How to help your favourite French bistros survive the coronavirus crisis

How to help your favourite French bistros survive the coronavirus crisis
France's cafés, restaurants and bistrots have suffered huge financial losses since the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown in mid March. Photo: AFP
Bistros, restaurants and bars in France have been hard hit by the nationwide coronavirus lockdown. To help them, you can pay now and consume later.

Customers worried about the future of their favourite bistro, café or restaurant can help them survive the economic downturn caused by the lockdown restrictions by paying for a future dinner in advance.

To help owners maintain a level of cash flow while staying closed – and to give those locked in something to look forward to in the coming months – several online initiatives have launched platforms where people can pay for later visits straight away.

Platforms such as J’aime Mon Bistrot, Bar Solidaire or Sauve ton resto (save your restaurant) all allow for people to make donations or buy vouchers for future meals or drinks.

France issued a strict, nationwide lockdown starting on May 17th. The country's cafés, bars and restaurants had already been ordered shut a couple of days earlier along with cinemas, museums and concert halls in order to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

Only 5 percent of the French restaurant sector has been able to keep business running during the lockdown by limiting their services to delivery and takeaway.

Café and bistrot owners across France recently sounded the alarm saying that up to 40 percent of them may never reopen even after the lockdown is lifted.

The French government will begin to ease national lockdown restrictions on May 11th, but has said that bistros, bars, restaurants and cafés will have to keep closed at least until the early summer.

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France is a country known to be fond of its food and drink establishments, and many are missing having meals out together with friends or family. Photo: AFP

For many business owners, that has sounded a death knell, especially for those already badly hit by transport strikes in December that caused their number of visitors to plunge.

Any establishment can sign up for these online initiatives.

Bar Solidaire – supported by several beer brands – offers beer vouchers of equal value to the customer's order on top. 

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