Restaurant work has never been easy — but in the last 12 months, it’s never been more challenging. 

According to the National Restaurant Association, in the first six months of the pandemic alone, 1 in 6 restaurants closed their doors forever. 

Some restaurant owners were hit harder than others; 40% of Black-owned businesses are not expected to outlast the pandemic, while nearly half of Latino business owners expect to close within six months. 

Introducing the Main Street Strong Accelerator: Restaurant Grants and Education  

In order to help businesses disproportionately affected by the pandemic, DoorDash worked with Accion Opportunity Fund to create the Main Street Strong Accelerator. The program is designed to support businesses at greatest risk of permanent closure and economic setback: small, independent businesses owned by women, immigrants, and people of color. 

These businesses aren’t just vital to the health of local economies — they are also integral to the culture and spirit of communities across the country. 

In its first round, Main Street Strong Accelerator will provide 100 businesses with the financial and educational support they need to adapt, stabilize, and grow. 

What does the Accelerator look like? 

The Accelerator is built around an 8-week specialized curriculum developed by DoorDash, Accion Opportunity Fund, and restaurant industry leaders. Each week, the program will focus on a different facet of small business ownership, including marketing, building a financial roadmap, integrating technology, permits and licensing, menu creation, and more. 

The Accelerator program also also provides: 

  • 1:1 financial, legal, and other support from industry experts 
  • $20,000 in restaurant grants to each participant to keep their business(es) open 
  • Merchandising and marketing benefits

Throughout the course of the program, additional guidance and support will be provided by an Advisory Committee of renowned restaurant owners and operators:

Am I eligible for the Accelerator? 

The program is designed to help businesses disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: those owned by women, immigrants, or people of color. Applicants do not have to be current partners with DoorDash or Caviar. 

The program is open to all restaurant owners and operators who: 

  • Are operating three or fewer restaurant locations
  • Have been operating for 2 or more years
  • Have 50 employees or fewer across all locations
  • Are located in NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia or Atlanta
  • Are able to commit three hours per week to the program from April 5th-May 28th

How do I apply? 

Applications are closed as of March 2, 2021 at 5 pm PT. Participants will be notified on March 19, 2021, and the 8-week program will run from April 5, 2021 through May 28, 2021.

Jen Brown

Jen Brown is a copywriter based in Los Angeles. Her professional experience includes writing for  tech, nonprofits, manufacturing, entertainment, and consumer goods, but her lifelong commitment to spending most of her income at restaurants has been excellent preparation for writing for restaurant owners, operators, and staff. When she’s not planning (or writing about) her next meal, she likes to spend time outdoors and meet other people’s dogs.