Stories / Guides and Tips, Impact

How to Support Restaurants in 2021

Maggie Borden

January 06, 2021


Takeout box from Shuka in NYC by Clay Williams
Photo: Clay Williams

Nearly 1 in 6 restaurants have already closed, and as the winter continues, the increased restrictions and lack of direct government relief mean the next few months will be critical for food and beverage businesses.

Independent restaurants need your help more than ever. Here are some easy (and delicious ways) to show your support:

Order takeout and delivery from independent restaurants

It may seem obvious, but with indoor and outdoor dining restricted or shut down across the country, restaurants need your takeout orders. Remember to tip well and to order directly from the restaurant when possible.

Buy merch and gift cards

We’ll say it again—gift cards are a great way to give restaurants money immediately, especially if you’re in an area where in-person dining isn't possible. We've got a whole list of restaurants shipping apparel, spices, teas and more nationwide.

Be safe diners

Restaurants have made a lot of changes to make diners feel safe, so the least we can do is return the favor. We’ve partnered again with the Aspen Institute to create the Diners Code of Conduct, which lays out easy do’s and don’ts for dining during this unusual time. Some basic suggestions:

  • If you make a reservation, keep your reservation (or if you need to cancel, call ahead and let the restaurant know!). Remember that restaurants are operating with fewer tables, so every reservation matters.
  • Once you do come in to dine, respected the restaurant’s policies. That means wearing a mask whenever you’re asked to do so, maintaining social distancing, observing time limits, respecting the restaurant’s reservation policies, etc.
Exercise kindness

We know that everyone is dealing with additional stress during this unusual time. Remember that many of the health and safety policies in restaurants may be state-mandated, and are there to help keep both the restaurant staff and you safe.

Support direct restaurant relief

The new Congress session means another opportunity to advocate for restaurant relief. Call or email your Senator (contact info here) and ask them to support restaurants (or thank them for already doing so!). Find talking points and more information here.

We need government and public support to keep restaurants #openforgood. So dig in and help feed yourself and your local community.

Learn more about the James Beard Foundation’s Open for Good campaign.

See our list of restaurants and chefs shipping food, beverages, and more across the U.S.


Maggie Borden is content manager at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.