How Sydney restaurants are adapting during the COVID-19 crisis

Chargrill Charlie's is scrapping its eat-in business.
Chargrill Charlie's is scrapping its eat-in business. Photo: Supplied

News out of the Big Apple that restaurants and cafes in the city have been ordered to close their dining rooms from Tuesday is heartbreaking for the industry but also offers a glimmer of hope for how small food businesses – in the US and here in Australia – can survive the current health scare.

New York City restaurants will still be able to provide delivery and takeaway services, a tactic canny Sydney restaurant are already tapping.

A call out from Good Food has discovered a spike in sales at local eateries already offering ready-made meals – Barbetta in Paddington, for example, has had to increase production to keep up with demand.

Restaurants including Sydney CBD food and wine haunt Fix are now offering takeaway versions of its dishes, where possible.

The tiny, acclaimed Farmhouse restaurant at Potts Point has introduced $15-$20 takeaway options of its dishes, available at the restaurant and its two spin-off cafes (Jeremy and Sons on Bayswater Road and on Macleay Street).

"This is an attempt to keep everyone employed during the period without having to force closures, and to provide suitable food options for people," a Farmhouse spokesman says. Bravo to that.

Even Sydney chicken shop Chargrill Charlie's is adapting, scrapping its eat-in trade and all cash transactions. It is also closing between 2.30pm and 4pm daily for sanitisation.

The crew at GROW Assembly, a not-for-profit national education and inspiration platform for hospitality professionals, are paying it forward. They have bought vouchers from 10 restaurants across the country, which they'll auction to raise money, using the profits to buy more gift vouchers at other restaurants.

Make a bid, or buy a gift voucher at your favourite eatery to use down the track. It'd certainly help with restaurant cash flow during these difficult times.