La Bonne Soupe: the hyper-local impact of an international pandemic

The current crisis has forced numerous restaurants around the world to operate through contactless delivery and takeout. But these options are not financially feasible for all restaurants - especially for the businesses located in neighborhoods usually crowded by tourists and office workers. The loss of primary clients brought a lot of uncertainty to these restaurants, and drive them to temporarily close their doors.

This week, we would like to tell you about SeaStraws’ client La Bonne Soupe - one of the NYC restaurants that have made the difficult decision to cease their operations. A favorite among locals and tourists for their excellent french dishes (their onion soup is considered by NYC foodies as one of the best in Manhattan), La Bonne Soupe temporarily closed their business when the numbers of COVID-19 cases began escalating in the city. 

For the first time in 47 years since its opening, La Bonne Soupe stopped offering a dining experience to its customers. The restaurant is located in the previously bustling NYC Midtown area that, with offices and Broadway theatres closed, is now nearly deserted. WIthout their customer base that consisted of office workers, theater-goers, and tourists, switching to contactless delivery was not a viable option for La Bonne Soupe. Health-risks for the employees associated with keeping the restaurant open also contributed to the restaurant’s decision to stop its operations. We adhere to strict health department rules, but managing a deadly and contagious disease is really out of my realm,” said Gehad Hadidi, the manager of La Bonne Soupe. 

Support coming from people in forms of donations and gift card purchases is what is helping foodservice businesses get through these times of uncertainty. Gehad shared that La Bonne Soupe’s GoFundMe page raised over $15,000 from over 100 customers in under a week. The page was started to provide a cushion for restaurant’s staff during the period of transition. For the restaurant's team, “the outpouring of support has been really inspiring.” Consider supporting their efforts if you would like to assist Gehad and his team.

Gehad hopes that “people will feel comfortable going out to restaurants and socializing again.”  “The alternative would be bad for restaurants and bad for society,” he believes. Many of us share the same feelings and hope for the sense of normality after the pandemic is over. However, it will be impossible without showing restaurants our support. 

The sad reality is that many businesses in the foodservice industry (and in other sectors) will not survive the current crisis. As the pandemic progresses, thousands of restaurants are facing significant financial difficulties. In the struggle to support their employees and stay afloat, businesses are declaring decisions of permanent closures. For restaurants to get through this crisis, people need to continue showing support to local businesses, especially to those that temporarily stopped their operations.   

Consider donating to the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, or look up whether your favorite local restaurant has a GoFundMe and make a contribution there. Restaurants still in operation are looking for your help as well. Order delivery of that dining-out meal that you miss so much, and show support to your local restaurants.

This article originally appeared in our Recurrent email newsletter on Wednesday, May 6. To subscribe and get an engaging story about our sustainable hospitality community every week, click here!

Written by Kathrine Serebrianski



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