COVID-19-related restaurant closures have left farmers without important buyers and restaurant workers without employment. These new disruptions endangered not only the restaurant industry, but also the relationships between producers and restaurants. The Restaurant Reboot Relief Program (RRRP) was designed to help maintain and strengthen the relationships between independent restaurants and local farmers.
To maintain these relationships, and to create the foundation for a more resilient restaurant industry, the LEE Initiative provided stipends to local farms in 20 regions across the U.S. to ensure continued food production for restaurants. These farmers were then given a list of selected independent restaurants that could purchase farm products on credit provided by the program. This allowed restaurants to lower ingredient costs while still acquiring local products, providing high-quality food to patrons, retaining restaurant workers, and maintaining markets for and relationships with farmers.
The LEE Initiative donated over $1,000,000 to farmers in 20 different regions of the U.S. These farmers gave high quality products to restaurants for use in their normal operations as well as in their temporary conversion to food relief kitchens. The LEE Initiative created multiple innovative models for local supply chains, emergency food relief, and restaurant diversification. These models are being implemented in locations throughout the United States.