Montreal's neighbourhoods, known for their hustling vibrancy, continue to look very different from what we're used to.
Restaurants and bars, where we once gathered to escape the daily grind, celebrate a special occasion or enjoy good company, are — at least for the time being — not an option.
Businesses have had to pivot, not only out of desperation to stay afloat in uncertain times, but also to better serve their communities and customers during the COVID-19 crisis. But while times are challenging and the future is uncertain, it's encouraging to see brands lend a helping hand.
TurboTax Canada, for example, launched its Little Lifts campaign this year — an initiative that gives back to local businesses and communities that could use a little lift after an extremely taxing 2020.
One such business is Montreal's Singaporean street food destination, Satay Brothers. Speaking to Narcity about the impact COVID-19 has had on the restaurant, co-founder Alex Winnicki said finding ways to generate revenue and retain staff has been hard.
From adjusting the menu to make it more take-out friendly and adding merchandise, to opening seven days a week to provide staff with more shifts, Satay Brothers has had to think creatively about how to keep their doors open. One thing is for sure, it’s not been without help.
In partnership with TurboTax Canada, Satay Brothers has been able to provide a little lift to the Montreal community by developing meal kits of their delicious Singaporean street food. Fifty of these kits were then gifted to Montreal's frontline workers as a thank you for all their effort this past year.
TurboTax Canada also partnered with Satay Brothers to host a cook-along on Instagram live, where they prepared their meal kit alongside their loyal community in real time.
For Alex, supporting the community like this is what being in hospitality is all about. The best part of his job is meeting and interacting with people — something Satay Brothers and other local businesses have been without for nearly 13 months.
"Restaurateurs are your friends and neighbours, the backbone of your community," he told Narcity.
"Having customers come in to pick up food and chatting even for a couple minutes has helped our mental states more than people know," he said.
Customers have also missed the sense of community and kindness that comes from enjoying bars and restaurants in person, and are showing their support in all sorts of ways.
Where possible, customers are ordering takeout directly from restaurants instead of delivery apps, which helps restaurants make a bigger cut of revenue from each order. People are tipping more too, or purchasing merchandise and gift certificates.
Business owners like Alex say these are the best things customers can do right now to help support the local businesses that make our neighbourhoods feel like home.
It's been a taxing year, and these little lifts can have a big impact. And it's not only restaurants that can benefit from them.
Worrying about filing your taxes correctly can feel like just one more burden on top of an already difficult year. Thankfully, TurboTax can ensure taxes are filed correctly and confidently to maximize returns. And if you're your own boss, TurboTax can help with its Self-Employed products.
Navigating your way through all of the eligible tax credits and deducations can be a painful process if you're doing it on your own. That's why tax services like TurboTax make such a difference — especially if you're self-employed — in helping you find every last deduction and getting the best return.
Business owners and customers alike have felt the pressure of the last year, and no matter what you’re going through we can all appreciate a little lift right now.