2021 Grants Challenge

#RestaurantBailout: Bridging the Digital Divide for South Los Angeles Independent Restaurants Owners & Operators

The COVID-19 pandemic heightened the already existing challenges restaurant owners faced owned by people of color, which lead to the closures. These closures not only affected the owners but their employees, vendors, and landlords. Food Tribe wants to offer free or reduced rate technology software to minority-owned businesses in Los Angeles County.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

South LA

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

In 2020 there were ~3000 independent minority-owned businesses in South Los Angeles. Of the 3,000 restaurants, 340 (33%) shut their doors at the end of 2019 and approximately 500 (25%) closed their doors at the end of 2020. It’s anticipated that another 500 (28%) restaurants will close their doors by the end of 2021.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

McKinsey reports that minority restaurants were at a higher risk of closing their doors due to “at risk” or “distressed classification. The Independent Restaurant Coalition surveyed 2000 independent restaurant owners and 3/4 admitted to assuming at least $50,000 in new debt. Three areas affect operators including access to business training, affordable and reliable restaurant technology, and funding. By joining the Food Tribe network, small minority-owned restaurants will be able to compete with large and or chain restaurants by remaining in business and maintaining a successful sales rate.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 360

Indirect Impact: 3,600

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

At least 360 restaurants and their owners, employees, and the communities in which they reside will see a positive impact as a direct result of the restaurant's success. Food Tribe will onboard small minority-owned restaurants to digital and social platforms that will increase visibility and serve as a hub for business and economic development for the city of Los Angeles. Small minority-owned restaurants will see a 50% decrease in restaurant closures and a 47% increase in sales over the course of one year from enrollment and participation in the Food Tribe network. Food is the one common denominator amongst all humans on earth. It’s a way to bring a community together, an opportunity for a culture to represent and showcase their food, it provides strength, physical and mental, and provides financial equity

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Food Tribe will Support adaptable and business initiatives by: (1) offering training, workshops, coaching, and 1on1 technical support; (2) recruit eligible businesses to offer the program through the use of tech + social media platform and outreach; (3) provide ongoing educational + technological support. Food Tribe has elected to focus on using technology and development as the way to support small minority-owned restaurants due to the direct correlation between business success and technology and social media use and presence known as the digital divide. Food Tribe used industry research on the best practice for managing the Digital Divide for Independent Restaurants and found the following methods yield the desired results: - Bring Operations Online - Focus on Analytics - Optimize Staffing Analytics - Point of Sale - Customer Focused Marketing - Data Integration - Online Ordering, Pick Up + Delivery - Customer Loyalty Program

Which of the CREATE metrics will you impact?​

Employment in the creative industries

Minority- and women-owned businesses

Unemployment rate

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

LA is the best place to LEARN