Return of regular customers is key to survival for small business

With the challenges faced by the restaurant and catering industry in 2020, support from customers, suppliers and the wider community continues to be integral in the continuation of trade during what has been a difficult period. 

Nilgiri’s Restaurant in Cremorne, Sydney is one such business who was heavily impacted when the pandemic begun, but owner Ajoy Joshi says that he has been invigorated by how the community is rallying to support them, and others like them, running a business.

“When COVID-19 began, our first major concern was whether we would be able to manage the cashflow to tide out the crisis which had no end in sight, but we were able to quickly pivot to a takeaway and delivery model,” said Joshi. 

“Fortunately, our regular customers supported us from the outset and we were inundated with orders. We would not have survived this crisis without the constant stream of encouraging messages and takeaway orders from our regulars who rallied behind us during this uncertain time.” 

Nilgiri’s is among a selection of small businesses from across the country to feature in this year’s Shop Small. Now in its eighth year in Australia, the movement, founded by American Express, celebrates the valuable contributions small businesses make and encourages shoppers to support them. 

American Express has committed more than $200 million globally over the next several months to help jumpstart spending at small businesses, many of which were impacted by COVID-19. 

Corrina Davison, Managing Director, American Express Australia, said, “Nilgiri’s is a shining example of the resilience and passion the Australian small business community has. We are delighted that through Shop Small, we can provide them, and other businesses like them, with a platform to share their story and hopefully inspire locals to rally around them.

To incentive shoppers to support small businesses, American Express has funded its largest Shop Small offer in the eight-year history of the movement in 2020.  The Shop Small Card Member offer gave eligible American Express Card Members up to $50 credit back on their American Express Card. 

Some other initiatives as part of Shop Small include: 

  • A Small Business Support Hub housed on offering support from well-known brands such eBay, and Redballoon to help small businesses get back on their feet, including offers for small businesses   
  • American Express Idea Exchange virtual masterclasses led by some of Australia’s most accomplished experts and entrepreneurs; giving small business owners the knowhow to drive their businesses forward
  • An “Open for Business” map housed on, helping shoppers identify which businesses are trading. 

“It’s been wonderful to see big businesses like Amex supporting the small business community,” said Joshi.

To learn more about Shop Small visit