Restaurants Across the Country Are Turning Into Grocery Stores and Selling Food Supplies to Customers

As a person with internet access, you’re no doubt aware that the past two weeks have been very difficult for restaurants across the country. Shelter in place and lockdown provisions have forced many to switch to a takeout and delivery-only model in the hopes of just barely scraping by— to say nothing of the inevitable layoffs and closures that have already happened and will surely continue.

Amid distressing photos of empty grocery store shelves, some restaurants have decided that their best course of action is to function as makeshift markets. This lets consumers buy food and supplies sent by a restaurant’s distributors that would otherwise sit in the back of the house.

One notable example is LA-based Dog Haus Worldwide, which has temporarily rebranded itself as “Haus Market,” letting fans buy up the raw materials the chain uses to make their hot dogs and other foods at home. They were able to quickly adapt their point of sale system and packaging to start selling foods to customers for pickup or delivery. In addition to cutting down on food waste, it’s a win-win for restaurants in need of a lifeline and shoppers searching for products.

“Haus Market is for both our customers and our business,” Dog Haus Worldwide co-owner Andre Vener told Forbes. “Grocery stores are being decimated, but restaurants and their distributors are sitting on so much product that it would be a shame to not find a way to still feed our guests.”

Restaurants across the country are following suit, providing a different shopping outlet to make life easier for vulnerable members of their community. “[This] Helps tremendously because I’m a chemo patient so I can’t be at the HEB waiting in line,” Amanda Arredondo tol Corpus Christi, Texas’ NBC affiliate KRIS6.

For restaurant suppliers who can’t simply switch gears and sell to grocery stores and establishments who want to help keep their employees working, these efforts represent the best attempt at helping everyone get by amid uncertain times. “We’re here to serve the local community and quite frankly, we’re trying to keep our employees employed,” Patrick O’Boyle, a franchise owner of Corpus Christi-based Jason’s Deli, told KRIS6.

So if you want to do your shopping in a way that supports a small business, check around to see if local restaurants in their area are selling bulk grocery-type items for take out or even delivery. It’s just another way you can help a restaurant and its workers at a critical time—and the fact that you won’t have to fight anyone over the last carton of eggs makes it even better.