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Although it will be years before we fully comprehend the economic impact of COVID-19, one thing is clear: many small businesses across the country are facing an existential threat. According to Statistics Canada, small businesses employ 8.4 million Canadians; that’s almost 70 per cent of the private labour force and accounts for 41 per cent of the nation’s GDP.


Canadian small business owners have seen COVID-19 impact their operations and many are concerned about the viability of their businesses over the next year. Currently, there is an opportunity for global companies to help alleviate some of the damage done by the COVID-19 crisis by aligning with small businesses in a ‘Think Global, Act Local’ approach.


OpenTable, the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations employed a ‘Think Global, Act Local’ approach in support of the restaurant industry by rolling out two new initiatives: an enhanced restaurant management platform and price cuts for 2020 to help restaurants reopen and adhere to new business realities.


OpenTable’s enhancements to the platform offers support to restaurants so they can adhere to social distancing guidelines while providing updated health and safety information to diners for when it is safe to eat out again.


These advanced features are now paired with discounted pricing to reduce the reopening costs of its customers and to encourage new restaurants to join OpenTable. Since May, restaurants that sign up for their “Open Door” pricing program enjoy: no OpenTable subscription fees through the end of 2020, no cover fees through September 30, 2020 and a 50% discount on cover fees through 2020. OpenTable’s standard subscription and cover pricing will resume only in January 2021.


Recently, American Express Canada announced the launch of Shop Small, a national campaign to support small businesses as they strive to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. It includes national advertising with a message for Canadians to get behind their local small businesses and help revive local communities and is backed by a largest-ever Canadian Shop Small Cardmember offer to drive spending at local businesses. Eligible Cardmembers can earn $5 back in statement credits when they spend at least $10 at up to 10 different qualifying small businesses.


Additionally, American Express is making it easier for Canadians to locate local businesses that are open for in-store or online purchases with an updated Shop Small Map. The company is also providing small businesses with a suite of marketing tools and resources to help them attract new and existing customers and assist with reopening.  


Despite the unprecedented impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the Canadian economy, global companies, like OpenTable and American Express can make a big difference in the viability of small businesses. Global companies should understand just how much small businesses have influenced their success, and in turn, how their success can influence small businesses for the better.


Sherline Joe
Senior Account Director

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