After the announcement of South Africa’s Level 5 hard lockdown, Eat Out was impressed by how restaurants across the country stepped in to help feed the growing number of hungry South Africans, even as these restaurants faced extreme economic hardship – or even closure – themselves.
Margot Janse and Chris Erasmus catch up with Eat Out
Our focus, as a business adapted and moved towards helping in any way we could during this time and we decided to launch the Eat Out Restaurant Relief Fund, in partnership with Community Chest on the 24th April, to offer financial support to restaurants who reopened their kitchens to produce meals for the old and frail, those who lost their jobs, the children who could no longer receive their meals at school, and to supply feeding schemes.
By the end of May, 36 restaurants received payouts ranging between R10,000 and R50,000, depending on the number of meals they were able to produce each day. Just one month later, 50 restaurants were supported and over 500,000 meals had been produced for their local communities in need. Staff were able to come back to work and support their families and some suppliers were being paid again.
What Jackson’s Real Food Market did to support:
Blockhouse full of beans
“It was a really tough time for all restaurants and heartbreaking to see their desperation during the Covid-19 hard lockdown. Sadly, we saw many doors close permanently, but many were able to weather the storm and reopen when the time came,” says Tarryn Corlett, Head of the Fund. “However, despite their suffering, magic transpired when the restaurants opened their hearts and kitchens and started preparing meals for their local communities.”
We received donations from individuals and corporates, some of which included: New Media, Graham Beck and Steenberg Vineyards, Retail Capital, Prescient Fund Services, JAN Innovation Studio, Nederburg Wines, S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, Nespresso, Woolworths and the 50 Best Recovery Fund.
We auctioned off fantastic items on Facebook donated by Schaffer Blades, Kitchen Aid, Yuppiechef, WÜSTHOF South Africa and Arrow Leather Goods.
CAPREO GmbH and Cape Ardor LCC came onboard and organised campaigns that allowed SA wine lovers aboard to purchase their favourite wines and, in doing so, supported SA’s struggling wine industry, the Relief Fund and helped restaurants put food on the tables of many hungry families all over the country.
By the end of September, 55 restaurants had received support. However, the need continued, and we decided to refund 33 restaurants again so that they could continue with their feeding projects. As a result, over 1.2 million meals were produced.
Restaurants who applied and were supported included: Canimambo Restaurant, Foliage, The Larder, Le coin Francais, Reverie Social Table, Pie in the Sky Bakery / Coimbra Bakery, Die Damhuis Restaurant, Clay Café, The Table at De Meye, Cafe Extrablatt, Chefs Warehouse @Maison, Jacksons Real Food Market, Beerhouse on Long St, Blockhouse, Escoffier Catering, Black Oystercatcher, Eike, Emerald Vale Brewing Corporation, Saigon Suzy, Geelbek Restaurant, Thava Indian Restaurant, Perron Bryanston, Diesel & Crème, SideDish Theatre Bistro, Marrow, Bellevue Café, Eighty8sFoodCo, Plant, Excalibur, Den Anker and Buns Out.
Big Momma’s, Cafe Roux, LM in Plett, Gourmet Shack, 9th Avenue Waterside, De Oude Kraal, Kingdom African Restaurant, Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine, Eagles Nest Kitchen, Cavalli, Chefs Warehouse @ Beau Constantia, Railways Café, Hashi, Beerhouse Tygervalley, D’urban Burger Co, The Tosh Coffee Lounge, Janse & Co, Love Bites Café, Chefs Warehouse & Canteen, Streetbar named Desire, Divine Foods at the View, Tsa – Kasi Food, Cafe2Go and Social on Main.
Hats off to our Partner Organisation, Community Chest. Without their support, none of this would have been possible.
Looking back, so much transpired during the Fund’s journey to support the industry. We heard trying and inspiring stories from restaurant owners and their staff; we appreciated the little things; and we saw the tears, smiles, laughter and hope in the eyes of those who received a warm nourishing meal.
We would like to thank our partners, funders, supporters and the public for their generous support.
Looking back at the Fund’s Achievements
Together, we helped make a difference during a time when people needed it most. Our support does not end here, though, and we will continue in our efforts to help rebuild the restaurant industry.