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“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” - Charles Darwin
More than often, we don’t realize to the full extent how change affects us until we have been deprived of the things we cherish most. The scale and intensity of the COVID-19 pandemic are widespread and has affected us personally and collectively. In many ways, this pandemic has revealed the shocking levels of connectedness and interdependency we humans share.
Some of those moments we share - such as grabbing a coffee from our favourite cafe, or sitting down for dinner with an old friend after a long day at work, are disrupted. This pandemic has hit the restaurant industry... hard. What this has also revealed is the fragility and dependency of restaurants on their customers, their suppliers, their partners - and ultimately, their communities. Within less than one month of the pandemic lockdown, 1 out of 10 restaurants had already closed their doors permanently. Many say the industry will never be the same, and there is lingering uncertainty with the current restrictions and contemplation of what restaurants of the future will look like. How will restaurants remain resilient?
We introduce you to Restronauts: a loyalty-based program where people can invest in the places they love to eat, dine and drink, while encouraging retrofitting of restaurants to improve sustainability. Through community-driven crowdfunding, Restronauts presents an opportunity to rethink the roles and interactions between restaurants and customers through a new, sustainable lens that:
Provides an additional revenue stream for businesses to support the maintenance of jobs and operation conditions, backed by loyal customers, who become patrons through their membership and investments;
Ensures restaurants adherence to higher standards and guidelines which support sustainability, health and safety; and
Rewards loyal customers with complementary services while strengthening community engagement.
Through Restronauts, members can subscribe to monthly contributions to their favourite local eats and gain rewards and benefits while doing it. Through the program, Restronauts ensures a more socially and environmentally responsible business approach with a set of criteria designed to promote and support cleanliness, healthy eating, waste reduction and the forging of local partnerships within the restaurant industry.
As a crowd-funded platform, the Restronauts app will connect members to a centralized online hub that includes information about each restaurant, including health, environmental and social ratings. A restaurant will remain part of the program if it maintains a high rating, which is based on a set of criteria such as clean washrooms, excess food donations, and eco-friendly packaging. A restaurant then relies on Restronauts members to update these ratings - reporting when they are doing well or perhaps falling short.
Through a systems design approach, Restronauts proposes a restorative business model solution to the restaurant industry amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, in which the community act as change-makers rather than merely consumers.
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