11 million independent restaurant employees will lose their jobs if we don't act 

The Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) was formed to save the local restaurants affected by COVID-19. IRC is founded on the simple belief that there is power to affect legislative change if we unite our voice.


This national movement is quickly growing and EVERYONE is welcome to join. Together, as small businesses across this country, we represent up to 4% of the nation's GDP.


For the 11 million people across the country employed by restaurants -- and the hundreds of millions of workers up and down the food supply and delivery chain who depend on restaurants -- these small businesses cannot fail.


Join us and you’ll get:

  • A united voice to speak directly to lawmakers making timely decisions about the fate of the restaurant industry

  • Daily briefing about key legislative updates

  • Social media call-to-action and how you can mobilize your community and network

  • Social media toolkit

  • Key messages and opportunities to speak with media about this vital issue


Local, independent restaurants are the backbone of our communities, tourism, and redevelopment in every corner of the U.S.  We directly employ over 11 million people across the country, and indirectly employ hundreds of million of workers up and down the food supply and delivery chain -- from growers, packers, fisherman, linen services, delivery people and more -- who depend on the continued revenue of restaurants to stay in business.


We contribute $1 trillion to our economy, and represent 4% of our GDP.   With the COVID-19 pandemic, we are closed for business.  As of today, up to seven million people have been laid off, and millions of our suppliers will have their bills go unpaid, creating an unprecedented trickle down effect of economic damage to local restaurants and the small businesses that rely on them.   We are the lifeblood of our economy and our communities, and we need help.


Independent restaurants are small businesses.  But, unlike many other small businesses, our cash flow is completely dependent on current business.  The bills from 45 days ago are paid with revenue earned today. If there is no revenue, those bills go unpaid.  Independent restaurants estimate that there needs to be a minimum of $150 billion cash flow just to pay our current bills, rent, and taxes– and that’s before we pay our employees, who are the front line of service in this hospitality industry and the backbone to the local economies our businesses sustain.


In the financial meltdown of 2008, the federal government bailed out institutions that were “too big to fail” while paying too little attention to the workers who needed help the most. Today, in the case of independent restaurants, “there are too many to fail.” 


Providing economic assistance for the independent restaurant industry is one of the most critical investments to bring our economy back, and the most visible step to give all Americans confidence that we will all come out of this.  We are uniquely positioned for quick, efficient distribution of funds to tens of millions of workers up and down the food supply and delivery chain and can play a critical role in the swift administration of the federal government’s relief efforts during COVID-19.



  • Restaurants generate $880 Billion per year in revenue.

  • 90% of that revenue gets paid out directly to our employees, suppliers, and for rent.

  • The economic activity generated by restaurants account for 4% of the nation’s GDP.

  • The federal government can use the restaurant industry’s existing systems to
    administer aid across the many concomitant businesses that rely upon us to stay afloat.

The Independent Restaurant Coalition proposes
the following relief for the restaurant industry:
6-month income replacement program valued at $440 B, conditioned upon full and continued employment of all restaurant staff, payment of rents to landlords, and ongoing payables to suppliers.
An income-replacement grant program that allows us to pay our suppliers will empower these businesses in turn to pay their own, with a protective effect immediately felt up and throughout the supply chain.
No size limit eligibility attached to this income grant relief as many seemingly large restaurant groups are comprised of dozens of smaller operators, all facing the same catastrophic effects of closure due to COVID-19.
For press inquiries, please contact
Who is the IRC?

The IRC was created by an independent group of chefs including the collaborators below and organizations including Food Policy Action and the James Beard Foundation. Anyone can join and everyone has a voice. We support all organizations working to support our restaurant community. 

Sam Kass

Tom Colicchio

Erika Polmar

Andrew Carmellini

Ashley Christensen 

Will Guidara

Sean Brock

Kwame Onwuachi

Camilla Marcus

Kevin Boehm

Donnie Madia

Naomi Pomeroy

Andrew Zimmern

Marcus Samuelsson

Steven Satterfield 

Bobby Stuckey

Nick Kokonas

José Andrés

+ hundreds of other local restaurateurs around the country
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💙 In loving memory of Chef Floyd Cardoz 💛