Back when stay-at-home orders were officially put into place, restauranteur and television personality Guy Fieri immediately saw what struggles lay ahead for the restaurant industry.
TMZ reports the host of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives has raised over $20 million in partnership with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation to aid restaurant workers who have been affected by the pandemic.
“When I started thinking about my brothers and sisters in the restaurant business and a bunch of the restaurants that I was closing, I was thinking how we gotta do something,” Fieri said on TMZ Live last Thursday.
Without dine-in customers, servers relying on tips for the bulk of their income are completely out of work. And if a restaurant is fortunate enough to remain open, sustaining itself on takeout orders only, it’s because kitchen staff has been cut way back.
Knowing this, the Mayor of Flavortown saw exactly where to focus his efforts.
Relying on the National Restaurant Association’s infrastructure for collecting and distributing funds, Fieri got in touch with “all the heavy hitter CEO’s that are involved in the restaurant business” to solicit donations for their Restaurant Employee Relief Fund launched in March.
In just two months, the initiative has approved 40,000 $500 grants for restaurant workers all over the country.
How else can we help the restaurant industry right now?
Although staff has likely been cut, restaurant owners still need money to pay rent, utilities, and insurance. Fieri says to support your local ‘mom and pop’ establishments now, so they’ll be able to survive until the economy reopens.
“They need your take out, they need your delivery, they’re available, please go give them some business.”
Fieri fears that larger establishments with specially trained staff and more moving parts may have a harder time bouncing back after the pandemic, but he remains optimistic:
“I think people are going to be fired up, gung ho and ready to get out there and visit their restaurants a lot more than they were prior to the pandemic,” he said.
The Mayor of Flavortown says as long as the cash is coming in, he will keep getting grant money to restaurant workers.
To donate to Fieri’s Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, or to apply for a grant, visit their website.