In addition to the historical systemic barriers, the global pandemic has disproportionately impacted millions of marginalized culinary businesses, especially those that are Black-owned in the U.S. According to the Restaurant Business analysis, only 130 Black-owned businesses received larger PPP loans in 2020. The lack of loans is due in part to the lack of Black business ownership overall. Only 7% of U.S. businesses before the coronavirus pandemic were Black-owned, according to data from a University of California, Santa Cruz study in June 2020.
In 2020, Feed the Soul Foundation received hundreds of applications – of which 94% were Black-owned – for their Restaurant Business Development Fund from marginalized businesses. When asked to rank their area of need based on the program’s offered, these entities are interested in business expansion, standard operating procedures, menu consultation, and assistance with advertising and marketing. With the support from Grubhub, Feed the Soul Foundation will be able to expand the number of businesses in their unit and create additional programs to assist culinary businesses.
“Two out of three minority businesses are concerned about the impending possibility of business closure due to the effects of COVID,” says Dr. Asheli S. Atkins, Executive Director of Feed the Soul Foundation. “One of our top priorities was to create the Restaurant Business Development Fund because it is designed to aid minority businesses and prevent closures.”
Feed the Soul Foundation will use the diner donations to support the following initiatives:
- Multiple $10K grants will go to restaurant owners for business development, such as menu consultation, operations or marketing initiatives.
- Restaurant emergency funds to support restaurants in the event of an unexpected emergency such as flooding or a break-in. Feed the Soul Foundation will help provide resources to help restaurants re-open and get back on their feet.
- Scholarships to marginalized hospitality management college students, creating a pathway to help grow the next generation of restaurant entrepreneurs.
“We are committed to both uplifting and celebrating Black-owned restaurants every day,” said Jessica Burns, Vice President, Brand Marketing and Creative at Grubhub. “Feed the Soul Foundation has made an inspiring impact in helping this culinary community grow and we’re honored to help support their important mission with the help of our diners.”
During February, all proceeds from Grubhub’s Donate the Change program benefit the Feed Soul Foundation. Grubhub’s Donate the Change feature allows diners who opt-in to round up their change on their orders. Grubhub also matches Donate the Change contributions by Grubhub+ members on eligible Grubhub+ orders. Feed the Soul Foundation will also be Grubhub’s donation partner for Sound Bites, a virtual concert series featuring performances by Anderson .Paak and The Soul Rebels, with special guests Big Freedia, Trombone Shorty and Tarriona “Tank” Ball. During the live concert, fans tuning in will be encouraged to comment during the live stream, and Grubhub will donate $5 for every comment (up to $100K) to Feed the Soul Foundation. Sound Bites will take place on Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. ET on the Grubhub YouTube channel.
For more information about Feed the Soul Foundation, please visit feedthesoulfou.org.
About Feed the Soul Foundation
Black Restaurant Week, LLC established the Feed the Soul Foundation to aid marginalized entrepreneurs in the culinary industry with business development resources and support in order to foster sustainable business growth. The Feed the Soul Foundation classifies marginalized business owners as people of color, LGBTQIA+, senior citizens, military combat veterans, hearing, visually, and physically challenged persons, and formerly incarcerated individuals. The goal of the Restaurant Business Development Fund is equip marginalized business owners with business development training and consultation services to improve business operations, increase access to business resources including programming, funding and technology, support the growth and expansion of marginalized entrepreneurs culinary businesses to create economically sustainable communities and invest in workforce training to employees of culinary businesses with marginalized owners.
Grubhub is a leading online and mobile food-ordering and delivery marketplace with the largest and most comprehensive network of restaurant partners, as well as nearly 30 million active diners. Dedicated to connecting diners with the food they love from their favorite local restaurants, Grubhub elevates food ordering through innovative restaurant technology, easy-to-use platforms and an improved delivery experience. Grubhub features over 300,000 restaurants and is proud to partner with approximately 245,000 of these restaurants in over 4,000 U.S. cities. The Grubhub portfolio of brands includes Grubhub, Seamless, LevelUp, AllMenus and MenuPages.