The restaurant and food service industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, and the national lockdown has created a dire knock-on effect, stretching from restaurant owners and delivery drivers to farm workers, pest controllers, and cleaning staff – to name just a few. Unemployment numbers are escalating by the day.

A newly formed consortium of South African food service suppliers – Unilever Food Solutions, RCL Food Partners, McCain Food Service and Tiger Brands Out of Home – has partnered with food service distributor Bidfood to pool their resources in an effort to support the revival of an industry that employs over 1.8 million people. The initiative is called #OneMealManyThanks.

“This collaboration has at its heart the many people that the restaurant and food service industry employs, many of whom are family breadwinners. Our priority has been to engage and partner with government agencies such as the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) and the Federation Hospitality Association of Southern Africa, as well as the Restaurant Collective lobby group, and to communicate and promote safe operations in the new COVID-19 reality,” says Stewart Jones from RCL Food Partners.

A recent survey conducted by the Restaurant Collective (RIC) among its sit-down restaurant members found that a week after opening, over half of the restaurants had cut their staff complement by more than 50%.

Together with the TBCSA and the Restaurant Collective, a free app has been developed communicating and simplifying the management of the Covid-19 regulations for restaurants, whilst providing clear guidance to keep diners as safe as possible in accordance with guidelines from the National Department of Health, The World Travel and Tourism Council and the World Health Organization.

Every time a meal you purchase a meal, you contribute to another person’s livelihood. So in addition to restaurant support, the #OneMealManyThanks campaign aims to educate South Africans about this chain reaction. Whether you stay home and order in or choose to dine out, we encourage you to play a role in helping to save the industry.

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