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Toronto Restaurant Workers Crisis Relief Fund

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Supporting 30 Spots in 30 Days: COVID-19 Crisis Relief for Toronto’s Restaurant Workers

The restaurant industry is facing a fallout like it’s never seen before. As more and more people get laid off, many are concerned they won’t be able to cover their basic living expenses. These restaurants play an essential role in shaping the identity of our city, bringing people together and building our community. We want to do everything we can to ensure Toronto’s irreplaceable culinary assets come out stronger after this health pandemic. In looking at the biggest needs within our restaurant community, we believe that it is the workers who are the most vulnerable at this time.

Current Reality 

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant industry has been hit hard. Without money coming in, the whole system falls apart - not only does this affect the owners, but it affects everyone from the dishwashers to the line cooks, the servers to the bartenders. Despite their best efforts, due to the lack of resources, owners of these establishments have had to lay off many of their workers indefinitely.  There are no concrete numbers yet as to how many people will lose their job, but it's estimated that the hospitality industry employs 1.2 million people in Canada.

Who is this fundraiser benefiting?

All the money raised will go to 30 restaurants who have been selected by the TasteToronto community, or nominated by other restaurant owners. The owners of these restaurants will distribute the funds to employees who have found themselves out of a job and in need of emergency financial relief. 

Many restaurant employees and others affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible to receive employment insurance. At this time it is not clear as to when they will have access to their money. We hope to raise as much as we can through this initiative. We know what gets allocated to each restaurant, then divided amongst their employees will not cover each individual's rent. It is meant to help cover immediate and urgent needs. 

How does it work?

Over the next 30 days, 30 restaurants will be featured on TasteToronto’s Instagram (@tastetoronto) providing firsthand accounts of how this pandemic has affected their business and the individuals who make it run. We are calling on our community to nominate the restaurants that they feel should receive aid from our campaign.

100% of the funds raised through this campaign will be distributed evenly among the nominated restaurants at the end of the 30 day period.  These funds will be withdrawn by the organizers of this fundraiser, and all proceeds will be transferred to the participating restaurants upon campaign completion (via Cheque). These funds will then be distributed by the restaurants to their employees in need. 

Our ask

We know these are trying times, but we ask that you donate what you can. No amount is too small and every donation will make a difference.

The complete list of the 30 spots featured are:

1. Cafe Neon
2. Oddseoul
3. The Good Fork
4. Tutti Matti
5. SanRemo Bakery
6. Khao San Road
7. Lazy Daisy Cafe
8. Glory Hole Doughnuts
9. The Beet
10. Short and Sweet Bakeshop
11. Beast Restaurant
12. AVIV Immigrant Kitchen
13. The George Street Diner
14. Sotto Voce Wine and Pasta Bar
15. FK Wine Bar
16. Bar Sybanne
17. Chica’s Chicken
19. The Ace
20. Smith
21. The Wren
22. Prettyugly Bar
23. Bar Reyna
24. Insomnia
25. White Lily Diner
26. Balsamico
27. Union
28. Bunner’s Bakeshop
29. Greta Solomon’s
30. Patois

Our Team


Since 2014, TasteToronto has brought chefs, restaurants and patrons together through one platform that celebrates the vibrant Toronto food scene. Our aim has always been to share and relish in the never-ending amount of delicious food this city has to offer. Historically, we have always shone a spotlight on dishes, but in a time that has altered the hospitality industry indefinitely, we seek to highlight and support the many people that make it possible: chefs, line and prep cooks, dishwashers, servers and hosts. 

The team behind TasteToronto is no different from our community. We love to eat, we love to explore the city and we would be devastated to see some of our favourite restaurants forced to permanently close their doors due to COVID-19. We’re asking you to band together with us and refuse to let that happen. Donate whatever you can to help our city’s restaurants.

Rikki Bennie

Second to her love for her kids and family is her love of food! She is a passionate foodie and frequenter of the many Toronto hotspots. She has a BSc in Foods and Nutrition, a Culinary Skills Certificate from George Brown College and an MBA from the University of Toronto where she worked as a non-profit consultant. When not on maternity leave, Rikki is the VP of Marketing at Newtopia, a health tech company focused on virtual health coaching for employees. 


We want to do anything we can to help our community at this time. We will do everything we can to ensure every dollar donated gets in the hands of individuals who need it most. Please do not hesitate to contact us at [email redacted]


For updates on the government response plan, please visit this link  to learn more on how they plan on helping individuals and businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Fundraising team: TasteToronto (2)

Brad Wishen, TasteToronto
Toronto, ON
Rikki Bennie
Team member

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