Local Food Economy

Eat Out to Help Out – independent restaurants urge diners to ‘Eat Independent, Support Local’

By Ramona Andrews

Bristol Food Union and the Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective have launched a campaign to drive the public to ‘eat independent, support local’. Like #BristolFoodKind, the #EatIndieBristol campaign urges citizens to support local food businesses and services under increased pressure due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Hear more from the Bristol Food Union team.

Independent restaurants, across Wales and the South West are calling on customers to use the UK Government Eat Out to Help Out scheme to support local businesses when the discount scheme launches on Monday.

By choosing to use the scheme with their local independent restaurants and food businesses, customers will be directing government support to the small businesses, high streets and communities which need it the most.

In the West of England 44,000 people are employed in the food and tourism industry, about 8% of the total workforce. In Wales restaurants, food service and accommodation employ around 100,000 people.

Two campaigns to promote this message have been launched this week – in the West of England and in Wales, by Bristol Food Union and the Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective.

The Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective (WIRC) formed during lockdown to work together to try and save jobs and businesses in the sector. Bristol Food Union is a collective of restaurants, food businesses and community organisations, which came together to ensure that the city of Bristol stayed fed during the COVID-19 crisis.

Aine Morris, founder of the Bristol Food Union (pictured above), said:

“Whilst the Food Union welcomes the government’s support of the hospitality industry over August, it leaves a somewhat unpleasant taste to realise that the biggest beneficiaries of the scheme will be the multinational fast food chains. These businesses can afford to ride out the economic downturn, whilst many of the smaller independents cannot.

Bristol’s food community did an exceptional job of keeping the city fed during lockdown, we hope that the public will now lend their support by using this discount with participating independents as much as possible.”

There are 157,035 accommodation and food service businesses in the UK and in the first quarter of 2020, just under 1.8 million people were employed in the accommodation and food services sector.

Restaurants, food businesses and members of the public can support the ‘Eat Independent, Support Local’ campaign online using the hashtag #EatIndieBristol.

See this article from Bristol 24/7 for a list of all the independents taking part in the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme that launches on Monday 3 August.

Those working in our city’s food sector face unprecedented challenges. Though the bid to make Bristol a Gold Sustainable Food City has been paused, the need for a resilient food community has never been greater. Visit Bristol Food Network for more information and resources on Bristol’s Good Food response to the pandemic. Read Bristol Going for Gold Coordinator Joy Carey’s blog proposing five core principles on which to start building a better and more resilient food system.

#BristolFoodKind is a collaboration between Bristol Green Capital PartnershipBristol Food NetworkBristol City Council and Resource Futures.

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