Blog
Grow

Supporting Black-Owned Businesses in Your Community

Learn how these restaurateurs support Black communities and Black-owned restaurants and businesses.

9 min read
2022-02-07
Supporting Black-Owned Businesses

At DoorDash, supporting Black communities and Black-owned businesses is an ongoing commitment—and not just during Black History Month.

At the first annual Main Street Strong Conference, entrepreneurs and industry leaders from around the country talked about the challenges facing Black-owned businesses and how we—as an industry and as individuals—can offer meaningful support. We also spoke with local Black restaurateurs to learn how we can all keep Black-owned businesses thriving in 2022 and beyond.

Fay Bruney

Black food influences the broader culture because it promotes diversity and inclusion through a social setting. We use food to bring people together.

Supporting Black-owned businesses with access to capital

The pandemic has devastated businesses across a wide range of industries. In Canada, over 10,000 restaurants shut down forever in 2020, and today over half of restaurants don’t know how long they can continue to operate before considering closure or bankruptcy.

Access to funding is a leading factor in a restaurant’s ability to survive hard times, and businesses owned by people of color were hit harder.

Katherine Lynch, Senior Manager at Kiva, a nonprofit organization that provides loans to underserved entrepreneurs, pointed out that the ability to weather an unforeseen disaster depends on capital. "There are barriers to accessing capital that are more pronounced for entrepreneurs of color," she noted. "Those that have access to loans and capital will survive, and those that don't are going to have a hard time."

A survey from the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce found that about 70% of Black-owned businesses across Canada weren’t able to access Canada Emergency Business Account interest-free loans. The program's structural limitations weren’t designed to meet the realities of many minority-owned businesses; to qualify for CEBA, businesses needed to have had a payroll of between $20K and $1.5M the previous year, and be legally registered as a company.

It’s estimated that 40% of Black-owned businesses will not outlast the pandemic—compared to 17% of white-owned businesses. While these inequities are not unique to the industry, there are things we can do, as businesses and individuals, to support Black communities and Black-owned businesses. 

How to support Black-owned businesses

Be a customer.

Prioritize supporting Black-owned businesses. You can find Black-owned businesses near you using DoorDash with the Black-owned tag or by doing your own online research. (If you’re a Black-owned business, apply here to get the Black-owned tag on DoorDash.)

Lewis Rudd, President and co-founder of Ezell's Famous Chicken, is a member of Peace Peloton, a group of cyclists who ride together to dine and support different Black-owned businesses in the Seattle area. 

Lewis Rudd

The focus there is on riding around the neighborhood, the city, the county and selecting Black-owned businesses. There’s been as many as 325 of us riding together and patronizing those businesses.

Lewis Rudd
President & Co-Founder

Join the digital chorus.

If your wallet’s feeling thin these days, there are also a lot of non-monetary ways to support local businesses. It’s all about boosting their marketing efforts and becoming a passionate part of their social community—showing you care, online.

Follow your favorite Black-owned restaurants and chefs on social media, and like and share their posts. Additionally, if you’ve enjoyed their food before, make sure to write some thoughtful five-star reviews on Yelp, Google, and DoorDash to encourage others to dine there.

Give what you can.

There are also ways that you as a business can support Black-owned businesses in your area. This includes partnering with a Black-owned business to offer a special item or promoting a Black-owned business on your social media platforms. 

Another example? When Ezell's Famous Chicken received a PPP loan, they made a point to support another local Black-owned business by paying for six months of print and copy services in advance. 

Celebrate the incredible diversity within the Black community.

The Black community in Canada is incredibly diverse, with people whose families have lived here for generations, and others who have recently immigrated from countries all over the world. In supporting Black-owned businesses, we also need to celebrate the incredibly unique, diverse perspectives, cultures, and cuisines they share.

For example, Fay Bruney, owner of Calgary-based Simply Irie Caribbean Cuisine, sees her restaurant as a platform to bring all kinds of different people together. "Simply Irie Caribbean cuisine is a taste of home," she explains. "Black food influences the broader culture because it promotes diversity and inclusion through a social setting. We use food to bring people together."

Another chef, Adebola Esan, owner of Flavours Cuisine and Catering likes that her business enables her to share her Nigerian culture with her Calgary community. "My inspiration comes from my parents because I grew up in the kitchen with them. And growing up, I was always watching Food Network, so I got inspiration from that as well," she explains. "My restaurant is a place where flavor ignites your palate with tasty and delicious meals all the way from Africa."

Along those same lines, chef Akim Acacia finds inspiration in the idea of sharing his mixed heritage through the Montreal-based Piklìz Comptoir Caribéen. "What we’re trying to do is to bring a younger, fresher way of doing Caribbean food to Montreal. We’re really influenced by Haitian cuisine, which is our background, but also growing up in Montreal with the different cultures and backgrounds," Akim explains. "It's a way to share our heritage through food."

Celebrating Black History Month at DoorDash

At the end of the Main Street Strong Conference, DoorDash CEO Tony Xu talked about the importance of access and opportunity. "Talent is evenly distributed—access and opportunity aren't," Tony said. 

That’s why, beyond honoring the Black entrepreneurs of yesterday and today, we’re also using Black History Month as a moment to offer additional practical support for Black-owned businesses. Here’s some of what we’re doing:

  • Boosting in-app visibility. Prioritizing Black-owned businesses on the DoorDash platform with marketing campaigns and additional promotional placement this month.

  • Increasing access to opportunity: DoorDash has created Entrepreneurship & Access programs in the U.S. and Canada, which are designed to help level the playing field for restaurant-owners of color, as well as women. The programs offer a range of financial benefits, including education and training. In Canada, enrolled Merchants also receive a free Restaurants Canada membership.

  • Amplifying Black voices: Working with Black chefs and restaurateurs across the US and Canada to celebrate and amplify Black food culture.

  • Spotlighting Black-owned businesses with BET: Launching a Black-curated cooking series with BET, highlighting businesses from DoorDash’s Main Street Strong Accelerator program.

As a company, we are committed to continuing taking action through our product, our platform, and our resources—and we hope you’ll join us. 

Author

Ali Cottong

Ali Cottong

Copywriter

logo subscribe to blog

Subscribe for insights to help you run a great business, delivered weekly to your inbox.