Resources to help restaurants, bars and hospitality workers affected by coronavirus

Mark Sansom - 25/03/2020

While the global pandemic is impacting everyone’s lives, it has hit the hospitality sector with particular ferocity. With one quarter of the world’s population now in lockdown and an estimated 80% of global hospitality workers’ jobs at risk, restaurants and bars are scaling back and diversifying in attempt to secure their future. Here are some schemes and ideas in the US and UK that will help support the people and businesses who will form our first ports of call when global recovery begins

This article is intended as a global evolving list of resources to help those in need. If you are aware of any positive initiatives in your country or region that should be recognised, please email:


Hospitality workers can upskill with access to industry-leading speakers who are donating their time for webinars and seminars on this Facebook platform from 8.30am GMT every weekday.


Dining Bond Initiative
This scheme on website looks to garner immediate cash for restaurants so they can stay in business and keep their workers on. Diners purchase gift vouchers with a 25% discount ($75 buys $100 food) ready to cash in when the restaurant re-opens, or to use on its delivery channels.

Local for Later
This US portal is dividing America’s small and independent food retailers by city to show those businesses that are offering voucher schemes for food and goods that can be collected once they reopen. Here’s the list.

One Fair Wage
This non-profit usually campaigns and lobbies for minimum wage laws in the States. However, it has recently turned its attention to creating a fund for hospitality workers, the OFW Emergency Fund, which has a target of $213,000 stemming from the federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13 in the US. It seeks to provide immediate assistance to workers in the hospitality sector.

Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation
This group has recently launched the RWCF COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. It allocates money to individuals in the hospitality sector and offers interest-free loans to small restaurant and bar business owners.

ROC Disaster Relief Fund
The Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) is donating money to restaurant workers who have lost their jobs. It has set a target of $500,000 to distribute. Click here to donate and here to apply for a grant.

Spill The Dish
This allows residents in the US to search by city to find all of the organisations in their region looking for donations to support hospitality workers. It also allows people to add their own charitable funds to the database. Find out what’s going on near you, here.

Southern Smoke Foundation, Texas
Houston-based cook Chris Shepherd’s foundation is sourcing donations to create a fund pot that will go directly to restaurant employees in the city. So far, it has collected over $1m.

Support Local
This site aggregates American restaurants that are promoting voucher sales while they are closed in order to maintain some level of cash flow to keep them in business. See Support Local for a US-wide list divided by state.

Unite Here Education Fund
A national union in the USA and Canada, Unite Here is amassing funds to distribute to its 300,000 members for assistance with things such as wages, food and rent. Donate here if you are in a position to.

USBG Bartender Emergency Assistance Program
The United States Bartenders Guild is sourcing money from its partner brands to contribute to a fund that will allow employees to claim grants and loans. Apply for a grant here.

Virtual Tip Jar
These online resources are being transferred from a way to ensure that a server gets your money directly, to donations for those affected by the pandemic. See here.


A.Wong’s meals for the vulnerable, London
The chef who runs one of the UK’s stand-out Chinese restaurants is using his establishment to prepare up to 100 meals a day for the vulnerable and those who have lost their jobs. If you can assist with funds, distribution or preparation, Wong is asking to be contacted by email.

Diageo’s Emergency Relief Fund
Global spirits company Diageo, which owns the likes of Ketel One Vodka and Tanqueray gin, has made available a fund of $1.4m to assist bars that face closure in the wake of the pandemic. For more information and to see if it could benefit you, see here.

Drinks Trust
Previously called The Benevolent Fund, this non-profit issues grants to bartenders and workers in the bar sector. See here to apply or to donate.

Guild of Fine Food

This advocate of independent shops and cafes is pioneering a scheme that identifies business support and attempts to match produce and stock that is unable to be sold with those who would like to purchase it. Find out more here.

Hospitality Action
High-profile chefs in the UK have been lobbying government to provide support for workers with great success. Those who have lost their jobs can apply to Hospitality Action for a one-off Covid-19 grant of £250 to help with the immediate fallout of job losses. Donate or apply here.

The Hospitality Workers’ Fund
An emergency fund to assist with zero-hours workers in the UK. Donate, learn more about what they are offering and get more information here.

United We Stand
50 Best’s sister titles, Morning Advertiser and Restaurant magazine are launching a campaign called United We Stand, which offers a resource to help workers and businesses affected by measures associated with coronavirus. Stay tuned to the website for developments.

Virtual Tip Jar
These online resources are being transferred from a way to ensure that a server gets your money directly, to donations for those affected by the pandemic. See here.

The Wine and Spirits Education Trust is the gold standard for wine and spirits training across the world. It is offering 2,000 free places on its Level One Spirits course for bartenders to take from home while they are unable to work. See here for more information.


Lifestyle Asia
Support your favourite restaurants in the Lion City by buying gift cards from this voucher aggregator.

Umai Restaurant Resource
This software firm is allowing restaurants to use its software for free that allows restaurants to sign up for vouchers from would-be diners. See here.

Umai Restaurant Vouchers
The software firm has started a voucher aggregator for Malaysia. See what restaurants are available here.


Dine Out India
This network of 50,000 restaurants in 20 cities in the subcontinent is offering customers vouchers worth 1,000 rupees ($13) for 750 rupees (£9). Sign up here to support the restaurants and their workers.

South Africa

Our Social Kitchen
This initiative intends to help keep chefs, bakers, mixologists, baristas and other industry experts in South Africa stay in front of their fans during lockdown with a series of masterclasses and live shows. See the Facebook page here and website here.

If you would like to help the global hospitality industry in its recovery, stay tuned to our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter channels, where we will be sharing initiatives from around the world.