Here are this Week's Webinars and COVID News for Chefs and Restaurateurs

Editor's Note: Plate is making coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers. Find more articles here.

It’s been a long and draining journey for restaurants these past eight months as COVID-19 continues to devastate the hospitality industry. The NRA recently reported that 100,000 restaurants have closed since the pandemic started, and consumer spending in restaurants is down 34 percent on average. The RESTAURANTS Act was introduced in the House of Representatives, as part of the revised HEROES Act. Meanwhile, chefs and restaurateurs around the country have been forced to pivot, either focusing on takeout and delivery, shifting to retail modelsexpanding their outdoor spaces to accomodate more diners and rethinking everything about service—from cleaning practices to seating arrangements.

But with colder temperatures on the way, limited indoor dining restrictions, and recently reported risks of dining out in restaurants, chefs and restaurateurs face even harsher challenges heading into fall. As you navigate your next step or cautiously start to open your socially distanced dining rooms, heated outdoor seating areas, or work on new takeout concepts, we’ll keep updating our list of resources, webinars, and financial aid resources. Email us at and tell us how you plan to handle the next phase of your business.


Webinars and Resources

Oct. 20-22: The Food Entrepreneur Summit, presented by Hot Bread Kitchen. Small food business owners are free to attend as many sessions, panels, and cooking demos throughout the three-day virtual conference. Topics include diversity, how restaurateurs and chefs are pivoting to survive, how to use storytelling to communicate identity and more. Speakers include Shaolee Sen (Hot Bread Kitchen), Jen Faigel (Commonwealth Kitchen), Geetika Agrawal (La Cocina), Fauzia Abdur-Rahman (Fauzia’s Heavenly Delights), and Andre Springer (Shaquanda Will Feed You). Click here to register and see the full schedule.

Bar Convent Brooklyn and legal firm DiPasquale & Summers have teamed up to present a new series of informational webinars, videos and online resources to help the hospitality community. The "Law & Libations served by DiPasquale & Summers" series will run every three weeks, and will offer practical and timely updates on the changes in legislation affecting the industry. Click here to watch part one and part two of their recent webinars on how to negotiate your lease and lower your rent

The Illinois Restaurant Association and the University of Illinois Extension, in conjunction with the U of I College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition are hosting free webinars as part of the Scaling Up program. This guide created by the Illinois Department of Commerce spells out outdoor dining guidelines for restaurants and bars, and includes health monitoring, physical workspace guidelines, customer behavior and as more restaurants reopen. Check out all of the past webinars on topics like maximizing guest spaces, using analysis tools for effective menusbreaking the stigma of mental health in restaurants and more.

The Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) has a series of live town hall interviews with chefs and food service professionals that can all be accessed here. Past town hall interviews have featured José Andrés, Nina Compton, Rosa Garcia, Sam KassAndrew Zimmern and Naomi Pomeroy and restaurateur Kevin Boehm. Click here to watch an Instagram live interview with José Andrés and Dr. Anthony Fauci about how to safely reopen restaurants, and click here to watch and share the IRC's powerful TV ad, narrated by Morgan Freeman and produced by Andrew Zimmern, which urges Congress to pass the RESTAURANTS Act. In an effort to get the act passed, the IRC is compiling a list of independent food and beverage establishments that have closed to alert members of congress what's happening in communities across the country. Click here to add a restaurant or bar to the list

The National Restaurant Association is offering useful information and resources on its site, including social distancing guidelines, food safety measures and a ServSafe reopening guideline training video available in English and Spanish. Their education and engagement resource called Restaurants Act aggregates important information and updates on all things COVID-19, including an interactive map of all 50 states and Puerto Rico, filled with information, laws and news. You can also take part in the NRA's restaurant relief efforts every Tuesday, when a collective call is made to congress asking to increase aid to the industry. Download readymade posts and messages in the #TakeActionTuesday toolkit here, or text RECOVERY to 52886.

The NRA is also hosting an ongoing series of webinars. Click here to stay on top of upcoming and past webinars. Past topics have included the future of restaurant menus, how to deal with business interruption insurance claims, reopening guidelines, reimaginging the return of the restaurant experience, best practices in distressed times, how you can support black employees, what to do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19, dealing with employment issues and laws, the road ahead with Sean Kennedy, VP of Public Affairs for the NRA, exploring the future of restaurant spaces and technology, virtual restaurant inspections, former black CEOS in Food Service discuss building and executive suite, paid sick and family leave, managing food safety risk, sanitizing tips, lessons and successes in the food service industry, COVID-19 furloughs, layoffs and WARN act concerns, animal protein sustainability and more available on demand.  

The James Beard Foundation is providing a wealth of resources and information to help restaurateurs and hospitality workers, including guides for safely reopening your restaurant, survey results on what it will take to reopen, chef advocacy toolkits, information on sobriety and metal health and more. Their ongoing webinar series has covered an array of topics (all available on demand) including understanding PPP loans, global considerations for re-opening your restaurant, safety guidelines, the art of the pivot with Esther Choi (Mokbar), Zachary Golper (Bien Cuit), and Eric Rivera (Addo)maximizing your brand in the COVID-19 era, COVID-19 and communities of color, chefs at work in policy and changeusing social media for social good, understanding cash flow and business credit basics, practical safety solutions, underutilized beef cuts across the menu, using social media and PR for impact and more. ​​Have a webinar suggestion? Email with any topics  you'd like discussed. 

Oct. 29 at 2PM EST: Back to Business: Mentorship with Suzanne Cups (232 Bleecker, NYC) and Anita Lo (NYC). Register here

Nov. 2 at 2PM EST: Back to Business: Creating an Agile Business Model. Register here.

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association hosts regular town hall discussions and webinars. Go here to find out about upcoming webinars, watch past ones on topics like Restaurants Rising: Innovation in Fast Casual Concepts, mental health resources for the communityredesigning restaurant spaces for success, how Bay Area bars are navigating the crisis, reopening operations in a socially distanced world, stories of endurance with Shelley Lindgren (A16), Ryan Cole (Hi Neighbor Hospitality), Brandon Jew (Mister Jiu's) and Gayle Pirie (Foreign Cinema), the new restaurant media landscape. Click here to watch past "Voices of our Industry" discussions with Elizabeth Blau (Blau + Associates), Amanda Cohen (Dirt Candy), David Nayfeld (Che Fico, Che Fico Alimentari) and Tyler Akin (Le Cavalier at the Green Room, Stock, Res Ipsa Cafe), and the more recent, New Strategies and Decisions with Tanya Holland, (Brown Sugar Kitchen), Andrew Ghetia, (4505 Burgers and BBQ), Scott Youkilis, Residence at Cheetah, and Laurie Thomas, Executive Director of the GGRA and CEO of Nice Ventures

The GGRA has held two recent webinars resources for metal health. The first can be watched here, and the latest here, featuring panelists Sujan Sarkar (ROOH); Catarina Bill (Southern Smoke Foundation), Joel Rivas (Saint City Culinary Foundation/HEARD), and Patrick Mulvaney (Mulvaney’s B&L, I Got Your Back). 

Datassential holds an ongoing Food + Coronavirus Webinar series every other Thursday at noon. Each webinar reveals new research on the pandemic and its impact on the food service industry, and features the latest consumer insights, operator perspective and industry developments. Register and read about upcoming webinars here

Plate Managing Editor Liz Grossman checked in with chefs and restaurateurs around the country who are in various stages of reopening their bars and restaurants, steps they're taking to keep their staff comfortable and safe, and how they’re rethinking the restaurant experience in the new normal. Panelists included Brian Jupiter (Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods and Frontier), Doug Goettsch (Big Grove Brewery, Pullman Bar & Diner and St Burch Tavern) and Chef/Owner Isaac Toups (Toups' Meatery). Register to watch it on demand here.


General Information 

The Aspen Institute has put out this useful guide to safely reopening your restaurant, called Safety First: Protecting People During Covid-19.

Here are some recent articles to help you with your business:

Jorge Guzman is Checking His Ego and Adapting to New Realities as He Prepares to Open Petite León

Restaurateurs Pin Their Winter Dining Hopes on Greenhouses and Heaters

How We Kept The Kopitiam Family Together Through the Pandemic

Jose Alarcon Shares How He’s Making the Shift From Fine Dining to Fast-Casual

Jorge Guzman is Checking His Ego and Adapting to New Realities as He Prepares to Open Petite León

Asheville’s Vivian Uses a Mix of Casual Menus and Fine Dining Style to Keep Guests and Employees Comfortable

How to Guide Guests Back to Pre-Pandemic Wine Prices at Your Restaurant

Here are Five On-Trend Ideas to Take Al Fresco Dining into Winter

John Shields and Karen Urie-Shields Focus on Tasting Menus, Eclairs and Burgers

How Government Support Kept European Restaurants in Business

Why GoFundMe Campaigns Weren't Enough To Help Restaurant Workers

Junzi's Lucas Sin Wants to Save American-Chinese Takeout

As Americans Flock to National Parks, This Chef is Ready to Feed Them

Leaving Restaurants for a New Career Doesn't Make You a Sell-Out

What It's Like to Be a Brown Sommelier

How We Used Food To Combat a Restaurant Owner's Racist Messages

Little Tong Stays Positive With Her New Venture, Silver Apricot

How to Sell Off Your Wine Cellar

You Should be Identifying the Stars, Horses, Dogs and Puzzles on your Menu

Flying Garnishes Are Just Some of the Challenges Robin Song Faces at The Vault

Brad Kilgore Pivoted from Tasting Menus to Barbecue to Survive

Koffeteria's Vanarin Kuch Explains How He's Stayed Sane While Opening, Closing, and Reopening His Bakery Cafe

It's Time To Take a Whole-Animal Approach to Seafood

Now More than Ever, Restaurant Line Cooks Need Your Support

How to Keep Your Menus Safe Without Breaking The Bank

Why I'm Working to Save Independent Restaurants and How You Can Help

84 Hospitality's Rachel Cope is Embracing Change to Keep Her Restaurants Alive

Eric Adjepong is Staying Optimistic Amid Covid Delays to Open His First Restaurant 

Charleston's Nate Thurston Found Success Launching a Meal Delivery Service During the Pandemic

Gavin Fine Explains the Difference in Reopening for Locals and Tourists

Chefs Find A Way to Create Space for Grief and Loss in Their Restaurants

Chris Ortego of Cotton Blues Shares How He's Completely Transforming His Restaurant to Survive

As Restaurants Reopen, Gloves and Masks are the New Key Ingredient

What to Consider Before Reopening With Reduced Capacity

Chefs Forge a New Way to Sell Their Food By Partnering with Grocery Stores

Is Your Eco-Friendly Takeout Packaging Really Sustainable?

Chefs File Lawsuits as Insurance Companies Reject COVID Claims

The LEE Initiative Expands to Support Restaurant Workers in 19 Community Kitchens Across the Country

How to Close Your Restaurant

Restaurants Pivot to Feed Hospital Workers to Give Back and Stay in Business

Visa Holders Are Caught in the Middle Amid Mass Restaurant Lay-offs

Empleados con Visas Afectados por Despidos Masivos de Restaurantes

What the American Families First Act Means for Restaurant Workers 

These Chefs are Transforming their Restaurants into General Stores

Industry Facebook groups

Here are few pages we are following right now:

Hospitality Industry Alliance | COVID-19

Restaurant Opportunities Centers United

Hospitality Strong


Industry United

Independent Restaurant Coalition

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association

Restaurant Workers Community Foundation

Service Workers United for Power

Another helpful resource for industry workers who are struggling with addiction issues and looking for community right now is Ben’s Friends, a peer support group with outposts across the country. The group has started hosting daily virtual meetings on Zoom, where members of the food and beverage industry can find a safe, anonymous space to discuss their mental health and find solidarity.


We will continue to update this resource list.  Email us at or let us know in the comments about other resources, forums or social media groups you are relying on right now.<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Thank you for sharing<a href="">!</a></span></p>