Black Restaurant Week
With an extensive and rich Gullah Geechee heritage, Jacksonville’s Black culinary roots run deep. Our city’s Black-owned restaurants are a must-taste experience. Foodies can raise their forks to events showcasing African-American, African and Caribbean cuisine as Black Restaurant Week embarks on a local market tour for the first time in Jacksonville and the State of Florida next week.
Founded in 2016 by entrepreneurs Warren Luckett, Falayn Ferrell and Derek Robinson, Black Restaurant Week LLC is an annual, multi-city culinary movement celebrating the flavors of African, African-American and Caribbean cuisine nationwide. Black Restaurant Week partners with Black-owned restaurants, chefs, caterers and food trucks to host a selection of culinary experiences aimed to expand awareness and increase support for black culinary professionals.
“We’re energized by the appetite we’ve seen for supporting Black-owned restaurants and celebrating the talented Black culinary professionals shaping the food and beverage scene,” said Warren Luckett, founder of Black Restaurant Week. “Pepsi shares our goal of increasing equality in the industry and this partnership allows us to have an even bigger impact by expanding Black Restaurant Week to reach more businesses, communities and diverse food lovers.”
The systemic barriers faced by Black-owned restaurants, such as disproportionate access to business loans, demonstrates the importance of Black Restaurant Week’s collaboration with Pepsi. These disparities have only grown with the COVID-19 pandemic; 41% of Black-owned businesses have shuttered since February compared to 17% of white-owned businesses.*
In 2019, Black Restaurant Week collaborated with nearly 250 Black-owned restaurants and culinary businesses in cities across the U.S., generating $1.5 million in economic impact. Participating restaurants reported a 25-40% increase in revenue during each local celebration. Since kicking off its 2020 campaign in July, Black Restaurant Week has highlighted more than 340 Black-owned culinary businesses in Houston, Los Angeles, Oakland, St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago and Atlanta.
In addition, to help preserve local culinary legacies and support marginalized business owners, Black Restaurant Week, LLC recently founded the Feed the Soul Foundation to continue its mission of creating sustainable culinary businesses in the community. The Feed the Soul Foundation classifies marginalized business owners as people of color, LGBTQIA+, senior citizens, military combat veterans, hearing, visually, and physically challenged persons, and formally incarcerated individuals. Through their Restaurant Business Development Grant Program, the foundation provides grants to marginalized entrepreneurs to assist with business development support. Marginalized culinary business owners throughout Jacksonville are encouraged to submit an application to apply for stipends to fund business support services and training.
“We’re committed to increasing access, accelerating growth and expanding awareness for Black-owned restaurants,” said Scott Finlow, Chief Marketing Officer, PepsiCo Global Foodservice. “The work Black Restaurant Week is already doing fits perfectly with our mission. We want our collaboration and the power of the Pepsi brand to help take the organization’s fantastic efforts to the next level to engage more consumers and boost Black foodservice businesses.”
With Pepsi as its first-ever national title sponsor, Black Restaurant Week kicked off its 2020 collaboration in Greater Washington D.C. in September. Starting on Black Friday, November 27th and running through December 6th, Black Restaurant Week will be celebrated locally for the first time. Aligning with Black Restaurant Week, the fourth annual Jacksonville Melanin Market is scheduled for Friday, November 27, from 3 to 7 p.m. on A. Philip Randolph Boulevard. Featuring minority-owned businesses, merchants, food, music, local entertainment and more, the outdoor marketplace is strategically placed in the Eastside, one of the city’s oldest historic Black neighborhoods and earliest Gullah Geechee communities.
For more information on Black Restaurant Week, visit blackrestaurantweeks.com and stay connected with @BlackRestaurantWeek and @Pepsi on social networks. Be sure to follow @jaxmelaninmarket on social networks for more information on the Melanin Market.