Updated: 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 four months as COVID-19 continues to devastate the industry. While some restaurants won't make it, others continue to focus on delivery and takeout only, or have pivoted to retail concepts. And in every state, chefs are allowed to reopen at anywhere from 25 to 100 percent capacity with appropriate safety measures in place and patio-seating only. But as cases start to spike around the country, some retaurants are delaying or curtailing reopening plans altogether as more than 100,000 dining rooms have been ordered closed again by state or local mandate since the beginning of July. As you navigate your next step or cautiously start to open your socially distanced dining rooms, outdoor seating areas and patios, 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.


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 last week's webinar 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 past webinars on topics like how to prepare cost-effective menus and breaking the stigma of mental health in restaurants, and menu profitability and costing tools to maximize your menu.

-August 6 at 10AM CST: Maximize Your Guest Space: Architects & Planners Offer Reopening Guidance On Using Your Indoor and Outdoor Space (in English and Spanish). Panelists include Elle Ramel, Founder,  City Open Workshops, Kelly Conolly, PE, Associate, Sam Schwartz Consulting, Joe Vajda, Principal, Aria Group Architects, Inc., Katherine Darnstadt, Founder + Principal Architect, Latent Design. Register here

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 new TV ad, narrated by Morgan Freeman and produced by Andrew Zimmern, which urges Congress to pass the RESTAURANTS Act.  

The National Restaurant Association also has a wealth of information and resources on its site, including social distancing guidelines, food safety measures and a new ServSafe reopening guideline training video available in English and Spanish. They have also released an updated guide to reopening your restaurant that you can download here. 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, or register below. Past webinar topics have included the future of restaurant menus, how to deal with business interruption insurance claims, reopening guidelines, reports about the latest impacts of COVID-19, 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 and more available on demand.

The James Beard Foundation has also ramped up its webinars aimed at providing insight for restaurateurs and hospitality workers. Click here to access past recordings on topics like understanding PPP loans, food producers in the pandemic, global considerations for re-opening your restaurant, safety guidelines, learning the art of the pivot with Esther Choi of Mokbar, Zachary Golper of Bien Cuit, and Eric Rivera of Addo  and more. For more info on initiatives, guides for safely reopening your restaurant, recent survey results on what it will take to reopen, chef advocacy toolkits, information on sobriety and metal health, maximizing your brand in the COVID-19 era, emergency food services and COVID-19, COVID-19 and communities of color COVID and supply chains, the PRIME Act-Regulations, gatekeeping in the hospitality industry with JJ Johnson and Will Guidara, lessons from indigenous food models in a time of pandemic, Save Restaurants, The Restaurant Act, local food challenges and opportunities, chefs at work in policy and change, sustainability and viability of local agriculture, food policy in COVID-19 and more. ​​Have a suggestion for a webinar? Email with any ideas or topics you'd like discussed. 

-August 4 at 2PM EST: Simple Steps to COVID Supply Chain Resiliance. Panelists include VP Nancy Schwartz-Brooks, Sysco Corporation; National Account Manager Brittany Kepple, Hoffmaster; VP Patrick Lynch, Foodbuy LLC; and Owner/Operator Subrina Collier, The Yolk Cafe and Leah and Louise, Charlotte, N.C.; and moderated by Andrew Greene, Chartwells Higher Education Division. Register here.

-August 6 at 2PM EST: Your Voice Matters: Storytelling for Advocacy. Panelists include Kandia Johnson, Founder & Chief Experience Officer, Kandid Conversations; Roshara Sanders, culinary advocate humanitarian and Chefs Boot Camp alumni; Dawn Padmore, Vice President of Culinary Marketing, Karlitz & Company; and Janina Lagemann-Doné, Strategy Director, Giant Spoon; and moderated by Preeti Mistry, Chef, Entrepreneur, The Juhu Beach Club Cookbook. Register here. 

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association is also hosting 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, strategies for dealing with finance and PR, stories of endurance with Shelley Lindgren (A16), Ryan Cole (Hi Neighbor Hospitality), Brandon Jew (Mister Jiu's) and Gayle Pirie (Foreign Cinema) and more.

-August 6 at 4:30PM CST: State of the Industry—The New Restaurant Media Landscape. Panelists include Kim Severson of The New York Times; Eve Batey of Eater SF; and Andrea Strong of Food & Wine. Register here.

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 Chef/Partner Brian Jupiter (Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods and Frontier, Chicago), Managing Partner Doug Goettsch (Big Grove Brewery, Solon and Iowa City, Pullman Bar & Diner and St Burch Tavern, Iowa City) and Chef/Owner Isaac Toups (Toups' Meatery, New Orleans). 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:

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>