We can't wait for the future, so we're building it.

This is a challenging time for our community. The restaurant industry in Detroit has been hard hit by COVID-19, and the response of many Metro Detroit chefs to the crisis has been excellent in the near term. Many chefs have changed their business models to preserve employment. Chefs, struggling to save their own restaurants, have quickly applied their skills to feed their communities, and chefs around the country are raising their voices and calling on congress to bring relief to restaurants. But more is needed.

The coronavirus outbreak has laid bare the failure of an industry that is built on the backs of our most vulnerable workers, and for far too long we have pretended that this was normal. Does it make sense that restaurants are a cash industry, making barely enough to pay workers even in good times?

At FoodLab Detroit, we want to do our part in making sure we are building for the future of the restaurant industry beyond this extraordinary moment, because only one thing seems certain: Whenever the smoke clears, the restaurant scene will look drastically different. Currently at FoodLab we're working harder than ever to ensure that once the quarantine orders are lifted, and the process of recovery begins, we're ready with resources needed to ensure we “build back a more equitable and sustainable industry.” Now is the time for every chef, restaurant worker, farmer, and fisherman to be informed, inspired, and engaged in the important debates and discussions, and in the development of long-term solutions. We hope you’ll join us in this work and use your voice in 2020.

Devita Davison

FoodLab Detroit Executive Director