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ATTN: All Restaurant Workers! Have You Applied for Relief?

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

To all our restaurant, bar, and hospitality professionals out of work,

We know that times are difficult, but we urge you to consider applying for financial relief. There are a lot of grant opportunities and relief funds set up to help and assist YOU!

While these applications might seem a bit daunting, they are set up to help protect you and ensure you can pay your bills and take care of your families for the duration of our pandemic. We HIGHLY RECOMMEND you apply for all of the programs you qualify for. A lot of these grants are being offered on a first come, first served basis. PLEASE DO NOT WAIT: APPLY TODAY!

If you have any questions, we are here for you! If we cannot answer your questions, we can direct you to another person or institution that can help.

Restaurant Employee Relief Fund - The Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (“Fund”) was created to help restaurant industry employees experiencing extraordinary hardship in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Through this Fund, grants will be made to restaurant industry employees who have been impacted by COVID-19, including a decrease in wages or loss of employment. 

Grants will be awarded as soon as possible to those individuals who meet the prescribed eligibility criteria, as reviewed and verified by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). Subject to the availability of funds contributed to the Fund, a one-time grant of $500 will be disbursed directly to the applicant following NRAEF’s review and confirmation that their submitted application meets the prescribed guidelines. Awards will be limited to one grant per person. This Fund is operated by the NRAEF, whose mission is to attract, empower and advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workers.

They released a statement saying their site and the application process was in high demand, so please be patient and check back frequently.


Another Round, Another Rally - "In this time of need we are here to help. We have been working for the last two years to develop the infrastructure to help with just this sort of emergency. We are all worried and unsure of what the future holds as the situation changes rapidly.

This relief fund is set up to get funds to as many applicants as possible as quickly as we are able to raise them. We are distributing $500 relief grants. Anyone in the hospitality industry, dishwasher, bartender, server, busser, chef, cook, sommelier, manager, host, concierge, cleaning staff, or barback may apply for funds We distribute funds via Venmo, Cashapp, Zelle, or Paypal so those in need can get funds as quickly as possible. If you do not have a bank account we can also send funds via check or visa gift card but it may take longer to receive.

Stay safe.We will get through this together."

They released a statement regarding high volume: "Due to massive response we have temporarily shut down our phone interviews in order to process all the current respondents. Please check back next Monday for an update. Thank you for your patience!"


United States Bartenders Guild National Charity Foundation - Bartender Emergency Assistance Program - You do NOT need to be a current member of the USBG, but you do need to ensure you comply with their eligibility requirements.


One Fair Wage Emergency Fund - "Restaurant workers, gig worker and other hourly workers are facing unprecedented economic hardship from the coronavirus crisis. It’s our turn to serve them. We’re providing cash assistance to restaurant workers, car service drivers, delivery workers, personal service workers and more who need the money they aren’t getting to survive."

"PLEASE NOTE: We are actively raising money for this emergency fund and will be making temporary cash gifts to workers as funding becomes available. This information collected will only be used for the purposes of communicating with you for follow-up steps. We are receiving a significant number of applications, so we appreciate your understanding. Upon completing this form, we hope that an organizer from One Fair Wage will reach out to you shortly to confirm your information. However please be patient, we are being inundated with requests. We hope to raise as much funding as possible to meet as much of the demand as we can. We know you're struggling and we want to help."


Restaurant Opportunities Center United - "In this time of crisis, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United is providing resources and financial assistance to restaurant workers impacted by the coronavirus crisis. If you’re a restaurant worker and need to apply for financial help, fill out the form below and we will follow up with you."

Update: "We are temporarily pausing our application form as we work through the thousands of applications already submitted. Please check back tomorrow for an update. Please be safe and check here for local and state resources:"


Serviceindustry.Tips - "Service industry workers across the world are already being hurt by social distancing recommendations and the economic effects of COVID-19, and many servers, bartenders, and other industry folks are being told they may not have a reliable source of income for a couple of months.

All of us have seen suggestions that people should “tip” our bartenders while we are hunkered down at home and pour our own drinks, and we built a way to do just that. It’s simple and it’s totally free. This will not completely solve our neighbors' financial challenges, but we have been told again and again by our server and bartender friends that it is a great morale booster to see a sign that someone cares."

If you are a service industry worker - Select your city. Fill out a simple form to be added to the list


Southern Smoke Foundation - "Southern Smoke is a nonprofit 501c3 charitable foundation. Our Emergency Relief Program provides emergency funding to those employed by or own restaurants or bars or are employed by a restaurant or bar supplier that are faced unforeseen expenses that cannot or will not be covered by insurance. We stand with those in our community and are committed to “taking care of our own”.

Application Verification and Award process: Each application will be verified by the Executive Director or a committee of volunteers. Once applications are verified, the application will be distributed to a separate Awards Committee. The Awards Committee will be made up of trusted community members. The Awards Committee will select awardees by vote and will determine the awarded amount to be distributed. All funds granted are subject to taxation to the greatest extent of the law. Please only apply if insurance is not providing you with compensation for your emergency."

If you have been following along with the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation updates, their relief funds are being processed and handled through Southern Smoke.


CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees) - If you have children and need assistance providing for your family at this time, please visit CORE's resources page for additional information and how to apply for assistance.


Lastly, if you are an out of work hospitality professional, please apply for unemployment. Click here for TN's unemployment application.


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