Mini Stories: Buying Meal Vouchers to Help Support Neighborhood Cafes and Restaurants

eBay News Team

During these challenging and extraordinary times, U.K. seller Mark Brown is encouraging local restaurants and cafes to offer vouchers for a meal to enjoy later down the line.

Editor’s note: During this unprecedented time, we’re highlighting the individual acts of kindness from our global seller community. Now through May, we’ll share a story about one of our sellers on how they’re paying it forward in our weekly Mini Stories column. 

Like countless small businesses and restaurants across the world, brick-and-mortar stores in Worsley, England are being forced to shut down. Hoping to help neighborhood businesses relieve cash pressure during lockdown, U.K. seller Mark Brown took to social media to help promote local restaurants and cafes offering vouchers for a meal to enjoy later down the line.

By offering gift certificates, small businesses are able to provide customers the option to pay upfront for a coffee or meal in the future, helping the business survive the ongoing pandemic.

To get the word out, Mark turned to Twitter to encourage his friends and followers to insert a ticket emoji on their social media handles. In doing so, participating businesses show the public that they are open and offering gift certificates to redeem at a later time. 

“It was really nice seeing bars and restaurants using this simple idea and profiting from it,” said Mark. “We're really seeing a full circle of support at the moment, with many people putting their arms (virtually) around others.”

Since 2005, Mark’s store Editors Keys has been selling editing and recording equipment to major companies, including the BBC and ITV, and to some of the biggest YouTube stars and recording studios like Abbey Road. The store also offers a collection of back-lit keyboards, shortcut keyboard covers and USB microphones.

In addition to the website and eBay store, Mark leads the Editors Keys YouTube channel, where he teaches followers about video editing and audio production. In doing so, he was recognized with an eBay for Business Innovation Award, celebrating his creativity and entrepreneurship in turning an initial £100 investment into a multi-channel business.

Now with more time on his hands, Mark’s video content is expanding from everyday tutorials to helping entrepreneurs manage their businesses from home.

“Do what you can to speak to friends and families, help fellow businesses and just learn new skills online,” said Mark. “There’s light at the end of this tunnel.”

Since 1995, our purpose has been clear: to empower people and create economic opportunity. We’re committed to helping our sellers during this difficult time. 

For more eBay news and updates related to the coronavirus outbreak, please visit our seller community center. For information on government support for small businesses in the U.S. and abroad, visit eBay’s Government Relations site at