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Restaurants become supermarkets to tackle food shortages

The move will also protect jobs in the hospitality industry.

1y ago

Very early on in the Coronavirus pandemic, the reaction from the public was to head to the shops and fill their arms with everything they could find. Although governments have since persisted in reassuring people that excess shopping is really not necessary, the problem continues.

Elsewhere, cafes and restaurants have seen the opposite response with vast swathes of the population staying away from places where they would normally enjoy a meal. Compounded by nationwide restrictions for these types of businesses with instructions to close, the situation for workers and owners is bleak.

Thankfully, as is often the case in times of crisis, ingenuity has come to the fore. Since supermarkets are unable to keep their shelves filled and restaurants can’t get anyone through the door, why not combine the two and turn restaurants into supermarkets?

That’s the plan of businessman John Vincent, who owns the London-based Leon restaurants chain. He has teamed up with the hospitality company Absolute Taste to deliver pre-packaged meals straight to people’s homes.

The idea is to launch an online order site where customers can request food of their choice and have it delivered direct to their door. Not only will this benefit the consumer (who can avoid queuing in shops) but it will also take some of the strain off supermarkets that are buckling under excessive demand and – crucially – secure the jobs of restaurant workers and of those in the supply chains.

News websites and social media are currently awash with stories of members of local communities pitching-in to support their neighbours. This idea, however, is taking that community spirit, mixing it with entrepreneurship knowhow and catalysing a coordinated response on a more widespread scale. If it is successful, surely more companies will follow suit to help keep their finances healthy.

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