$90M investment fund aims to develop fast-casual startups | Apps, social media aim to help black-owned eateries | Restaurant execs share lessons on leading in a crisis
June 5, 2020
Restaurant SmartBrief
On the Front Burner
Utah-based investment firm Mercato Partners has launched a $90 million fund called Savory that will back emerging fast-casual brands. Brands will receive funding of $5 million to $10 million, along with advice and support in areas including real estate, marketing and tech innovation, Mercato's Andrew Smith said.
Full Story: Restaurant Business online (6/4),  Nation's Restaurant News (free registration) (6/4),  TechCrunch (tiered subscription model) (6/4) 
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Restaurant News
Activists and media outlets have been making a concerted effort to drive business to black-owned restaurants in recent days, as part of a larger effort to address and combat racism in the US. EatOkra, an app created four years ago to help users find black-owned businesses, has seen traffic surge this week, the founders said, and lists and other resources have been circulating on social media.
Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (6/4) 
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Leading Voices
Clearly defined statements of mission and values can go a long way in helping a restaurant company weather a crisis like the pandemic, G.J. Hart, CEO of Torchy's Tacos, said during the Restaurants Rise Live digital conference. Hart and Black Bear Diner CEO Anita Adams shared insights during a panel on leadership lessons.
Full Story: Nation's Restaurant News (free registration) (6/4) 
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Young restaurant leaders focus on the future
Cole (Paras Griffin/Getty Images)
Pinky Cole founded the Atlanta restaurant Slutty Vegan to bring a fresh take on vegan dining to the city, and now she's focused on growing the chain with an emphasis on off-premises sales. This list takes a look at how Cole and 14 other young leaders are building some of today's trail-blazing restaurants despite unprecedented challenges.
Full Story: QSR magazine (6/2020) 
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A Boys and Girls Clubs chapter in Silicon Valley has recruited area restaurant chefs for a program to feed the growing number of locals facing food insecurity amid the pandemic. The group spends about $30,000 a week to prepare 2,000 nightly meals and reached a 100,000-meal milestone this week.
Full Story: The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (6/4) 
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SmartBrief Originals
Most Clicked: Take a look at this week's hottest food and beverage industry stories with SmartBrief's Top 10 list.
A push by McDonald's franchisees to retain the streamlined menu the chain adopted during the pandemic caught SmartBrief readers' attention this week, as did the news that Starbucks will cut employee hours this summer as dining rooms stay closed. Costco's plans to resume product sampling and Sprouts Farmers Market's small-store strategy also made the Top 10.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Food & Travel (6/5) 
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Happy Hour
Culinary Spotlight
Chef Zoe Adjonyoh turns to a simple dish of beans and rice flavored with onions, garam masala, coriander, coconut milk and vegetable bouillon cubes for a fast and economical meal. The meal is one of many she's served at ZK Community Kitchen in London, which she founded to feed those in need during the coronavirus.
Full Story: epicurious (6/2) 
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Chefs and diners in the San Francisco Bay Area have been embracing Singaporean dishes ranging from traditional to more experimental takes that incorporate California influence. A pair of Singaporean pop-ups have emerged during the pandemic, including Dabao Singapore, which features desserts inspired by recipes from the co-founder's grandmother.
Full Story: San Francisco Chronicle (tiered subscription model) (6/4) 
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Movers & Shakers
He who faces no calamity gains no courage.
Rudyard Kipling,
writer, poet, journalist
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