DoorDash, Hello Alice Introduce Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund
Over the past year, independent restaurants have not only had to endure the effects of the pandemic but some have also experienced losses due to natural disasters. From wildfires in California to flooding in Louisiana, several small businesses have continued to be challenged by Mother Nature. In response, DoorDash and Hello Alice have introduced the Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund.
According to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) data, 40% of small businesses that experience natural disasters are unable to reopen. To assist such businesses, this new fund will offer $1 million to local restaurants. Each grant will be for $10,000, allowing small restaurant owners to pay rent, utilities, buy supplies, meet payroll, or cover other expenses.
Applications for the Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund will open on November 1st and will be processed every three months. In order to be eligible for a grant under this program, applicants must have experienced hardship due to a natural disaster that was state or federally declared. Additionally, restaurants must operate a brick-and-mortar location in the United States, have no more than three stores, and employ 50 people or fewer. Businesses must have been open for at least six months but brought in less than $3 million per location during the last year (12 months). Finally, and notably, it is not required that applying restaurants be a DoorDash or Caviar partner.
Announcing the program, DoorDash Social Impact Program Lead Tasia Hawkins stated, “Restaurants are at the heart of Main Street and they have exhibited immense resiliency when disaster strikes, providing for their communities even when their resources on hand are limited. The Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund is one way we are aiming to reduce the financial burden imposed on restaurants following a natural disaster, helping keep restaurant doors open for years to come.”
Meanwhile, VP for State Affairs and Grassroots Advocacy at the National Restaurant Association Mike Whatley said of the effort, “These grants will help small business restaurants recover while the operators focus on what they do best, offering essential nourishment and comfort to their neighbors. Restaurants are the cornerstones of their communities, and we appreciate the commitment DoorDash and Hello Alice are making to the recovery of our operators and employees following a disaster.”
This isn’t the first time that DoorDash has announced programs meant to help independent restaurant owners through tough times. Earlier this year, in partnership with nonprofit small business lender Accion Opportunity Fund, the platform introduced the Main Street Strong Accelerator. The program — which sought participants from New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Atlanta — included $2 million in grants as well as virtual programming to help business owners adapt to the changing landscape.
Although delivery services such as DoorDash have been controversial among some small business owners, it’s great to see DoorDash once again stepping up to assist independent restaurants in need. On that note, while the initial $1 million is a nice start, hopefully other partners can help grow that sum in the future. In any case, restaurants that wish to apply can visit the Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund site and apply starting November 1st.