Our merchants: Shunfa Bakery, New Win, Wing Hing Seafood Restaurant, Melonpanna Tea & Shot, Go Noodle Nine Moon, 46 Mott
Once a bustling location known for its delicious food, fresh produce, and affordable knickknacks – NYC’s Chinatown now stands completely barren. Although many businesses have been affected by the recent COVID-19 outbreak, Chinatown has had it the worst. Chinatown faced declines in business due to discrimination and racism weeks before other restaurants felt similar effects of COVID-19 on sales.
However, together we can help.
They were there for you on weeknights after work when you desperately sought your favorite Asian dish or the weekends where you and your friends sat around a dim sum table. To all the tourists and locals alike who have visited NYC’s Chinatown and were mesmerized by its ambiance and enjoyed its services, please lend a hand. Be there for your Chinatown.
Who are we and how will your donation help us?
Send Chinatown Love is a collective of people who care deeply for Chinatown and its restaurants. Our goal is to identify restaurants who are suffering from the impacts of COVID-19 and help them raise money to sustain themselves until the effects of the virus pass over.
We want to give merchants with no online presence, an online presence.
We plan to build webpages for each of these restaurants to take donations and sell gift cards. 100% of all donations and gift cards sold will go to each restaurant. This way they have a steady cash flow to meet basic needs while their businesses are closed.
Who are we fighting for and how we will help:
Currently, there are a plethora of initiatives that collect merchant websites, encouraging people to buy gift cards, order delivery, or donate. However, merchants who don't already have online stores or don't offer delivery are neglected, and unfortunately most of those under-served merchants are Chinatown owners. This is because they typically:
• Immigrants who don't speak or read English fluently.
• Run a cash-only establishment and therefore can't sell their food via food delivery apps or sell gift cards online.
• May not be tech-savvy, aware of the digital resources that exist, or know how to set up a digital platform of their own
We plan to bring Chinatown online during its mandated closures.
• We have a team of fluent Chinese speakers to understand each restaurant’s distinct needs.
• We will work with each business to build them a website. This way they can take donations and sell gift cards, and we can teach each merchant how to honor the gift cards.
• We will handle all social media marketing and SEO to make sure that their websites are discoverable and plugged into existing directories.
Why not just set up a GoFundMe for each restaurant?
We’ve taken some time to interview Asian restaurant owners in the NYC area. Although some were willing to take donations, a majority of them do not want to accept donations. One of our interviewed merchants explained:
“We are Chinese, and Chinese people are built to weather these types of things. We are making ends meet for now. I’d rather money from donations go to people who need it more than us… However, we’d be happy to sell digital gift cards to help our business stay afloat if that's an option.”
Furthermore, through an online poll we conducted, 60% of our participants said that they would rather buy a gift card to support their favorite restaurant as opposed to give a donation. One of our participants stated, “Gift cards give them (the restaurant) the money now, the promise of a figure customer, and the likelihood that the customer will spend more than what’s on the card or even become a repeat customer.”
Where your money will go:
1. Cover the costs associated with the building and hosting of each restaurant website. We are a group of volunteers and are not paying ourselves to build this. This is just to cover costs like hosting and web traffic, direct deposit for merchant payout, domain registration, etc.
2. Help cover credit card processing fees for the merchant. Most merchants are cash-only and aren't used to having to pay the 2.2% to 3.5% fees associated with accepting credit cards. Since we're processing the payments for them, we will use this money to help cover the processing fees so they see most or all of the money donated/sold via gift cards. We aren't taking any cut of money given to the merchant.
3. Provide educational marketing to bring awareness to each businesses. We plan to post merchant stories on our Instagram, and run small marketing campaigns for them.
Email: [email redacted]
If you or someone you know owns a restaurant that is in need of help, please do not hesitate to reach out to us!