The Restaurant Industry Is Demanding Federal Stimulus Bucks

As coronavirus disrupts business at eateries across the country, chefs want the government to step up

The restaurant industry is calling for a bailout—and urging those that love food and the people that serve and prepare it to appeal to their representatives.

On Twitter on Tuesday, chef and activist Tom Colicchio urged followers to pick up the phone, call the capitol and  “demand that we are part [of] the federal stimulus package.” 

As Eater pointed out in a piece bluntly titled “Restaurants Are Fucked—Unless They Get a Bailout,” many restaurants run on “shockingly thin margins” and “few…can survive a bad week, let alone a bad season or a bad year.”

In an Instagram post Monday, L.A. chef Josef Centeno excoriated the federal government’s response thus far, saying, “One of the many frustrating things in this whole situation is the too-little-too-late lack of leadership and swift action from our federal government. For as much knowledge and access to information as we have now, they’ve acted like they were waiting to be sent a pigeon with a note saying the shit’s about to go down.”

He adds, “Our government who didn’t take this seriously and left us in the dark needs to step up and figure out fast how to save our economy, otherwise it’s going to be a long road ahead.”

Another prominent chef, Andrew Carmellini, took to Instagram to point out the discrepancy in size between restaurants and other industries seeking aid. One post said that the cruise industry employs 250,000 people compared to the more than 15 million who work in restaurants—and call out the fact that large fast food chains may get help because they have lobbyists, leaving small, beloved operators behind.

“If 75 percent of the restaurants get back open after this, I’d be surprised,” Colicchio said of the situation on CNN. “We’re looking at a massive, massive problem…when it comes time to open up, we need cash to get these restaurants open, we need rent relief, this is going to be a massive undertaking. This is going to be our generation’s World War II moment, and we need to rise to the occasion.” 


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