Here are a few tips to help you avoid getting food-fished.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw a huge culture shift in the everyday lives of people around the world. Working from home became the “new normal,” sitting at home watching TV felt "healthy,” while eating out became a luxury.

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One industry that saw a tremendous boost while others got stuck in the mud was the food delivery service. With people ordered to stay home in the spring of 2020, the foodies started scrolling through their phones to fulfill their appetites.

Photo by Jarritos Mexican Soda on Unsplash
Photo by Jarritos Mexican Soda on Unsplash

As communities tried to rally around each other and keep their favorite local businesses afloat, apps like DoorDash became the go-to for late night movie pizzas, lunch at home offices, and meals that mothers and fathers didn’t have to cook.

Big chain restaurants struggled in 2020.

One industry that took the biggest hit over the past two years was the food industry. Restaurants and joints that relied on in-person dining were forced to recalibrate and re-evaluate their business models. Big chain restaurants were not immune to the hardships faced by their locally-owned counterparts.

More and more chains ran virtual restaurants on DoorDash.

Food delivery apps provided assistance to locally-owned restaurants and carts, providing them with orders that they only needed to hand off to delivery drivers, allowing local businesses to stay mostly open. With more and more people looking to those apps to offer their support for local eateries, big chain restaurants seized their opportunity.

Photo by Christopher Williams on Unsplash
Photo by Christopher Williams on Unsplash

Restaurants like Red Robin opened up “virtual brands” like Chicken Sammy’s, Fresh Set, the Wing Dept., and Donatos Pizza. Applebees launched Cosmic Wings while Buffalo Wild Wings unveiled Wild Burger. Tender Shack is just an outlet for Outback Steakhouse to sell chicken. Companies began to create virtual brands that could be leased out, such as MrBeast Burger.

How can you make sure your order is going to a local restaurant?

The best way to make sure your dollars are staying local is to Google any restaurant you don’t recognize. There are plenty of local gems that you’ll discover every day, but a quick search engine inquiry will help you differentiate the mom & pops from chains “doing business as” different brands. Many times you can find articles announcing when a chain filed a trademark for a new virtual brand, or an outside view from Google Maps will show you the restaurant’s true location.

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