The pandemic wreaked havoc on the U.S. restaurant industry, but especially on Black-owned eateries.
In fact, 41% of Black-owned businesses, which already face systemic challenges, shut down during the pandemic, according to a report from Stanford Institute for Economic Policy.
To bring awareness to these struggling restaurants, Pepsi will host its first Dig In Day on November 6, the company said Wednesday. The special day is part of Pepsi’s Dig In initiative, which includes a five-year pledge to drive $100 million in sales to Black-owned restaurants.
Black-owned restaurants can participate by visiting PepsiDigIn.com, where they can access resources, including a toolkit with templated brand materials for marketing and social media.
Pepsi has partnered with Chef JJ Johnson, an award-winning chef and owner of Fieldtrip restaurants in New York City, to amplify the project by creating immersive Dig In Day experiences and sharing information on how industry colleagues can help increase sales.
“There are so many Black-owned restaurants that people don't even realize are Black-owned, or even know they were there,” Johnson told Campaign US. “Pepsi is doing something that is needed for the Black restaurant community. When people visit Black communities, most of the time, they're going in a car, jumping out and eating and then going back in their car. So, they don't really experience what actually is taking place in Black restaurants.”
Companies can join the movement by buying their employees lunch from a Black-owned restaurant on October 28. Some early participants include the James Beard Foundation, BentoBox, Intersport and Golin.
And consumers can show their support when they “eat, upload, repeat.” Foodies are encouraged to eat at a local Black-owned restaurant (in person or take out) and to save their receipt, which they can upload to DigInPassport.com for a chance to win culinary rewards and a limited-edition premium collectible Pepsi item. Consumers should “repeat” the process by continuing to support Black-owned restaurants and sharing their meals on social with the hashtag #DigInDay.
PepsiCo plans to promote Dig In Day through advertising, partnerships, business resources and local events.
“PepsiCo can bring the power and scale to help,” said Scott Finlow, global CMO of PepsiCo foodservice. “We have the opportunity to help ensure that these restaurateurs have equal access to resources and expand their awareness. It’s something we will seek to do again in the upcoming years.”
In 2020, Pepsi launched its Dig In initiative, committing more than $400 million to advance racial equity within the company, the industry and local communities. The company dedicated $50 million to support Black-owned businesses over the next five years.
The PepsiCo Foundation also gave a $10 million grant to the National Urban League to co-create the Black Restaurant Accelerator program, which will provide funding, mentoring and management training to 500 Black restaurant owners over the next five years.
Pepsi also rolled out Black Restaurants Deliver, a digital and delivery consulting program designed to help restaurant owners navigate the new consumer landscape.
This story first appeared on campaignlive.com.