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Ten Independent Restaurants To Share £50,000 Business Boost as Part of Dine Local Grant Programme

Supported by American Express, Dine Local provides grants to independent restaurants owned by individuals from underrepresented groups

Recipients sharing in the £50,000 grant pot include community small businesses Papa’s Café, Lounge Brixton and Banh Banh Café

Ten independent businesses in Brixton will each receive a £5,000 grant as part of the Dine Local programme, run by the International Downtown Association Foundation and Brixton BID, and supported by American Express.

The grant funding will enable the 10 Brixton-based venues to make critical improvements that drive their business forward. Among the recipients is Lounge Brixton, which is supporting local artists by expanding its live performance space; Papa’s Café, a park-based community cafe serving local residents; and family-run restaurant Banh Banh Café, that plans to install new kitchen equipment for the summer. The full list of Dine Local recipients is below.

This support comes at a critical time for independent restaurants. According to research* commissioned by American Express, over half of people (56%) think independent hospitality businesses in their local area are struggling with staff shortages, while over two thirds (67%) believe the owners of these businesses are worried about their future. Encouragingly, 85% of respondents said they plan to support independent hospitality businesses this year by visiting more frequently or buying takeaway food and drink from them.

Dine Local is part of American Express’ global Backing International Small Restaurants grant programme, established to support culturally significant, independent restaurants owned by individuals from underrepresented groups in major cities across the globe. The initiative seeks to highlight the importance of these venues to their local communities, providing valuable financial support as they recover from the impact of the pandemic.

David Downey, Executive Director, IDA Foundation, said: “The IDA Foundation is pleased to support the recovery of these restaurants who contribute to the identity and vitality of their local community. We look forward to seeing these businesses thrive once again and are inspired by their resilience which enables them to bring people of the neighbourhood together.”

Gianluca Rizzo, Director, Brixton BID, said: “Brixton is all about small and independent businesses. With the hospitality industry being hit hard, Dine Local was the perfect programme for Brixton, coming at a critical time for some of our restaurants. The response from our community was great as always, and I would like to congratulate the winners and encourage everyone local and new to Brixton to discover all our amazing venues and businesses.”

Dan Edelman, General Manager, UK Merchant Services at American Express, added: “After two turbulent years for the hospitality sector, it’s more important than ever to support small, independent restaurants that contribute so much to their local communities. American Express has a long history of backing small businesses, and we’re proud to be supporting these fantastic venues through the Dine Local grants. I’m looking forward to seeing these businesses put their enterprising ideas into action and thriving into the future.”

Dine Local reflects American Express’ wider support for local, independent restaurants. Last month the company announced the second instalment of its Backing Historic Restaurants Grant Programme, which awarded grants to 25 historic small restaurants across the US. Both programmes are part of American Express’ wider Backing Small initiative to provide economically vulnerable small businesses with financial support and other resources to address their critical needs and challenges. They also complement American Express’ Shop Small campaign, a global movement to spotlight small, independent businesses, along with its support of Small Business Saturday - celebrating its 10th anniversary this year in the UK and of which American Express is founder and Principal Supporter.

The full list of Dine Local grant recipients is:

Banh Banh Café – A casual family-run restaurant serving Vietnamese fare in homage to their grandmother, using the grant fund to install new kitchen equipment for dining in and increasing its takeaway offer

Beast of Brixton – An LGBTQIA+ friendly café and bar planning to renovate its indoor and outdoor dining areas, as well as introducing a wheelchair ramp

Black and White Café – A community staple for over 20 years, it plans to use the grant funding to refresh its interior and buy equipment ahead of the summer trading period

Etta’s Seafood Kitchen – Local restaurant whose owner has lived in the area for over 40 years, with plans to introduce a new click and collect service and electric scooter for delivery, as well as contribute to community health workshops

Jalisco – A family-run Latin American inspired restaurant and Brixton Village favourite which employs staff from the local Latin-American community, seeking to buy equipment ahead of the summer trading period

Kamome – A casual Japanese diner which plans to update its ventilation system and purchase a new induction hob, as well as further support efforts to donate surplus food to local charities

Lounge Brixton – A laid-back bar, cafe and eatery which plans to expand its support for local talent by installing a new speaker system, allowing local singers and spoken word artists to perform at the venue

May Foods – Afro-Caribbean restaurant which sponsors various local support programmes, with plans to refurbish its storefront and revitalise staff training, amongst other improvements

Papa’s Café – A community cafe serving in a Brixton park and playground, which plans to buy tables and chairs to improve its dining area, allowing them to host more events for local children

Share a Slice – Pizzeria pop up and social enterprise with plans to restart its ‘pizza at home’ delivery kits trialled during the pandemic, as well as introducing a part-time community manager to support outreach work across in the borough.

*Research conducted by Opinium with 2,000 respondents in January 2022.


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