For those of us fortunate enough to be able to work from home, everyday life is complicated, difficult, and worrisome. However, we still get to mobile order our favorite pizza or Chinese food for dinner. We still get to stop by and grab coffee at a drive-through on the way home from picking up groceries. Those same restaurants we love are struggling right now, despite pick-up and to-go options, and likely won’t recover.
Jorge Rodriguez from Los Balcones del Peru, a long-time client of Opportunity Fund, spoke with us about how his small businesses and his community are greatly impacted by COVID-19.
There are many problems small businesses are facing as they scramble to adapt to new shelter-in-place and social distancing rules. Even the restaurants and cafes that are able to stay open with a skeleton crew to serve to-go orders, might not have a menu that can be delivered. This particular problem is one of many that Jorge faces with his Peruvian restaurant.
Restaurants that have the capability to serve take-out still contend with the shortage of to-go boxes. And if they didn’t already have a robust online ordering system, having to rush to set that up overnight costs time and money, is stressful, and might not even guarantee the business’ survival.
Small businesses in general are frugal and work on tight profit margins, but restaurants in particular are struggling. Many have only 15 days of cash on hand. Once their savings are gone and they close their doors, the costs of reopening after this pandemic passes will be insurmountable for many. Working in the restaurant business for over sixteen years, Jorge expects that 70% of restaurants may not come back.
All the take-out in the world is not going to make up for Jorge’s empty restaurant.
We implore you to support your favorite local businesses by ordering take-out and gift cards where possible, and by donating to Opportunity Fund’s Small Business Relief Fund.
For more information about how we are dedicated to helping small business owners like Jorge who are affected by COVID-19, click here.
Opportunity Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit small business lender, believes small dollar loans help hard-working entrepreneurs make lasting change in their own lives and build stronger communities by growing businesses and creating jobs. Opportunity Fund’s community of donors and investors is creating an inclusive financial system that empowers women, immigrant, and minority small business owners. Our strategy combines microloans for small business owners and New Markets Tax Credit investments in high-impact community infrastructure projects. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has deployed more than $750 million and helped thousands of entrepreneurs invest in their families’ futures. The organization has committed to lending an additional $1.2 billion to small business owners across the country and investing $174 million in community real estate projects by 2023.