In an effort to aid restaurant workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation — the philanthropic arm of the National Restaurant Association — announced that it is launching the “Restaurant Relief America” campaign, in partnership with food TV personality Guy Fieri.
As of the kickoff on Friday, March 27, the Restaurant Employee Relief Foundation has raised $5.5 million for restaurant employees that have been laid off or had their salaries cut during the global health crisis. As the NRAEF continues to raise awareness, 100% of funds raised will go toward restaurant workers.
"My entire career has been in the restaurant business; from bussing tables to flambé captain to dishwasher to chef… I've done it all,” Fieri said in a statement. I've also spent the better part of the last 15 years traveling this great country meeting other folks who've dedicated their lives to this business […] they need our help and with Restaurant Relief America, we can serve up some support when these restaurant employees need it most…right now."
Other founding partners of the fund include PepsiCo, Uber Eats, Constellation Brands, Moët Hennessy USA, Ecolab, Cargill, Boston Beer Company, Shift4 Payments, P&G Professional, The Elliot Group, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, and the Light Foundation.
“The unfortunate reality is that we know already that just since March 1, our industry has lost three million jobs,” Rob Gifford, president of the NRAEF said, urging business owners and the general public to make donations to the growing fund. “We’ve never done anything like this before, but the need has never been greater. We’re proud to step in and do whatever we can to help employees.”
Here’s how it works: Restaurant workers can apply for a grant paid for by the NRAEF fund starting Thursday, April 2, and will receive a one-time $500 check within three weeks to use toward housing, medical bills, student loans, groceries, and other expenses. The NRAEF stipulated that these grants would be administered on a “first-come, first-serve basis.”
“It’s a one-time per person stipend [because] we can expect this smaller amount to help the greatest number of people with this simple and fast application process,” Gifford said.
The National Restaurant Association has also been advocating for the restaurant industry through the business side. Last week, the association sent a relief fund proposal to the Trump administration and Congress detailing “directed and targeted financial relief for restaurants, loans and insurance options for impacted small businesses.”
Congress voted to pass the $2.2 trillion relief package on Friday, March 27.
Contact Joanna Fantozzi at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi
For our most up-to-date coverage, visit the coronavirus homepage.