The PepsiCo Foundation and the National Urban League announced the first grant recipients of their Black Restaurant Accelerator Program, a joint $10 million initiative that will provide 500 Black restaurant owners in 12 cities over the next five years with capital, technical assistance, and mentorship services. As the United States begins to reopen, this program is providing critical support to Black restaurateurs who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
This announcement recognizes the vital contributions of Black-owned restaurants to the fabric of American culture, as well as the need to preserve these institutions. The program provides a tangible pathway towards substantive pandemic recovery and lasting economic equity. The first grantees include:
- Victoria’s Kitchen & Catering Soul Food Restaurant in Philadelphia, PA
- Takoma Station Tavern and Wingery in Washington, D.C.,
- Beaucoup Eats, Taste & See and Addis NOLA in New Orleans, LA,
- Odom’s Kitchen Catering in Baton Rouge, LA,
- Local Green Atlanta and Slutty Vegan in Atlanta, GA,
- Taste-T-Love Baby Food, Rich Taste Catering Service and De’Lish LLC in Dayton, OH,
- Southern Grace Cincy Catering LLC in Cincinnati, OH, and
- Chef’s of the Streets in Laurel, MD.
“As the pandemic exposed existing disparities many minority business owners face, we saw a fundamental threat that could erase the decades of progress Black-owned restaurants have made. This investment will help Black restaurateurs not only recover from the pandemic but set them on a path to long-term economic resilience,” said C.D. Glin, Vice President, Global Head of Philanthropy at The PepsiCo Foundation. “We are inspired by the progress we are making through our collaboration with the National Urban League to address a fundamental gap and create opportunities for Black-business owners to build generational wealth and continue to strengthen their communities.”
Black business owners have been particularly vulnerable since the pandemic, as 41% of Black-owned businesses have shuttered since February 2020 compared to just 17% of white-owned businesses. Many Black-owned restaurants have had to adapt to meet the challenges brought by the pandemic – from trimming staff to creating an online presence with little to no guidance, navigating the intricacies of third-party delivery apps, allocating funds to set up outdoor dining services, and more. Through the grant funding from The PepsiCo Foundation and the National Urban League, as the country fully reopens, grantees of the Black Restaurant Accelerator will now have access to critical funding and tools these restaurateurs need to compete and thrive. These tools and mentorship services include back office and accounting systems support, inventory management, and marketing support to attract more patrons.
“Black businesses and consumers are among the key contributors to the economic strength of our nation, and they deserve equal recognition and support for the vital role they play in our communities,” said Marc H. Morial, President & CEO of the National Urban League. “We are proud to partner with The PepsiCo Foundation on a matter of crucial importance that helps business owners and addresses one of the critical economic disparities impacting Black communities.”
Born out of the culinary contributions and traditions of Black people, Black owned restaurants provide more than just food – they create jobs, serve as safe spaces in the community and celebrate Black culture. Black-owned businesses also help Black families build legacies and are key to closing the United States’ Black–white wealth gap, which is projected to cost the economy $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion per year by 2028.
As one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies, PepsiCo recognizes the importance of combatting deep-rooted inequity and creating long-term economic opportunity for Black communities. This program is an important step along PepsiCo’s Racial Equality Journey, a more than $500 million commitment over the next five years to support Black and Hispanic people, businesses and communities in the U.S. to address issues of inequality and create opportunity.
As part of this effort, PepsiCo is increasing its spending with Hispanic- and Black-owned suppliers, increasing diverse leadership within the company and funding community engagement initiatives. Initiatives to date include a $40 million scholarship and professional mentoring program to provide Black and Hispanic aspiring and graduating community college students with pathways to economic success through higher education and a $5 million commitment to Doritos SOLID BLACK™, a new multi-platform initiative backed by action and funding designed to bolster the voices of Black innovators and creators and provide them with resources to continue driving change; Doritos’ commitment includes a $100,000 gift to the National Urban League’s entrepreneurship initiatives that provide resources and tools for Black-owned small businesses to expand and thrive; a $50 million commitment to Pepsi Dig In, a digital platform that encourages consumers to support Black-owned restaurants; the Black Restaurants Deliver program, a no-cost service that helps Black-owned restaurants boost online ordering and delivering capabilities; and investments in The PepsiCo Foundation’s signature nutrition operation, Food For Good, to provide jobs and nutritious food access in Black and Hispanic communities.