Here are Upcoming Webinars and COVID News for Chefs and Restaurateurs

Editor's Note: Plate is making coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers. Find more articles here.

It’s been a long and draining journey for restaurants as COVID-19 continues to devastate the hospitality industry. Even as some cities begin to lift indoor dining restrictions and capacity, many restaurateurs are chosing to rely on takeout and outdoor dining only until it's safe to fully open dining rooms. As you navigate your next step or cautiously start to open your socially distanced dining rooms, heated outdoor seating areas, or work on takeout menus or virtual kitchen concepts, we’ll keep updating our list of resources, both recorded and upcoming webinars, and financial aid resources. Email us at and tell us how you plan to handle the next phase of your business.

Webinars and Resources

The Food Group launched a roundtable series that addresses the current inequalities within the food service industry along with Reset the Table. The new digital series will bring together everyone—from leading chefs to manufacturers and everyone in between—to openly discuss the industry’s biggest challenges and what it will take to resolve them. Click here to watch a recent webinar on how sexism and racism have created a culture of discrimination and abuse within the foodservice industry, featuring Selassie Atadika (Midunu and Policy Change Advocate), Michelle Robinson (Sodexo), Kamillah Knight (Éclat Culture). Register here.   


Bar Convent Brooklyn and legal firm DiPasquale & Summers have teamed up to present a new series of informational webinars, videos and online resources to help the hospitality community. The "Law & Libations served by DiPasquale & Summers" series will run every three weeks, and will offer practical and timely updates on the changes in legislation affecting the industry. Click here to watch part one and part two of their recent webinars on how to negotiate your lease and lower your rent.

The Illinois Restaurant Association and the University of Illinois Extension, in conjunction with the U of I College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition are hosting free webinars as part of the Scaling Up program. This guide created by the Illinois Department of Commerce spells out outdoor dining guidelines for restaurants and bars, and includes health monitoring, physical workspace guidelines, customer behavior and as more restaurants reopen. Check out all of the past webinars on topics like maximizing guest spaces, using analysis tools for effective menusbreaking the stigma of mental health in restaurants and more.

The Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) has a series of live town hall interviews with chefs and food service professionals that can all be accessed here. Past town hall interviews have featured José Andrés, Nina Compton, Rosa Garcia, Sam KassAndrew Zimmern and Naomi Pomeroy and restaurateur Kevin Boehm. Click here to watch an Instagram live interview with José Andrés and Dr. Anthony Fauci about how to safely reopen restaurants, and click here to watch and share the IRC's powerful TV ad, narrated by Morgan Freeman and produced by Andrew Zimmern, which urges Congress to pass the RESTAURANTS Act. In an effort to get the act passed, the IRC is compiling a list of independent food and beverage establishments that have closed to alert members of congress what's happening in communities across the country. Click here to add a restaurant or bar to the list

The National Restaurant Association is offering useful information and resources on its site, including social distancing guidelines, food safety measures and a ServSafe reopening guideline training video available in English and Spanish. Their education and engagement resource called Restaurants Act aggregates important information and updates on all things COVID-19, including an interactive map of all 50 states and Puerto Rico, filled with information, laws and news. You can also take part in the NRA's restaurant relief efforts every Tuesday, when a collective call is made to congress asking to increase aid to the industry. Download readymade posts and messages in the #TakeActionTuesday toolkit here, or text RECOVERY to 52886.

The NRA is also hosting an ongoing series of webinars. Click here to stay on top of upcoming and past webinars. Past topics have included the future of restaurant menus, how to deal with business interruption insurance claims, reopening guidelines, reimaginging the return of the restaurant experience, best practices in distressed times, how you can support black employees, what to do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19, dealing with employment issues and laws, the road ahead with Sean Kennedy, VP of Public Affairs for the NRA, exploring the future of restaurant spaces and technology, virtual restaurant inspections, former black CEOS in Food Service discuss building and executive suite, paid sick and family leave, managing food safety risk, sanitizing tips, lessons and successes in the food service industry, COVID-19 furloughs, layoffs and WARN act concerns, animal protein sustainability, how to stay close to customers during distanced times, navigating threats to the industry, managing stress and staff morale, how AI will affect the industry, vaccinating your workforce, how to maximize new laws to improve your bottom line, and more available on demand.

The James Beard Foundation is providing a wealth of resources and information to help restaurateurs and hospitality workers, including guides for safely reopening your restaurant, survey results on what it will take to reopen, chef advocacy toolkits, information on sobriety and metal health and more. Their ongoing webinar series has covered an array of topics (all available on demand) including understanding PPP loans, global considerations for re-opening your restaurant, safety guidelines, the art of the pivot with Esther Choi (Mokbar), Zachary Golper (Bien Cuit), and Eric Rivera (Addo)maximizing your brand in the COVID-19 era, COVID-19 and communities of color, chefs at work in policy and changeusing social media for social good, understanding cash flow and business credit basics, practical safety solutions, underutilized beef cuts across the menu, using social media and PR for impact, running a restaurant during COVID, creating an agile business model, restaurant leadership and the pandemic, reinventing the bar, the election and food policy, supporting local and regional food systems, mental health, pivots for the future and more. ​​Have a webinar suggestion? Email with topics you'd like discussed. 

April 6 at 2PM EST: Chefs for School Food: Combating hunger during COVID-19. Register here.

April 9-10: Hindsight 20/21-What I Wish I'd Known. Register here

April 15 at 3PM EST: Fostering Empathetic Leadership in Culinary Professionals. Register here

April 19 at 1PM EST: Integrating National Consumer Survey Results into Future Planning. Register here.

May 17 at 1PM EST: Next Steps to Support Local Food Systems in Times of Uncertain Consumer Behavior. Register here.

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association hosts regular town hall discussions and webinars. Go here to find out about upcoming webinars, watch past ones on topics like Restaurants Rising: Innovation in Fast Casual Concepts, mental health resources for the communityredesigning restaurant spaces for success, how Bay Area bars are navigating the crisis, reopening operations in a socially distanced world, stories of endurance with Shelley Lindgren (A16), Ryan Cole (Hi Neighbor Hospitality), Brandon Jew (Mister Jiu's) and Gayle Pirie (Foreign Cinema), the new restaurant media landscape. Click here to watch past "Voices of our Industry" discussions with Elizabeth Blau (Blau + Associates), Amanda Cohen (Dirt Candy), David Nayfeld (Che Fico, Che Fico Alimentari) and Tyler Akin (Le Cavalier at the Green Room, Stock, Res Ipsa Cafe), and the more recent, New Strategies and Decisions with Tanya Holland, (Brown Sugar Kitchen), Andrew Ghetia, (4505 Burgers and BBQ), Scott Youkilis, Residence at Cheetah, and Laurie Thomas, Executive Director of the GGRA and CEO of Nice Ventures or click here to watch State of the Industry: Hospitality at the Heart of San Francisco Presented by Greenleaf and Square. Moderator is Golden Gate Restaurant Association’s Executive Director, Laurie Thomas, and panelists include: Andrea Johnston, Chief Operating Officer, OpenTableJoe D’Alessandro, President & CEO, SF Travel AssociationJoaquín Torres, Director, San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce DevelopmentRodney Fong, President and CEO, SF Chamber of Commerce; and Kelly Powers, Director, Hotel Council of San Francisco. Other recent webinars covered topics like best practices for ventilation, shared space best practices and more.   

The GGRA has held two webinars about metal health. The first can be watched here, and the latest here, featuring panelists Sujan Sarkar (ROOH); Catarina Bill (Southern Smoke Foundation), Joel Rivas (Saint City Culinary Foundation/HEARD), and Patrick Mulvaney (Mulvaney’s B&L, I Got Your Back).​

General Information 

The Aspen Institute has put out this useful guide to safely reopening your restaurant, called Safety First: Protecting People During Covid-19.

Here are some recent articles to help you with your business:​
Why Ursula Siker of Chicago's Jew-"ish" Deli Jeff & Judes Prefers Baker to Chef

Pitmaster Matt Horn Serves His Smoked Meats with a Side of Resilience in Oakland

How Restaurateurs are Launching Virtual Concepts From Their Existing Restaurants

How Leonardo and Zweli Williams Bring the Durham Community Together With Piri Piri Chicken and More at Zweli's

A New Nonprofit Aims to Help Working Parents in Restaurants

How Leonardo and Zweli Williams Bring the Durham Community Together With Piri Piri Chicken and More at Zweli's​This Oklahoma City "Wine Pub" Blends Cozy Vibes with Political Advocacy

Will Food Halls Be the Future of Independent Restaurants?


Devin Kreller is Rethinking His Menu and Typical Kitchen Culture at Chicago's Wood

Jorge Guzman is Checking His Ego and Adapting to New Realities as He Prepares to Open Petite León

Restaurateurs Pin Their Winter Dining Hopes on Greenhouses and Heaters

How We Kept The Kopitiam Family Together Through the Pandemic

Jose Alarcon Shares How He’s Making the Shift From Fine Dining to Fast-Casual

Jorge Guzman is Checking His Ego and Adapting to New Realities as He Prepares to Open Petite León

Asheville’s Vivian Uses a Mix of Casual Menus and Fine Dining Style to Keep Guests and Employees Comfortable

How to Guide Guests Back to Pre-Pandemic Wine Prices at Your Restaurant

Here are Five On-Trend Ideas to Take Al Fresco Dining into Winter

John Shields and Karen Urie-Shields Focus on Tasting Menus, Eclairs and Burgers

How Government Support Kept European Restaurants in Business

Why GoFundMe Campaigns Weren't Enough To Help Restaurant Workers

Junzi's Lucas Sin Wants to Save American-Chinese Takeout

As Americans Flock to National Parks, This Chef is Ready to Feed Them

Leaving Restaurants for a New Career Doesn't Make You a Sell-Out

What It's Like to Be a Brown Sommelier

How We Used Food To Combat a Restaurant Owner's Racist Messages

Little Tong Stays Positive With Her New Venture, Silver Apricot

How to Sell Off Your Wine Cellar

You Should be Identifying the Stars, Horses, Dogs and Puzzles on your Menu

Flying Garnishes Are Just Some of the Challenges Robin Song Faces at The Vault

Brad Kilgore Pivoted from Tasting Menus to Barbecue to Survive

Koffeteria's Vanarin Kuch Explains How He's Stayed Sane While Opening, Closing, and Reopening His Bakery Cafe

It's Time To Take a Whole-Animal Approach to Seafood

Now More than Ever, Restaurant Line Cooks Need Your Support

How to Keep Your Menus Safe Without Breaking The Bank

Why I'm Working to Save Independent Restaurants and How You Can Help

84 Hospitality's Rachel Cope is Embracing Change to Keep Her Restaurants Alive

Eric Adjepong is Staying Optimistic Amid Covid Delays to Open His First Restaurant 

Charleston's Nate Thurston Found Success Launching a Meal Delivery Service During the Pandemic

Gavin Fine Explains the Difference in Reopening for Locals and Tourists

Chefs Find A Way to Create Space for Grief and Loss in Their Restaurants

Chris Ortego of Cotton Blues Shares How He's Completely Transforming His Restaurant to Survive

As Restaurants Reopen, Gloves and Masks are the New Key Ingredient

What to Consider Before Reopening With Reduced Capacity

Chefs Forge a New Way to Sell Their Food By Partnering with Grocery Stores

Is Your Eco-Friendly Takeout Packaging Really Sustainable?

Chefs File Lawsuits as Insurance Companies Reject COVID Claims

The LEE Initiative Expands to Support Restaurant Workers in 19 Community Kitchens Across the Country

How to Close Your Restaurant

Restaurants Pivot to Feed Hospital Workers to Give Back and Stay in Business

Visa Holders Are Caught in the Middle Amid Mass Restaurant Lay-offs

Empleados con Visas Afectados por Despidos Masivos de Restaurantes

What the American Families First Act Means for Restaurant Workers 

These Chefs are Transforming their Restaurants into General Stores

Industry Facebook groups

Here are few pages we are following right now:

Hospitality Industry Alliance | COVID-19

Restaurant Opportunities Centers United

Hospitality Strong


Industry United

Independent Restaurant Coalition

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association

Restaurant Workers Community Foundation

Service Workers United for Power

Another helpful resource for industry workers who are struggling with addiction issues and looking for community right now is Ben’s Friends, a peer support group with outposts across the country. The group has started hosting daily virtual meetings on Zoom, where members of the food and beverage industry can find a safe, anonymous space to discuss their mental health and find solidarity.


We will continue to update this resource list.  Email us at or let us know in the comments about other resources, forums or social media groups you are relying on right now.<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Thank you for sharing<a href="">!</a></span></p>