have developed FeedFeed.com.au. This is an up-to-date online list of local hospitality businesses that have had to adapt to social distancing requirements. In Tasmania, a marketing professional has launched restaurantshobart.com. The website encourages Tassie customers to order directly from local restaurants and cafes. That way, struggling hospitality businesses don’t have to wear the cost of paying commission to third-party apps for delivery services.

In NSW, a Facebook page has been set up to help promote local Port Macquarie eateries. Urban culture website The Urban List is just one of many websites providing an online list of Sydney businesses offering delivery and takeaway. In Queensland, Brisbane food and lifestyle website The Weekend Edition is sharing a regularly updated list of local restaurants that are offering takeaway and delivery services. And over in Adelaide, the #okSA campaign is promoting businesses that remain open via a free listing service.

Restaurants are making the switch to home delivery.
Restaurants are making the switch to home delivery.

Show your support

“Paying it forward” is another way that people can support their favourite local business. Group gifting platform Group Together has launched KeepYourCafe. This offers customers the option to purchase food and drink items from cafes and restaurants now that can be redeemed when the business reopens. The initiative is designed to generate cashflow for eateries that are sitting empty as more people stay at home and eat in.

We’re living in unusual times right now. But by supporting your favourite local businesses while their normal operations are suspended, you’ll be able to enjoy their services all the more when doors once again swing open. Then eager diners can come back together to enjoy the best that Australian food has to offer.