How to Help: #savehospo

Published on 18 March 2020

Photo: Tipo 00's pipe rigate (credit: Danielle Castano)

The hospitality industry is facing unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19. But, as ever, it's doing its best to adapt, whether it be offering produce boxes, designing new take-away menus, making pasta for pick-up and more. Balancing public health and the future of our city’s small businesses is our focus right now at MFWF – and we encourage you to follow suit. Here’s how to get behind your favourite café, restaurant, coffee roaster, bar or other local business during these extraordinary times.

For the latest #savehospo initiatives, head to our Instagram Stories.

Buy a gift voucher – Many businesses need cashflow right now so they can keep paying their staff and their bills. Gift vouchers are a great way to help with this. Buy one for yourself and have something to look forward to in a few months’ time, buy one for your mum and leave it in her letterbox, whatever you do just make sure you buy. Head to your favourite restaurant’s website or give them a call to find out if they sell vouchers. Or dig a little deeper and participate in the voucher auction that Grow Assembly is running on its website, selling vouchers to the highest bidder then using the money to buy more vouchers from a different group of restaurants.

Pick up some pasta – With the unprecedented raid on dried pasta at major supermarkets, some of Melbourne’s finest pasta purveyors are coming to the rescue and selling fresh pasta made by their skilled chefs. You’ll never eat pasta this good at home again. Tipo 00, Lupo, Mister Bianco and several other restaurants are part of the movement, with food writer Dani Valent keeping a running list on her website of who’s offering what. Check it out.

Take it away – If you’ve ever wanted to enjoy Stalactites’ moussaka, Etta’s pommes Anna or Bar Lourinhã’s chickpeas with Netflix on in the background, your time has come. Dozens of Melbourne restaurants are adding special take-away menus to their regular offer, featuring dishes that will travel well. Some are delivering, but mostly it's a pick-up situation, so check each restaurant’s details before you order. See Dani Valent’s #savehospo Instagram highlight or our own Instagram Stories for the latest. Plus, plenty of cafes, bakeries and other venues that previously did both take-away and dine-in have switched to take-away only. Keep supporting them – a quick visit is a visit all the same.

Buy a cookbook - Local specialist Books for Cooks is still open for business. Its bricks and mortar store at Queen Victoria Market has strict social distancing rules in place and, for those of you shopping online, you can now find the store's entire range there. The team are shipping books daily and are offering free postage to select suburbs in Melbourne. Keep yourself busy and stock up on a book (perhaps from a Victorian chef) today.

Order online – Now more than ever is the time to indulge a little. After some beautiful cheese? Order a care pack online from Milk The Cow, Harper & Blohm (they’re also delivering books!) or another favourite cheesemonger. As you bunker down, wine (or beer, or spirits) will be needed. Order from your local independent bottle shop and while you’re at it, buy Victorian. Coffee beans, charcuterie, cocktails and even sandwich care packs from Earl Canteen are also available for delivery. If you’ve got a favourite providore, chances are they need your business right now and will deliver to you.

Get a box of vegetables – Keep local farmers in business by buying a box of fresh produce as close to the source as possible. Victorian Farmers’ Markets are continuing to run, as are our city's other fresh food markets: Queen Victoria, South Melbourne, Prahran, Preston and more. If you need to order online, try a local vegetable box service that uses produce grown in Victoria. Many traders at South Melbourne and Prahran markets are offering delivery at the moment. Plus Theodore’s, a small restaurant in Brunswick, has decided to shift its focus to creating boxes for pick-up featuring produce from the restaurant’s suppliers and other local businesses.

Buy some merch – Did you know that between Lune’s socks (or pins!), Leonardo’s T-shirts and St Ali’s caps, you could almost go head-to-toe in Melbourne restaurant merch? Attica and A1 Bakery also do tees, while Market Lane has some fine-looking and roomy totes. And that’s just the start. Rep your favourite local businesses and show them their community is there for them.

Hang on to your MFWF ticket – Yes, we’ve had to postpone our March program. We’re devastated, as are our many friends and partners who were working with us on events. The best thing you can do is hold on to your ticket and show the industry that they’ll have customers ready and waiting for them in spring 2020.