Black Restaurant Week is now in full swing, and foodies and those looking to support small businesses can celebrate in a variety of delicious ways.
“BRW started in 2016 as a way to create a platform for Black-owned restaurants in the Houston community,” said Black Restaurant Week co-founder Falayn Ferrell in a previous statement to Metro. “What we saw was a major restaurant week that’s hosted here, [but] it has more like wait staff, fine-dining and most of the restaurants in our community aren’t really set up like that. So we just wanted to create a platform that is a little more flexible to showcase all the types of culinary businesses in our community. Since then, it’s grown.”
Along with other co-founders Warren Luckett and Derek Robinson, Ferrell has seen the event grow from just Houston to more than a dozen other markets, including Philadelphia in 2018. Overall, 250 businesses across the country have been highlighted during this culinary showcase, and this year, there will be an array of eateries in and around the Philadelphia area participating.
It’s needed now more than ever, too, as the LLC says, the survival of Black-owned culinary businesses is in jeopardy. That can be attributed to the fact that 278,304 American restaurants applied for over $72.2 billion in relief, but only 101,004 small businesses received funding. With over 22 months of lost revenue and mounting debt, this leaves an uncertain future for 500,000 independent restaurants and bars.
As a release states, another obstacle to recovery is the fact that most businesses do not have marketing/PR/advertising dollars to promote their business. So, the BRW was developed to shine a light on minority businesses and to help aid them in building community awareness to increase their bottom line.
In the City of Brotherly Love in 2022, patrons can support Imperial Caribbean & Seafood Restaurant, Chef Tiya’s Poppin Pineapples, Star Fusion Express, Aksum Café, Shayla’s Savour, Urban Country, Reef Restaurant and Lounge, Gavin’s Soul Cuisine & Catering, Brotherly Grub Café, Sweet Nina’s LLC, Ummi Dee’s Burger Bistro, Supreme Oasis Bakery & Deli, Tipping Cow, A King’s Café and Big Boys Kitchen during the activation.
And while participating, foodies, culinary influencers, locals and guests will be treated to prix fixe brunch, lunch and dinner menus at participating restaurants within the area. The cuisines range from vegetarian to BBQ, to seafood and everything in between.
But, the LLC has not stopped there. With 1.1 million minority-owned businesses facing heightened challenges and disparities when securing business funding, Black Restaurant Week has launched the ‘More Than Just a Week’ campaign in addition to their annual activations.
“More Than Just a Week speaks to our commitment to support the black culinary community throughout the entire year,” states Falayn Ferrell, Black Restaurant Week, LLC’s Operations Managing Partner in a statement. “More than 90,000 restaurants and bars closed nationwide since 2020, it is essential that we create a platform that drives awareness to black-owned culinary businesses outside of our culinary tour.”
The initiative aims to help revitalize Black businesses during a time where virtually everyone is still recovering from the year 2020. To do this, the campaign will offer free entry-level business registration and inclusion in the national culinary directory organization’s website, and also offer an online culinary marketplace retailing Black-owned food and houseware brands.
Additionally, ‘More Than Just a Week’ will also offer the NOSH Culinary Showcase to create and highlight business opportunities for catering companies and private chefs. And lastly, the campaign will offer “Soundbites Food Truck Parks” to showcase and drive business to food trucks and Small Business Grants and Business Development training from Black Restaurant Week’s non-profit, Feed the Soul Foundation.
The foundation supports restaurants, business development and provides stipends as well. According to it’s founders, it’s another way to continue the conversation of how to help businesses in the community stay sustainable.
For now though, Philadelphians can head out and show their support through the culinary activation while it’s still here.
For more information about Black Restaurant Week, its events and participating restaurants, visit blackrestaurantweeks.com
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