A J$30 million initiative to kickstart the COVID-hit local restaurant industry has been launched by the CB Group.
“Recover Together” will begin on June 1 to July 31 and assist some 2,300 restaurants and cook shops across the island to recover from the economic blow and restrictions which resulted in closed doors, layoffs and revenue loss.
Under the initiative, the Group which deals with consumer foods, livestock and fresh produce across its business arms, will help restaurants to reopen their doors and rehire thousands of direct and indirect employees who lost their jobs due to COVID-19.
The package will include flexible credit terms and product discounts of 10 to 20 per cent to ease the financial burden faced over the past three months. Additionally, it will offer marketing support to re-engage the dining public.
According to CB, some 700 food establishments ended operations during the virus pandemic, with those that remained open experiencing a decline of 60 per cent in business on average.
Chief operating officer of the CB Group, Matthew Lyn, said “With an estimated 50,000 employed in this industry, we understand how vital our restaurants are to our economy and the crucial role they play in the sustainability of so many spin off industries like farming, attractions and tourism.
“So when a quarter of our customers said they could not reopen without support and another 65 per cent said they could use a jumpstart we knew we had to step up.”
Under the first phase, CB will contract restaurants to provide meals, gift baskets and restaurant vouchers for frontline workers – doctors, nurses, security, media, utilities and sanitation and transportation workers, who have played essential roles during lockdown.
Lyn said “This two-pronged initiative comes from a place of gratitude and always wanting to make a difference. On the one hand we have our restaurants that are struggling to pay rent and keep their employees, these are our customers who have been there for us over the years and now we have a chance to thank them for that loyalty. On the other hand we have all our essential workers, our doctors, nurses, security forces, sanitation workers who have kept the wheels of this country churning while under lockdown and they too deserve our appreciation.”
The CB Group comprises CB Foods, Newport Mills and Imagination Farms.