The James Beard Foundation released results from a survey taken November and December 2021, representing chefs and restaurant owners from 42 of 50 states and Washington. DC.
The Foundation notes that most survey responses were received prior to the announcement of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
While more restaurants indicated confidence in their business surviving compared to 2020, numbers were still low. 50% reported no to moderate confidence that their restaurant would remain open past winter, due to challenges with staffing, operational costs, and lower revenues. 60% indicated that more government support in the form of loans, grants, and other relief programs would help alleviate these issues.
The James Beard Foundation has endeavored to support struggling businesses during the pandemic, through the campaign Open for Good, with the mission of “[surviving the COVID-19 crisis, [rebuilding] better, and [thriving] for the long-term. The campaign involves resources to guide reopening, including a series of Industry support webinars and a playbook for leadership in times of the pandemic. The Foundation also communicates its desire to center racial justice and food justice issues, through Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change and partnership with the Race Forward research-based nonprofit. As a member of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, James Beard Foundation representatives along with chef-advocates meet with government legislators to push for policy that promotes restaurants.
There is one JBF grant opportunity currently open and available for restaurant owners:
Food and Beverage Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans (September 2020-Present)
As part of the Foundation’s commitment to building a more equitable industry, and in acknowledgment of the immeasurable contribution that these two communities have made to the modern American foodscape, the Foundation launched The James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans to provide financial resources for food or beverage businesses that are majority-owned by Black or Indigenous individuals.