Pepsi using social media to help get restaurants back on their feet

Building on the company's more than $50 million commitment for COVID-19 relief, PepsiCo Foodservice is announcing four new programs aimed at supporting restaurants and their workers who have been hard hit by the crisis. Currently, 8 million restaurant workers are unemployed due to COVID-19. Three percent of restaurants in the U.S. – approximately 30,000 – have already permanently closed, and countless others are struggling to keep their doors open*.

"Restaurants are connective hubs of our communities, where we enjoy our daily routines as well as celebrate our most special moments. The people who work in restaurants are the ones who make those moments possible and we're mobilizing everyone we can to help them right now," said Scott Finlow, chief marketing officer, PepsiCo Global Foodservice. "Through these relief programs and virtual events, we're giving people multiple ways to come together in support of restaurants and restaurant workers nationwide."

To support the foodservice industry during this challenging time, PepsiCo is introducing the following initiatives:

The World Needs More Good News

To support struggling restaurant workers, PepsiCo committed $1 million to help kick start the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (RERF) created by celebrity chef Guy Fieri and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). The fund provides $500 grants to industry employees who've been impacted by COVID-19, including a significant decrease in wages or loss of employment.

On his digital show Some Good News, filmmaker and actor John Krasinski surprised Fieri when he shared PepsiCo's commitment to raise an additional $3 million for the RERF. One of the best parts of that surprise included a Pepsi logo drawn by Krasinski's daughters. Americans can join the mission by purchasing a Pepsi T-shirt or tote featuring this special artwork at Sevenly.org; 100 percent of proceeds will go to the RERF.

"Nacho Average Showdown" to Support RERF: May 15

Nacho-loving rivals Guy Fieri and Bill Murray are teaming up to present "Nacho Average Showdown," a live virtual nacho-making competition presented by Tostitos to raise awareness and donations to the RERF. The competition will be judged by basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal, actor Terry Crews and emceed by Food Network host Carla Hall.

Along with partners like Uber Eats, Tito's Handmade Vodka, Ecolab, Modelo Negra, Tyson Foods and Food Network, the event will provide some laughs and raise much needed funds for restaurant workers facing financial hardship. Food Network will broadcast the competition live on Friday, May 15 at 5 p.m. EST/2 p.m. PST at Facebook.com/FoodNetwork. Viewers will be encouraged to contribute to RERF via the donate button.

Staying In Is the New Going Out

PepsiCo is inviting consumers to bolster eateries with The Great American Takeout. By ordering at least one meal a week for delivery or pickup, people can help keep restaurants in business – and spread the word by sharing what they ordered using the hashtag #TheGreatAmericanTakeout.

On Friday, May 15 at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST, PepsiCo will host a virtual Dinner & A Movie in support of The Great American Takeout. The free event includes a screening of A Fine Line, an award-winning film that ignites dialogue on female leadership in the kitchen and beyond, exploring why less than 7 percent of head chefs and restaurant owners are women. The movie will be followed by a live discussion with featured chefs Cat Cora, Tanya Holland, Maricel Presilla and Val James, who'll share their personal experiences and how they're finding creative ways to help restaurant employees and stay in business. People can join PepsiCo and The Great American Takeout by registering for the debut of A Fine Line on YouTube Premiere. The post-screening discussion will be available on CrowdCast.

With 8 million Latinos normally employed in restaurants, hotels and other jobs at high risk of health and economic loss, PepsiCo also teamed up with UNIVISION to create a public service announcement (PSA) to further support The Great American Takeout. The PSA features Jesús Díaz, aka Chef Yisus, host of cooking segment on "Despierta América," the most-watched morning show on Spanish-language television.

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© 2016 Rick Limpert and Wireless Wednesday Live

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