DoorDash wants to help consumers feel like they are eating in a restaurant despite them not being able to go out during the coronavirus outbreak. The company is offering virtual backgrounds from popular eateries that can be uploaded to video platforms to remind you what going out used to feel like. Considering that a new James Beard Foundation survey shows restaurants are struggling, even small boosts like this may be helpful.
Required social isolation due to the coronavirus outbreak has forced consumers to rely more on food delivery and pick up. Although you can order the same entrée from a favorite restaurant to eat at home, it is impossible to replicate the atmosphere exactly. DoorDash is trying to help with virtual backgrounds that you can download from The Cheesecake Factory, Panera Bread, Buffalo Wild Wings, Cracker Barrel, Outback Steakhouse and other restaurants.
After downloading the backgrounds you prefer, you can upload them to a video platform like Zoom to create a virtual restaurant inside your computer screen. DoorDash is also providing the option to listen to playlists from the restaurants in case consumers miss the music.
Although virtual backgrounds can make a Zoom video chat less boring, they also serve as a marketing tool for restaurants trying to stay afloat during these uncertain times. They are an easy way to remind customers of the atmosphere they are missing at home and entice them to return once the outbreak is over.
However, marketing efforts like this may not be enough when you consider the results of a recent James Beard Foundation survey that included 1,400 restaurant owners across the country and showed 500,000 independent restaurants that employ 11 million people might be in danger of shutting down.
“The survey further indicated that as of April 13 restaurant owners reported laying off 91% of their hourly workforce and nearly 70% of their salaried employees, and that without important fixes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) independent restaurants won’t be able to reopen, putting at risk an important $1 trillion driver of the economy or 4% of the nation’s GDP,” the James Beard Foundation explained.
The survey results revealed that many restaurants are struggling despite the surge in delivery and takeout orders because two-thirds are not sure if they can sustain their businesses long-term with these options before it is safe to reopen. More than 77% of the survey participants reported a 50% reduction in sales. Delivery and takeout are not enough to help restaurants overcome the loss of dine-in income.
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