The food network star and restaurateur Guy Fieri has more on his mind these days than managing his own restaurant business out of the Covid pandemic.
He’s trying to revive the industry himself.
Next month he will be giving grants of $ 300,000 to aspiring restaurant entrepreneurs and existing owners.
“I’ve been very blessed,” said Fieri, who, according to Forbes, recently signed a new three-year deal with the Food Network worth $ 80 million.
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“So I try to devote my time and attention to helping others raise this money and creating some awareness.”
According to the Covid-19 operator survey by the National Restaurant Association for April, around 90,000 dining and drinking establishments are still completely or long-term closed.
Those who are open face higher costs and lower profits.
The grants, which are awarded in partnership with the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation and the California Restaurant Association, will take place during Fieri’s event, Guy’s Restaurant Reboot, at 7 p.m. on June 12. They will be streamed live on his Facebook page and on GuysRestaurantReboot.com. as well as simulcast via other social media platforms.
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The recipients, who will each receive $ 25,000, will be selected by the two food groups, Fieri said. The grants are largely funded by the event sponsors. In fact, there will be no fundraisers during the event. Instead, celebrities and culinary icons will take part in creations and conversations.
“It’s not a telethon,” said Fieri. “It’s a celebration, an inspiration.
“We want to remind everyone that we eat out more often,” he added. “Get more delivery. Buy more gift certificates.”
This isn’t Fieri’s first foray into philanthropy. He was honored by Make-A-Wish for his work with the charity, and among other things, he fed firefighters who fought wildfires in California last year.
Also last year, he raised $ 21.5 million to help restaurant workers through the National Restaurant Association’s Employee Relief Fund. The result: $ 500 in grants to more than 43,000 workers.
Now that the restaurants are reopening and trying to move forward, the workers are hard to find. In fact, 84% of operators say their headcount is lower than in the absence of Covid-19, according to the National Restaurant Association’s April survey.
Owners have blamed unemployment benefits, lack of childcare for working parents, and people leaving the company during the pandemic.
“I hope people realize the industry needs you,” said Fieri. “The industry has been great for you.”
Even Fieri can feel the pain. He recently attempted to bring a friend over for lunch at Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen and Bar on a weekday – only to find out that the place wasn’t open for those hours.
“It’s a wide variety of issues, including staffing,” he said.
“But we can do it, you know, we’ll be back.”
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