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Food Service Industry Updates Franchising Industry Updates

Only 8% of Restaurants are Owned by Blacks, but That’s About to Change

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Pathways to Black Franchise Ownership aims to create 100 Black-owned franchise restaurants by the end of 2022 and to continue growing that number. (iStock/Lyndon Stratford)

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) wants to help increase the number of Black-owned restaurants. The organization, which represents the restaurant and foodservice industry, estimates that only 8% of restaurants are currently owned by Black people.

The NRA’s affilifate, the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA), is teaming with 4thMVMT and PepsiCo on a collaboration to provide leadership development and increase business ownership opportunities for Black people in the restaurant industry. The organizations are launching the Pathways to Black Franchise Ownership program, an innovative personal development training initiative that equips potential business owners to operate high-performing businesses. 

The program’s goal is to create 100 Black-owned franchise restaurants by the end of 2022 and to continue growing that number.

Founded in Minneapolis in 1996, the MFHA strives for diversity and inclusion in the industry. The association’s mission includes strengthening operations and developing talent and workforce for the restaurant and foodservice industry. 4thMVMT is a Los Angeles based firm that invests in Black and Latino people who have “an incredible tenacity for entrepreneurship” but lack the access to capital, operational resources and networks required to start and grow a competitive business. PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo owns and operates several food and beverage brands including Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. The founding sponsor, PepsiCo has committed $2.5 million over the next five years to build and sustain the program.

“As part of our initiative to support Black-owned restaurants, we’re proud to partner in unlocking access to ownership, recognizing it can have a massive positive ripple effect benefiting Black communities,” said Scott Finlow, chief marketing officer for PepsiCo Global Foodservice. “We hope our investment will create a ripple effect of its own, inspiring more companies to get involved.”

Gerry Fernandez, president and founder of MFHA, said Black people are underrepresented in the ownership category of the restaurant and foodservice industry, even though the industry is one of the most diverse in the economy.

“Training and access to capital remain significant barriers for Black women and men who want to own their own restaurant,” said Fernandez, a 40-year industry veteran who will focus on strategic alignment with the NRA as well as outreach to restaurant company CEOs.

Karim Webb, CEO of 4thMVMT and a Buffalo Wild Wings franchise owner, believes the collaboration will help hundreds of people become business owners who otherwise wouldn’t have had the resources to do so.

“These folks will experience improved outcomes for themselves and their families, enabling them to become civically engaged leaders in communities across America,” he added. “This growth will benefit us all.”

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