Black Lives Matter. Standing with the Black Restaurant Community

Toast Restaurant Community,

During the past few weeks, the restaurant community has been focused on getting their businesses ready for reopening – eager to emerge from the fallout of a global pandemic and in hopes of resuming some semblance of normalcy. But following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others, and the nationwide protests that followed, it’s become clear that now is not the time to simply go back to “business as usual.”

It’s taken us too long to speak about this critical moment in our nation’s history. While we’ve made statements on our social channels, we wanted to take time to listen and reflect in order to provide concrete next steps. Now it’s time we share those actions directly with our community.

At Toast, there is no place for racism in our industry. We stand with the Black community against police violence, systemic racism, and hate in all forms. For those hurting, know that Toast supports your right to be seen and heard. Black people and people of color currently make up 48.1 percent of our industry; these communities are not only an integral part of the restaurant industry today but are foundational to its very existence.

We have also experienced firsthand how food and hospitality can, in some small way, bring people together during times of uncertainty. We’ve been heartened by the solidarity shown by restaurants across the country in support of the Black community. Take Shouk, in Washington, DC that shared a message of unity after facing damage to one of their locations, or Crab Boss in Brandywine, MD that encouraged their community to act together as one voice against racism.

At Toast, our purpose is to enrich the food experience for all, and while we’ve made measurable progress with our technology, we know we’re just getting started when it comes to creating opportunities for learning and change for all within our industry. This effort must be built sustainably over the long-term, both into how we work internally and with our customer community. To start, I believe there are steps we can take today to facilitate a discussion and bring people together:

  • We will use our industry voice and platforms like On the Line to highlight Black-owned restaurants and the organizations that support them.
  • We will work within our philanthropic arm, Toast.org, to make our technology and services more accessible to minority-owned restaurants and take steps to open up our network to first-time operators through mentorship programs.
  • In the coming months we will train members of our team at Toast to provide pro-bono consulting for minority-owned restaurants on our platform to make sure they’re well-positioned to recover from the impact of COVID-19.
  • Through Toast.org we will donate $200,000 to charitable organizations identified and vetted by members of our DEI Council.
  • To support our team of passionate Toasters, we will work hard to empower our managers and take steps to ensure we measure and increase the diversity of our team across all levels.

These are tough times, but the restaurant community continues to show its true colors. You are as resilient as ever, speaking out in support and remaining steadfast in your commitment to uniting with your communities and neighbors. We promise to lead by example, but we also need your help; please share your stories of fighting injustice with [email protected] so we can amplify these voices. Our commitment to you is we will continue to communicate progress on the steps noted above as we drive meaningful change together.

With love,

Chris and the Toast team