Support from Grubhub Community Fund and Stella Artois increases funding and opens expansion for organization’s third year of supporting culinary businesses across the nation with resources to combat labor shortages and inflation challenges

 HOUSTON, Nov. 28, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — According to the Small-Business Labor Crisis Report by Ramsey Solutions, 42% of small business owners state they have experienced burnout in the past year and 56% small business owners express they feel alone in solving problems and making decisions when faced with current challenges within the culinary industry. In its third year of service, Feed the Soul Foundation, a national non-profit continues to provide financial relief and solutions for marginalized businesses that experienced the hardest constraints by the pandemic.

Through the support of Grubhub Community Fund, title sponsor, and Stella Artois*, Feed the Soul Foundation’s 2023 grant program will award 30 marginalized culinary business owners with $25,000.00 in business development and financial support. Restaurant owners continue to navigate an industry that runs on slim profit margins as well as facing challenges from inflation and labor shortages to rising minimum wages. The cohort program supports restaurant entrepreneurs financially and professionally through the Restaurant Business Development Grant Program.

 The foundation appointed Juana Collins as Executive Director of Feed the Soul Foundation, who amassed more than 30 years of nonprofit executive experience with various nonprofits including the American Heart Association and American Red Cross. “I am deeply committed to delivering Feed the Soul’s efforts in nourishing and empowering individuals through culinary education and entrepreneurship,” says Juana Collins. “I am inspired by this fast-growing, national organization’s drive and accomplishments. We will continue to make a profound difference in lives and legacies.”

 “Three years later, we hear that our services and support act as vital resources to preserve sustainability within these culinary businesses,” says Falayn Ferrell, Chairwoman of Feed the Soul Foundation and managing partner of Black Restaurant Week. “Numerous entrepreneurs are managing the complexities of their operational and financial hurdles in isolation, which is not a strategy for success. Our commitment remains unwavering in providing both financial backing and expert guidance to culinary businesses, while also nurturing the aspirations of emerging small business leaders looking to enter the food and beverage sector.”

Cohorts will work alongside subject matter experts and consultants during the six-month program that will further their growth and knowledge of the restaurant industry:

    • Financial Literacy Training and Financial Coaching
    • Advertising and Marketing Training
    • One-on-One Business Development Consultation from Industry Experts

“Our program has achieved an outstanding track record. More than 98% of businesses who received our financial and business development support are still operating and experienced growth within their operations,” states Ferrell. “When we compare these figures with the national restaurant success rate of 20%, it becomes evident why establishing a robust support network is absolutely crucial for the prosperity of small businesses.”

Since its inception in 2020, Feed The Soul Foundation has strived to create programs that would provide sustainability and growth to small culinary businesses. By the first half of 2023, the foundation celebrated the following milestones:

  • Invested $1,078,000 in financial and business development support to 59 marginalized culinary business across the nation
  • Emergency Relief Fund aided culinary businesses across the nation with $46,000 in emergency funds to assist with unforeseen damages and natural disasters
  • Developed internship program and distributed $59,000 in student stipends in addition to providing workforce training to 15 minority college students studying small business marketing, marketing research and public relations

 The awarded cohort includes the following businesses:

    • 7th & Grove (Tampa, FL)
    • Andes Café (Houston, TX)
    • AppleCore’s Bake Shoppe (Laurel, MD)
    • Buenos Dias Café & La Bodega at The Met (Atlanta, GA)
    • Cajou Creamery (Baltimore, MD)
    • Chocobar Cortes (New York, NY)
    • Claudy’s Kitchen (New York, NY)
    • Cranky Carrot (Houston, TX)
    • Da Bomb Brownies (Plano, TX)
    • Daniel & Company Coffee Shop, Food & Drinks (New York, NY)
    • Haire’s Gulf Shrimp (Chicago, IL)
    • Henderson and Kane (Houston, TX)
    • Houston, This Is It Soul Food (Houston, TX)
    • Ital Garden (New Orleans, LA)
    • IV Purpose Sports Bar & Grill (Brooklyn, NY)
    • M & R Café Southern Cuisine (Tampa, FL)
    • Mr. B’s Café (Tampa, FL)
    • Pepitos Paletas (San Francisco, CA)
    • Polombia (Chicago, IL)
    • Que Chevere (New York, NY)
    • Rubi’s (Chicago, IL)
    • Savvy Bistro & Bar (Brooklyn, NY)
    • Space City Birria Tacos & More (Houston, TX)
    • Stop Smackn (Washington D.C.)
    • Sweet Potato Café (Stone Mountain, GA)
    • Tacana’s Kitchen (Chicago, IL)
    • Taqueria Nixtamal (New York, NY)
    • The Empanada Lady (Baltimore, MD)
    • The Smoke HTX by Chef Reginald Scott (Houston, TX)
    • The Urban Oyster (Baltimore, MD)

Feed the Soul Foundation will open applications for the 2024 Restaurant Business Development Grant Program in October. In a bid to foster growth within the culinary community, the foundation has scheduled a Global Culinary Conference to take place in Houston, Texas on Monday, January 22 and Tuesday, Monday 23, 2024. For more information about Feed the Soul Foundation, please visit

*Due to alcohol beverage regulations, Stella Artois’ contribution to Feed the Soul’s grant program was excluded from grants to any holders of alcoholic beverage retail licenses.


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 to foster sustainable business growth. The goal of the Restaurant Business Development Fund supports marginalized business owners with business development scholarships and emergency funding.