Guy Fieri, who’s made a career out of championing restaurants and food service workers as America’s unsung heroes, is producing a documentary on the industry as it struggles to survive during COVID-19.
“Restaurant Hustle 2020: All On The Line,” sheds light on four well-known restaurateurs grappling with how to preserve food businesses plagued by shutdowns, capacity limits on indoor and outdoor dining, mounting bills and industry-wide job losses. The documentary, which originally aired during the virtual DOC NYC film festival, will be widely shown on Food Network Dec. 27 at 9 p.m.
“I’ve traveled coast to coast visiting thousands of restaurants across the country on ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,’ and after all the time on the road, it’s clear that restaurants are the heart and soul of their communities,” Fieri told the Food Network. “When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the impact on the restaurant industry was immediate.”
The documentary will highlight prominent chefs and restaurateurs, including New York City-based Marcus Samuelsson, Antonia Lofaso of Los Angeles, “Chopped” judge and chef Maneet Chauhan, and Bronx-bred Christian Petroni as they face shutdowns and employee layoffs and navigate how to resurrect their businesses to serve customers safely.
The documentary comes at a crucial time as restaurants face more government-mandated shutdowns. Los Angeles County on Nov. 25 suspended dining at restaurants, breweries, bars and wineries amid a surge of coronavirus cases. Restaurants and bars are now only able to offer takeout, drive-thru pickup and delivery services. And on Dec. 2, a judge ordered L.A. County health officials to prove there’s scientific evidence that warrants a ban on outdoor dining.
Fieri encouraged fans on social media to follow the California Restaurant Associations’ lawsuit to stop the ban.
And indoor dining in New York City could shut down by next week amid rising COVID case and hospitalization rates.
The National Restaurant Association on Monday sent a letter to Congress asking for a lifeline, saying that upward of 500,000 restaurants are in need of funding. What’s more, the industry advocate estimated that 17% of nationwide restaurants – that’s more than 110,000 establishments – are closed permanently because of pandemic-related economic challenges.