Women occupy fewer than 20% of chef positions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And, according to Glassdoor, female chefs earn 28% less than their male counterparts. Clearly, there is a need for more equitable kitchens, which is why Grubhub launched RestaurantHER earlier this year, an initiative dedicated to supporting women-led restaurants and creating more opportunities for female chefs by sending them customers.
Jessica Burns, Grubhub’s head of brand marketing, says the company first conducted research to fully understand the gap that exists for women in the restaurant industry. Then, a series of brainstorms and meetings with Grubhub executives, chefs, and restaurant owners led to a collaboration with Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR). “The partnership with WCR to help women working in restaurants advance their careers was a natural complement to our customer-facing efforts to allow people to easily support female-led restaurants in their area,” Burns tells Refinery29 via email.
Since launching RestaurantHER, Grubhub has utilized both sides of its marketplace, the diners and restaurants, to work toward its goal to advance female leadership in the restaurant industry. During the month of March, diners were encouraged to pledge to eat at, or order delivery from, women-led restaurants through the RestaurantHer website. For each pledge, Grubhub donated $1 (up to $1 million) to WCR. The money raised last month went toward WCR’s scholarship program, which connects women in the culinary industry with formal apprenticeships.
The donations also contributed to the development of a digital toolkit with resources to help restaurant operators build culinary leadership by running equitable kitchens and addressing gender issues in kitchen culture. This is important: Fewer than 7% of head chef positions are held by women, Bloomberg reports.
This isn’t a program that wrapped up with the end of Women’s History Month in March. Grubhub also created a map, which helps diners locate women-led restaurants across the nation. Customers can contribute to the mission by submitting woman-led restaurants in their area that aren't yet on the map.
Burns is encouraging that women can push forward similar initiatives in their workplace, “Take a look at your industry and pinpoint some issues that matter in the space,” she says. “Then interview and listen to as many people who are affected by this issue to more deeply understand, brainstorm, and validate opportunities to impact change.”
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