Restaurants are the cornerstone of American communities, and they need support more than ever. In the face of systemic barriers to success, there’s even more urgency to support local Black-owned restaurants — to celebrate and sustain their vibrant flavors. The diverse range of tasty menus, rich history and culture found in Black-owned restaurants contribute not just to their communities, but to the variety and richness of the entire American experience.
Companies are pledging support, and a few like Pepsi with its new Dig In platform, are leading the way making multi-year, multi-million dollar commitments that promote long-term success.
“Disparities have only grown during the pandemic, with Black-owned businesses shuttering at higher rates,” said Scott Finlow, chief marketing officer, PepsiCo Global Foodservice. “When doors close, we all miss out on an opportunity to discover something new. We’re inviting people to ‘Dig In’ because their next meal has the power to help create a positive effect in the community.”
If you love discovering new dishes and want to aid restaurants that connect and build their communities, here are simple things you can do.
1. Use discovery apps to find Black-owned restaurants
The popular foodie app EatOkra makes it easy to search an incredible roster of over 5,700 Black-owned eateries, so you can find options near you. Use the app’s check in and restaurant rating options to share the experience with friends too.
Consider uploading your receipt to MyBlackReceipt, the nation’s first buy Black campaign focused on quantifying the impact of supporting Black-owned businesses. To date, over $7 million in receipts have been uploaded.
2. Don’t forget delivery
Order meals in via your local restaurant, favorite delivery apps or Black and Mobile, the first Black-owned delivery app in the country which exclusively delivers for Black-owned restaurants in select cities. It partners with underrepresented businesses in urban communities that are often overlooked, providing them with the delivery technology needed to expand their customer base.
3. Tap into food celebrations from home
Restaurant week and virtual supper club events are a great opportunity to sample cultural fare from prix fixe menus while championing Black culinary tastemakers in your city. The list of participating eateries can sometimes be in the hundreds but take the opportunity to boost participating Black-owned restaurants serving up African American, African and Caribbean cuisine.
4. Follow expert foodies and influencers
Keep up on the latest culinary trends and chefs by following relevant social media accounts and hashtags like #Blackowned. Social media influencers and award-winning writers and cookbook authors like Osayi Endolyn (@osayiendolyn) are chronicling what’s exciting, new and next.
5. Share information on resources
According to the Federal Reserve, many Black-owned businesses have a harder time getting loans than any other group. Spread the word in your community and let your favorite neighborhood restaurateurs know about available resources.
For example, Pepsi’s Dig In platform provides grants, mentorship, training and business support to Black restaurateurs, including help building and optimizing online ordering and delivery capabilities. The program aims to generate at least $100 million in sales for Black-owned restaurants over the next five years.