New Yorkers are eagerly anticipating the snowstorm which is due to hit the city ANY MINUTE NOW with blizzard-like conditions, potentially leaving over a foot of snow in its wake. This could be the biggest snowstorm the city has seen in several years! Besides exhausted kids who will be denied a snow day, who couldn't love this? Oh right: the beleaguered restaurant industry.

The snowstorm is coinciding with the city halting all indoor dining because of the rising hospitalization rates, the latest blow to an industry that has struggled to adapt to changing state regulations. As it stands now, all outdoor dining is suspended in roadways and next to curbs until at least Thursday evening, but sidewalk dining is strongly discouraged as well (not that many people would likely want to participate in that to begin with). All of which is to say that local restaurants desperately need your business, so if you are inclined to order delivery tonight and tomorrow, keep some best practices in mind.

Delivery people need to traverse treacherous weather outside to get to you, and keep in mind that third party apps are not great for restaurants. Under the best of circumstances, we recommend tipping at least 20%; in past snowstorms we've recommended you add a few dollars on top of that. This year, we have a perfect storm of pandemic, COVID restrictions, economic desperation, and a blizzard. So here are our three simple rules:

  • If possible, tip 50%. (Don't be a jerk, even if it's a little late getting there.)
  • Try to tip in cash.
  • Try to order directly from the restaurant, instead of going through a delivery app service

In addition to the ongoing hurdles, and the current snowstorm, the latest stimulus talks have not included any hint of the RESTAURANTS Act or the HEROES Act (let alone any of the state that that we desperately need), which would create a $120 billion fund to aid small and locally-owned restaurants. Industry experts say that short-term fixes like PPP aren’t going to keep restaurants operating through a brutal winter of partial openings: “Giving businesses a loan for two and a half times their payroll that needs to be used for payroll, when you’re shut down and have few or no employees and have eight months of missed rent, is not going to help, it’s going to create more debt,” said NYC Hospitality Alliance head Andrew Rigie.