By BCN Staff Writer Mecca Hinnant – May 31, 2021 — Black-owned restaurants, food trucks, and bakeries in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee are now being showcased in the Southeast region of Black Restaurant Week.
Black Restaurant Week, founded by Warren Luckett, Falayn Ferrell and Derek Robinson, is dedicated to celebrating the flavors of African American, African, and Caribbean cuisine. The event began in Houston in 2016 and is now growing nationwide.
This year, the company began their “No Crumb Left Behind” campaign with businesses across the U.S.. Luckett, Black Restaurant Week founder and managing partner said, “We had phenomenal success last year with the regional campaigns and wanted to continue that model to help businesses nationwide.”
Black Restaurant Week supports restaurateurs, bartenders, chefs, caterers, bakeries and food trucks, he said. In 2020, the organization showcased 670 Black-owned culinary businesses across the U.S. and generated an average of 34% sales increase.
The company’s expansion includes Toronto, the Gulf Coast, Pacific Northwest, Southwest, and Arkansas is included in their Southeastern region. “This is the sixth year of the tour, and we are excited to be coming to the Southeastern region in states like Arkansas for the first time,” said Robinson.
The campaign’s initiatives and virtual events includes free entry-level business registration and inclusion in the national culinary directory on Black Restaurant Week’s website and a day-long business development conference, and Power of the Palate virtual national cocktail competition with Maker’s Mark and a the chance to win $5,000 among other things all designed to increase the business’s exposure on a national and local scale.
Robinson described the series of events as the organization’s “largest tour to date.” And possibly the most important following the effects of COVID-19 on minority businesses nationwide. 41% of Black-owned businesses have shuttered since February 2020 compared to 17% of white-owned businesses.
“The premise of this marketing awareness campaign is to promote the restaurants a platform they would not traditionally receive on both a local and national level,” said Robinson. “The goal is to increase the businesses traffic and for that traffic to continue after the campaign has ended.”
So don’t worry if you missed the events hosted by Black Restaurant Week in the Southeastern region, Robinson said, you can still support the businesses involved by visiting the company’s website and utilizing their national directory for culinary listings
Bundtz by Rod is a bakery managed by Roderick Cross located in Sherwood, Ark. The owner and operator of the local business went full-time with his bakery at the beginning of this year when his corporate job came to an end after more than a decade. Cross said when he was approached by the organization it was nothing short of a great opportunity.
“Anytime you get the chance to promote your business on several platforms, you’re going to want to take advantage of that opportunity,” said Cross. “I’m thankful for the exposure,” he continued.
He also believes the efforts of the campaign are paying off. Explaining that although he has offered nationwide shipping for the past four to five years, he shipped to Tennessee for the first time, following participation in the campaign. Tennessee is included in the Southeastern region along with Kentucky and Arkansas as well.
Their next restaurant week will begin in the Northeastern region in Delaware, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, from June 4 through June 13. This year’s corporate partners include Pepsi, Grubhub, Maker’s Mark, Stella Artois, and Bacardi. For more information about Black Restaurant Week, its events, and participating restaurants, visit blackrestaurantweeks.com
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