#UAERestaurantsUnite: How Dubai is Supporting Restaurants Through the Coronavirus Crisis

The restaurant industry across the world is facing one of the biggest calamities of its lifetime. As the spread of COVID-19 isolates everyone, restaurants are seeing a massive decline in income.

Governments across the globe are enforcing restaurant lockdowns to contain the spread of the virus, while certain restaurants are closing their doors due to little to no business.  

Let's face it, the crisis is real.

According to The National Restaurant Association, the restaurant industry estimates $225B in losses from coronavirus. Dine-in restaurants in UAE alone have seen an 80% drop since last week.

The unfortunate part is that this decline affects everyone across the industry - from big to small restaurants, from hostesses and servers to restaurant managers, and everyone else. The coronavirus pandemic has put the livelihoods of many in jeopardy.

During this crisis, the community in Dubai has shown extreme positivity and come together beautifully to support local restaurants.

Residents have taken to social media to show their support for restaurants across Dubai. The hashtag #UAERestaurantsUnite, created by Dubai's famous food reviewer, Foodiva, to support local restaurants has started an epic movement across the community.

Through the hashtag, Foodiva has pledged to support restaurants, cafes and F&B businesses across dubai by using her platform to help these establishments get the word out on what they are doing to tackle the crisis (special offers, deliveries, COVID-19 updates etc). These businesses are encouraged to tag @foodiva in their posts which will then be reposted to her 28k followers through Instagram stories.

This campaign, since it's launch on March 17th, has gained massive traction as residents across Dubai offer their support to the restaurant industry.

Many others with a digital presence like @mrandmrsbrunch, @naomi_dsouza, @outandaboutuae and @imelpinto have followed suit and are helping restaurants by promoting them to their online community.

The hashtag #supportlocal has also been trending on social media as residents across Dubai strive to help restaurants and small businesses across the city.

With self-isolation being strongly promoted to control the spread of the virus, people have understandably switched from dining in to home delivery. Though deliveries are a good source of income for restaurants, it is also important to note that most delivery apps like Deliveroo and UberEats charge restaurants a hefty commission for each order, hence lowering restaurants' income significantly.

To counter this issue, Foodsheikh, another popular restaurant reviewer, and Chatfood have come up with a brilliant initiative: DeliverDXB. DeliverDXB supports local business by providing customers with a platform to order food directly from the restaurant so that they do not have to pay commission to their delivery partners.

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Introducing DeliverDXB – a direct ordering platform for local restaurants created by the amazing guys at ChatFood. In the last 48 hours, we have listed almost 300 restaurants that offer direct ordering and delivery! Support your local restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Order directly with the restaurant for take away or delivery - they get to keep more of your money, allowing them to pay salaries, invest in training and generally become better restaurants. What this means to you, is simply ordering directly with the restaurant instead of through a third party. What this means to the restaurant could be the difference between their survival as a business and staying closed forever. Visit DeliverDXB and self-isolate in style.

A post shared by Food Sheikh (@foodsheikh) on

Restaurants can enlist themselves on the website through a simple form - no subscription fee, no commission.

"For you it's simply ordering directly with the restaurant instead of on an app. For the restaurant, it could be the difference between their survival as a business and staying close forever. Every time you order directly with the restaurant, they get to keep more of your money for themselves, allowing them to pay salaries, invest in training and generally become better restaurants and businesses"  - FoodSheikh + chatfood.

BBC Good Food MENA has also initiated a similar concept wherein restaurants that are still operating as normal or offering home delivery and collection can list themselves free of cost.

Restaurants & Cafes are also going the extra step and taking extensive sanitisation and precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of their customers.

For instance, BOCA Dubai issued the following statement on their social media channels:

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We are all in this together.

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You can read more about the precautionary measures that are being undertaken by restaurants across Dubai here.

We at Eat App want to encourage you to support the restaurants you love anyway you can. Here are a few things you can do to help them:

  1. If you are at home and not going out - consider takeout or delivery. Many restaurants may start offering expanded menu options for delivery as a safer alternative to dining in. This is a great way to support restaurants that don't normally offer delivery options. You can find restaurants that are offering delivery and takeaway across Dubai here, and also on our app.
  2. Support local restaurants by helping promote their current offers and deals through different platforms like Instagram or Facebook, or just by telling your friends about it. Word of mouth goes a long way.
  3. If you've already made reservations for a future date and don't intent on going, please cancel. your reservation. No-shows cost restaurant money.
  4. If it's safe and you are out and about, make sure to use the best practices to protect yourself and others against infection. This includes washing your hands frequently, maintaining a safe distance between yourself and others, avoid touching your face, and above all - if you have any flu like symptoms, stay home.
  5. Be kind and generous. While many of us have the luxury to be able to work from home and retain our financial stability, most hospitality workers depend on day-to-day activities for their income (including delivery drivers). Greet them with a smile and if you can, tip them generously.

If you or anyone you know is undertaking initiatives to support local restaurants, contact us on support@eatapp.co so that we can share it with the world and keep this movement going.

This is the time where community matters more than ever. We are all in this together, and if we stand with each other strongly, we will all weather the storm and come shining on the other side.