The ongoing and ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected Metro Vancouver’s food-and-drink industry.
Before the City of Vancouver declared a state of emergency this afternoon (March 18) and ordered all restaurants to close, many local dining establishments—from mom-and-pop shops to restaurant groups to larger chain eateries—had already decided to close their doors indefinitely in efforts to slow the spread of the virus.
That means a lot of food around town will not be cooked or eaten. But many of these culinary businesses have already taken measures to limit food waste.
Chinatown’s Torafuku has temporarily closed, and owner Steve Kuan isn’t letting his restaurant’s food go into the trash.
“We have let our staff and employees take some food home, [because] grocery shopping is getting difficult at this time,” Kuan told the Straight in an email.
The rest of Torafuku’s inventory will be used to make dishes to be shared among his hospitality friends, and some ingredients will be used to create freezable meals that will be sent to those in need around the community.
Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood restaurant Dachi Vancouver (2287 East Hastings Street), will be selling its perishable food items by donation today at 4 p.m. All sales will go toward supporting its staff, and health and safety protocols will be posted to its social media accounts.
Some of the items that will go on sale include organic, farm-fresh produce, sauces, dairy, pastry and tart shells, desserts, and other fridge stockers.
West Coast-meets-Mexico eatery Tacofino has closed all of its food truck and brick-and-mortar establishments until March 31. The owners behind the mini-chain have allowed all staff members to take home existing food supplies from its kitchens in Vancouver and Victoria.
Tacofino hopes this measure will help alleviate immediate difficulties for staff looking to secure food and ingredients to make meals at home while on temporary leave.
Glowbal Group restaurants (Coast, Italian Kitchen, Trattoria, Black + Blue, the Roof, Glowbal, Nosh, and Five Sails) have temporarily suspended operations until further notice.
To avoid any unnecessary waste, its orders from suppliers have already been kept to a minimum due to the recent health situation. According to Glowbal Group’s director of marketing, Tracy So, items that can be frozen have been stored in the freezer, and perishable food items have been given to staff to support them during the pandemic.
All the lounges and dining establishments at Parq Vancouver (Honey Salt, the Victor, B.C. Kitchen, Mrkt East, D/6 Bar and Lounge, Centre Bar, Lotus Whiskey/Tea Lounge, Passione Gelato, and Le Doux Ciel) have temporarily closed until further notice.
The restaurants at Parq Vancouver will be donating perishable items to A Loving Spoonful, a volunteer-driven society that provides free and nutritious meals to people living with HIV and coexisting illnesses in Metro Vancouver and surrounding areas.
Toptable Group has temporarily closed all its restaurant locations in Vancouver, Whistler, and New York City. Alongside Canucks Sports & Entertainment and its parent company, the Aquilini Family, these organizations will be donating more than 900 kilograms of perishable food to members of the community in need through the Salvation Army and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB).
"As the situation surrounding COVID-19 has evolved, we at Toptable Group have had continuous dialogue with our team and the Aquilini family on how to help those most in need," Michael Doyle, president of Toptable Group, said in a media statement.
"With our restaurants temporarily closed, we hope that with this donation we can play a small part of alleviating the stress of when someone's next meal will come,” Doyle added. “We are very appreciative of the hard work of those in our community that are committed to looking out for their neighbours."
More than 1,000 individually packaged bagged lunches will be delivered to the Salvation Army, which will distribute them to those in need in East Vancouver. Additional food items will be donated to the GVFB for distribution.
Although many restaurants around the city have ceased operations indefinitely, there are still various local spots that offer takeout for pick-up and/or delivery through food delivery apps (Uber Eats, DoorDash, Skip the Dishes, Foodora, and Fantuan).
If you want to show your support for these locally run eateries, check out their social media accounts for more information on their takeout options.