What’s helpful, and what’s not, and what’s in between.

Dear Kind Feastlings,
As you could tell by the fact that I again sent an email out the night before it was meant to go out by accident, or by the fact that I clearly copied and pasted a previous post and missed some editing (thanks, Ivan, for letting me know I missed a spot on that NxNW post,) we’re still a little overwhelmed around here, but we’re getting more organized bit by bit. We’re still grateful for your orders, and we’re still doing what events we can to keep up interest, to remind you we’re out here, and to give you a little something to do besides walk around your house in circles. There’ll be a delivery to the northwest again this week, and you can place orders both tomorrow after 3:00 pm or any time on Tuesday (we’re closed on Mondays) for delivery to a hub near you on Wednesday the 15th. Notes are here.

We’ve also got Aly behind the bar slinging cocktails to go tonight, and a wine tasting happening within the hour, but I also wanted to throw something out there, because I’ve been hearing from a lot of you about how you can help, not only Feast, but any small business that matters to you. So I’m answering a number of your questions right here:
First, gift certificates. Yep. Of course it helps. I’ve talked to a number of other business owners and there’s a range of perspectives: some are just happy to make sales of any kind- we’ve all felt an incredibly sharp decrease to our cash flow, and those of us who remain open still have to pay the staff, the utilities and pay for the ingredients or goods we’re bringing in. Many of us have gotten reprieves in varying degrees from landlords or the banks that hold our mortgages, but some more than others and we all need to keep money running through the business to remain viable. That said, there are a few issues here. One is that any gift card you buy through a website gives the business the bulk of what you spend, but a portion of it goes to the company that’s processing the gift card. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know the company that processes Feast’s gift cards takes 8%. In better times, it’s worth it to us to offer our guests the convenience of 24-hour accessibility to purchasing a gift card, but right now every penny counts. I’ll also mention that a number of us have a certain amount of fear in mortgaging our future. That is, it’s great to sell gift cards now, but if everyone comes in and redeems them just as we’re trying to get back on our feet, we’re really only putting off the problem of having to pay staff and purveyors, and when we reopen the doors, if everyone comes in the first two weeks and pays with gift cards (i.e. money that’s already been spent,) we’re really in the same place we are now, it’s just that there’s no money coming in when we’ve reopened rather than now when there’s very little business. So thanks for buying gift cards, and thanks even more for buying them direct from the small business, and thanks yet again for being judicious in not running in to spend them all at once, especially right as everyone is struggling to get back to normal.
Second, getting the word out. There’s no question that the more eyes and ears on a small business, the greater the likelihood that someone will avail themselves of that business’s products and services. So the more you follow your favorite small business on social media and repost or retweet or just tell your friends and neighbors about it, the better for them. This is a great way to help because it costs you nothing and it helps the business immeasurably. So even if you’re not picking up takeout from us, your neighbor might, and they might not have had you not mentioned it.
Third: GoFundMe and similar platforms. Feast isn’t doing it, and we’re hoping not to have to, but a number of businesses have set up GoFundMe pages in hopes of getting donations to their crews, If you’re feeling flush enough to help out someone who’s been furloughed, take a peek at GoFundMe and see if anyone you appreciate is feeling particular pain right now. A guest sent me an article with links that I’ll mention here, partly because it mentions the GoFundMe thing, and partly because it brings me to number four-
Fourth: DoorDash, Grubhub and other delivery platforms take an even bigger chunk than the gift card processors, so if you can pick up rather than having it delivered by a third party, you’re doing the restaurant (or other business) a huge kindness. Here’s that article.

I don’t think any of us has any problem with a business making money, be it a large one or a small one, but since the hospitality industry in particular and small businesses in general are in danger of imploding, it doesn’t hurt to think before you act and take what little steps you can to help the people you’re really trying to help, rather than see a bunch of intermediaries who aren’t feeling the squeeze take notable chunks out of the bottom line of businesses who may perish as a result.
As for Feast in particular, we’re hanging in there. The staff has obviously had hours cut back based on the needs of the restaurant, but no one has been laid off yet and we’re going to continue what we’re doing until whatever unforeseen circumstance it is that rears its ugly head makes us stop. And in talking to the restaurateurs I’ve talked to, I know that it’s in large part the special bond we have with all of you. We’re lucky to have the staff that we have- people who bother to learn your names and the drink you like and the fact that you need something with no garlic or less salt or whatever it may be.And we’re lucky to have guests that feel the same way, treating the crew here like people rather than automatons, and caring about us as members of this little Feast community the way we do about you. So thanks for eating, drinking and shopping here, thanks for understanding both the risks and the precautions we take, and thanks for everything you’re doing to help keep us around so we can be here for you, and for our own respective livelihoods now and in the future.


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