Restauraunts as One-stop Shops and One Drop-off Delivery Services: Creative Problem-Solving for COVID Commuity Issues March 29, 2020 21:21

Here’s one of my ideas that could solve multiple issues our locked-down communities are facing for an unknown amount of time. Creative, community-strengthening ideas have a lot of potential when external forces change the lifestyles we’ve all been accustomed to. Everyone’s looking for solutions to common struggles. Blaming others for the current situation won’t solve problems, so I encourage everyone to put energy towards creative problem solving instead. I offer this example:

Until restaurants are allowed to resume their normal operations, I suggest a new community-serving model that allows them to sell paper products (toilet paper, paper towels) and cleaning supplies (sanitizing agents, gloves) that they source from their distributors. To further help their communities, this concept could be extended to include food ingredients that the restaurants use as well. 

Locally-owned restaurants that are still able to sell and deliver to-go food will be using less of the paper products and cleaning supplies that their distributors are accustomed to selling them. For example, the amount of toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies used in a sit-down restaurant are higher than those used for a to-go and delivery establishment.

Distributors should still have, and likely still want to sell their products to restaurants. I imagine they would be happy to temporarily change some of their product distribution sales rules to be able to continue selling their products. Especially if those changes would allow their locally-owned restaurants to survive and serve their communities. 

Paper products and cleaning supplies are in shortages all over the world. Grocery and other stores can’t keep up with the pandemic demands for these items.

I’m not an expert in pricing for sustainable profits or supply availability, but I would like to believe businesses could create prices and sales restrictions that allow them to sustain their supply and profit margins. The service would be to supply customers with what they need to sustain themselves, not to allow hoarding behavior that the grocery stores are dealing with. Customers would be helping restaurants profit from their sales, and in turn, the restaurants would be helping their customers get the supplies they need to stay home and stay healthy.

If restaurants are allowed to become one-stop-shops or one-drop-off delivery services, their businesses, their distributors’ businesses, and the public they serve will all benefit. Until grocery stores can keep up with the demands of their communities, I believe they could benefit from sharing their community-supporting duties. Besides current supply pinches leading to empty shelves, they’re faced with social distancing challenges of busy aisles and check-out lines. 

I’m open to constructive feedback if there are issues with this solution that I’m not aware of. But if there aren’t regulations or situations that make this solution impossible in your area, then please pass the idea around to your locally-owned restaurants! 

With love from my soul, and soles. - Leslie Palotas