The restaurant landscape has transformed rapidly since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic. While the most common change has been switching to pick-up and delivery only, some businesses have found more creative ways to bring in revenue while meeting the needs of their communities. As CNN reports, some restaurants that have been forced to turn away diners are reopening to sell groceries.
With more people feeding themselves at home and stocking up on food, once-common pantry staples have become harder to find. Everything from flour to peanut butter has disappeared from supermarket shelves. Restaurants, meanwhile, are facing the opposite problem—restrictions placed on gathering in public means much of their inventory is going unsold. Selling raw ingredients directly to consumers is an innovative solution.
The list of restaurants-turned-grocery stores includes major chains like Panera Bread. The fast casual eatery rolled out Panera Grocery on April 6, which allows people to order bread, milk, and produce online or through the company's app. Instead of braving a crowded store to get the items, customers can pick them up at a drive-thru window or request contactless delivery.
Independent restaurants across the country are also experimenting with the new business model. In New York City, Best Pizza now sells pizza packs with uncooked dough, pizza sauce, and housemade mozzarella, while Ends Meat is selling bread, olives, and deli meat for assembling your own sandwiches at home. Don's Diner and Cocktails in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has transformed into a full corner store. In addition to dry pasta and tomato sauce, they also sell toilet paper and cleaning supplies out of their repurposed dining room.
To avoid a trip to the supermarket, reach out to the restaurants in your neighborhood to see if they're selling groceries. When grocery shopping is unavoidable, here are some safety tips to keep in mind.