Restaurant & Business Roundtable
Finding Solutions to Get Us Through Winter
We had an interesting and engaging roundtable zoom discussion yesterday about helping get all of our local restaurants and businesses through the winter months, as Covid cases continue to rise. Guest speaker Kate Paine, from Arlington Economic Development (AED) outlined a variety of resources available to businesses, including one-on-one support from BizLaunch, Rebuild VA grants, and a Transition to Winter Guide. She also discussed a new Small Business Saturday initiative where businesses can take over the AED social media platforms for several weeks, using the hashtag @ShopARL. Captain Gregg Karl, from the Arlington County Fire Department, gave extensive information on the safe way to add heating options to outdoor dining spaces. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all for restaurants that want to create a warmer outdoor dining area. All restaurants should connect directly with the fire department to review their space and find the best options for their specific needs. Shahriar Amiri and Elizabeth Wells, from Arlington County Inspection Services, also helped contribute to the discussion around safe options for tenting and heating. Finally, we discussed a wide range of easy tips to help drive revenue, during this difficult time. Family meal kits and dinner packages, enhanced curbside pick up and order ahead to go capability, alcohol to go options, donations for service employees at the register, online cooking classes, branded blankets, and quarantine themed cocktails are all great ideas to mix up a business model. One thing that was a common theme during this session is that we all need to get more creative, and start thinking outside the box, if our businesses are going to survive this pandemic.