March 2020 brought us all a unique and unforeseen challenge, when the COVID-19 pandemic came to the United States and Utah’s shelter-in-place order took effect, shuttering the doors for in-restaurant dining. One of our clients, a local restaurant group, needed to highlight their takeout options they were offering to customers, as takeout alone would need to support their business. Adding online ordering would be an expensive and time-consuming process and our client had to pivot fast, so helped them solve their problem a different way.
The initial iteration of Support Utah Dining was called Support Salt Lake Dining and featured a handful of our client’s restaurants. It was a quick and easy way for individuals to see who was offering takeout and provided online ordering links for those restaurants already setup. The website included a form that allowed other restaurants to request inclusion on the website. The site went viral after it was picked up by local news outlets and within less than 24 hours, there were 144 requests from all over the state and over 10,000 unique page visits.
The site quickly grew to include over 400 restaurants and as the website’s popularity quickly grew outside of just Salt Lake City, we changed the URL and messaging to be inclusive of requests from restaurants throughout the entire state. We incorporated an automated process that allowed us to keep up with the volume of submissions, added search functions and sorting features, and implemented a batch uploader on the backend.
The night we learned in-restaurant dining was going to shut down in Salt Lake I got a call from Redirect asking if we could include Cucina on their site for takeout. It was the small, thoughtful thing like this that kept us going through the pandemic.