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Play of the Week #9

Play of the Week #9

By Alexander Wray

Downtown London’s Courtesy Delivery & Pickup Zones 

The COVID-19 pandemic has led many restaurants in Ontario to adopt curbside takeout and delivery models. These models rely on having sufficient sidewalk space to have an outdoor counter or takeout window for service, and nearby short-term parking for delivery drivers and customers. Restaurants located in core areas along main streets are uniquely challenged given that many do not have their own dedicated parking lots, or short-term spaces in front of their locations. Parking fees in nearby lots and streets also adds costs that may deter delivery drivers and consumers, with the minimum spend to park in any municipal lot on on-street space often equating to more than 30 minutes of parking time. This situation has led to illegal parking on main streets in bike lanes and sidewalks, tickets being issued to underpaid delivery drivers, and consumers choosing restaurants outside of the core area with free parking options. In response, the City of London has implemented “Courtesy Delivery & Pickup Zones” in Downtown London in proximity to clusters of restaurants. These zones are typically spaces previously reserved for loading or paid parking. Any vehicle is provided with 10-20 minutes of free parking in these spaces to make deliveries and/or pickup orders. These spaces are also located on side streets instead of along the busier main streets of Dundas Place and Richmond Street. This placement should avoid disrupting those businesses that are reliant on takeout and delivery, while also supporting a high-quality streetscape that can be opened to people and patios in the summer months!  

Interview insights…

“I think it [third-party delivery services] plays a very important role because not a lot of restaurants are able to hire staff just for the sole purpose of delivery.” – Third-Party Delivery Driver, London ON 

Interview insights…

Interview insights…

“You get higher rates in downtown that forces chains and restaurants to go to the suburbs. You are punishing the locally owned businesses that are here. You get free parking in the suburbs, but not here. How about you build some parking lots downtown that are free.” – Business Owner, London ON  

“So in trying to offer up the opportunity for patios, we also have this really big push towards curbside pickup and quick drop off. It really starts competing for the right of way and for the parking spaces that we do have in our streets. We’ve been trying to address it in certain areas where that has come up as a desire from the businesses. But certainly, the downtown is really kind of the key destination for a lot of restaurants, especially local. So we try to support them as best we can to keep local businesses here.” – Planner at City of London, London ON  


Make your voice heard at https://gofresher.theheal.ca, and stay tuned in to the conversation through our social media pages (@FRESHER_Canada) and website at https://fresher.theheal.ca.

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Play of the Week #8

Play of the Week #8

By Alexander Morgenthaler

Connectedness in the Contactless 

As COVID-19 continues to impact the food retail and services industry many businesses have been exhibiting ingenuity to overcome challenges.  For example, a home-based health food/supplement retailer in Kitchener, Ontario responded to the loss of trade shows by implementing a contactless online ordering system to sell and promote her products. But this updated system still lacked connectedness between the business and the customers. To improve connectedness, orders were placed in a porch cooler as an ingenious twist on curb-side pickup. When the customer arrives to collect the order, there is a chance for employees of the businesses to interact with customers through a closed door, allowing for greater connectedness than COVID-19 restrictions would normally allow. This contactless cooler system created an avenue to connect with customers without creating a new risk of spreading COVID-19, thereby allowing customers to identify with the business and form a stronger connection with the product. These changes are just some of the various innovative solutions and options that are available to businesses to engage with customers and help build resiliency in the local economy. 

Interview insights…

“…Normally I would have several shows lined up throughout the year…. where I would be meeting people and having an opportunity to educate them about the product and sample the product. There was an in person show that I did where there was a limited number of tables, a limited number of people that could be in the building,… it completely changed the way that I sampled. I had prepackaged samples that people could choose to try … it certainly was not the same dynamic.” – Health food business owner

Interview insights…

“Our restaurants are now all done with QR codes with our menus and with people’s phones. From the beginning, we had to figure out what technology was available to us. I guess the big thing was finding the compromise and balance because much of what hospitality is are those special touches, those one offs that set you apart.” – Hospitality Group in Essex County 

Resources

Connect with your local BIA: https://obiaa.com/members 

QR Codes as a Contactless Interaction: https://www.forbes.com/sites/suzannerowankelleher/2020/06/16/why-qr-codes-are-popping-up-everywhere-during-the-pandemic/?sh=2b3cb540c14d  


Make your voice heard at https://gofresher.theheal.ca, and stay tuned in to the conversation through our social media pages (@FRESHER_Canada) and website at https://fresher.theheal.ca.