Amidst the horror of it all, there is still some (if not more than before) good in this industry and in this world. There are leaders that we didn't know we had, who have stood up as pillars of hospitality, holding the weight of uncertainty and our industry on their shoulders. In Australia, this is a list of just some of the brilliant initiatives that we take our hats off to.
FairFeed - Melbourne
FairFeed was launched by the team at Smoke & Pickles, the goal of feeding people fairly, keeping people employed, and helping to reduce the stress and anxiety that comes with COVID-19, and they're doing a damn good job.
Based in Melbourne, they're helping local chefs and visa workers to continue to create amazing food using local suppliers for our community whilst gathering to support the rest of our industry.
From chefs to delivery drivers to local suppliers and finally making sure homes have access to stress-free affordable and nourishing food.
Feed the Frontline - Brisbane
Essential healthcare staff are working around the clock to keep people safe amid the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the restaurant industry is on its knees. Feed the Frontline helps both sectors, accepting donations via GoFundMe, which is then passed on to restaurants, issuing meal vouchers and providing delivered, restaurant-quality meals to our front-line workers.
Mr. Yum - Melbourne + Syd
Mr Yum recently launched its (slowly expanding) free online platform, offering a delivery solution for venues in Fitzroy, . Prahran, Windsor, South Yarra and Collingwood, and soon-too-be-interstate in Darlinghurst and Surry Hills. Unlike the big boy clubs of Uber and Deliveroo snagging 30%, Mr Yum takes just a 4.5 per cent commission.
Over 95% of what you pay ordering on this site goes directly back to the hospo business that you order from. When the public orders from Mr Yum, they're helping them to keep doors open and staff employed. Most venues on Mr Yum are using their own staff to do delivery as a way of giving them shifts in these rough times too.
“This isn’t an American startup that’s raised billions of dollars - this is ordering direct from amazing local brands you love, who are trying to do the best they can.” says CEO Kim Teo.
We can get around that.
Grow Assembly Voucher Auction - Aus-Wide
GROW Assembly has purchased $150 gift vouchers from a number of independently-owned restaurants across Australia (starting with the likes of Sydney's Cafe Paci, Geelong's Igni, and Tasmania's Stillwater to name a few). The aim is to support those small businesses and give people something to look forward to post-COVID.
They're not doing this to make money, once the first round of auctions has concluded, they'll then take the money made and do it again with a different set of restaurants. They'll keep doing this until they can't sell the vouchers (and then they'll probably give them away).
Attica Soup Kitchen
Ben Shewry has partnered with visa-advocate/warrior Dani Valent to feed their customers and those in need at the same time. From 21.04, Attica home-delivery meals from will include an option to add a Thai-inspired soup (delivered cold, to be eaten as lunch the next day) for $25, with $5 of that funding a weekly soup program that will be delivered free to workers. Those who want to be involved can register on Tuesday for collection on Thursdays. Valent, meanwhile, will make fortune cookies and fill them with messages of hope.
A leader who steps up again and again. Jessie Singh is a chef and owner of five venues across Melbourne, with his most recent 'Ms Singh' opening a couple of months before COVID-19. In the wake of the crisis, Singh marches to the beat of his own drum to do what's right: Offering up volunteer spots in his kitchen to cook meals for those on the frontline as well as out-of-work (and government support) visa holders and backpackers, as well as giving an entire Easter weekend's worth of restaurant profits to his employees here on a Visa, and being grateful for the opportunity to do it all throughout (just check his Instagram). Jessi Singh, we salute you.