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In addition to our normal news coverage, What Now Atlanta is tracking ways Atlanta’s businesses are adapting to the novel coronavirus and the challenges it brings to brick-and-mortars.
In a stay-at-home world, Atlanta’s hometown restaurant delivery service Zifty is thriving more than ever and is paying it forward.
Co-Owner Jenn Pete’ sounded like the entrepreneur had just run a marathon while on a telephone interview with What Now Atlanta Friday.
“It feels like we’re on Vegas time,” a busier-than-ever Pete’ said while trying to catch a breath.
Zifty over the past few weeks has seen a huge uptick in restaurant sign-ups on its ordering and delivery platform, and a spike in deliveries.
“There’s been an influx of new restaurants using our platform including some that had previously been completely against delivery, so we’ve definitely gotten busier.”
And there’s no rhyme or reason to when Atlantans are ordering-in either, according to Pete’, and all the patterns including spikes during lunch and dinner windows, are out the door.
There is one common thread, however.
People seem to be ordering more comfort-type items, with cigarettes, ice cream, and ramen being the top three most-delivered items since the onset of the pandemic, according to data from Zifty.
“Ordering-in seems to be the newest expression of being extravagant since you can’t travel or visit your favorite restaurant right now,” Pete’ said.
“We are currently sold out of cigarettes which never happens.”
There also seems to be a trend of shopping locally, according to Pete’.
“People are paying attention to going local more than ever. It’s nice to see Atlantans supporting each other.”
And while Pete’ and the Zity team have always been advocates for the community, now more than ever, the company is using its best-in-class logistics software and know-how to keep Atlanta fed.
For example, Zifty has partnered with the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) to deliver meals to underserved communities that aren’t able to visit the system’s five food pick-up locations.
“Our drivers go to APS’ designated food pick-up zones, pack the meals, and deliver them to satellite locations throughout the City to reach underserved communities including the homeless and Atlantans who don’t speak English as their primary language.”
On the weekend for Meals on Wheels’ Super Saturdays, Zifty has used its tools and human resources to help deliver more than 1,000 meals for seniors in need.
#ATLFamilyMeal, a charitable endeavor from Atlanta restaurateur Michael Lennox that sends free meals to the homes of food service workers, has also tapped Zifty to coordinate deliveries, channeling order’s through the company’s software by the way of an API (Application programming interface).
Lastly, Zifty has created a restaurant relief fund using monies collected by selling $5 shirts. All proceeds are divided up and sent to Zifty’s restaurant clients and given to employees as a replacement for vanishing tips.
“In the long-run, I think the stay-at-home orders are going to change buying behavior for the better,” Pete’ said.
“People are really starting to see the impact and suffering of neighborhood businesses. Our communities are going to come out of the other side of this thing stronger than ever.”
[Editor’s note: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is rapidly evolving as is its effect on Atlanta, and the City’s businesses and its residents. Click here for What Now Atlanta’s ongoing coverage of the crisis. For guidance and updates on the pandemic, please visit the C.D.C. website.]
[Disclosure: Zifty is a What Now Atlanta Preferred Partner.]