ASHEVILLE – The Good Food Media Network has released its fifth annual list of the Good Food 100, which honors restaurants for not just how good their food tastes, but how good it is for every link of the food chain, from farm to fork.
The network also released its newly launched Good Food Confidence Index results, which benchmark attitudes and outlooks for the restaurant industry.
First, the list.
This year, it included a whopping 124 restaurant groups representing every region of the United States including Asheville, where Posana and The Market Place were honored.
The list is based on participating restaurants’ self-reported annual food purchasing data. Being included is considered a badge of honor denoting quality as well as a dedication to supporting every link of the food chain, including the environment, farmers, workers and eaters.
As for the Good Food Confidence Index, confidence seems remarkably high despite the fact that 22% of restaurants surveyed expect it to be either somewhat or highly likely they’ll have to close one or more locations in the second half of 2021.
This year’s assessment focused on the impact of COVID-19 on restaurants, their workforce and operations and included the 124 participating restaurant brands in the Good Food 100, representing 196 individual restaurant locations across 33 states.
The index found that almost 90% of restaurant brands in the second half of 2021 expect a revenue increase. It also found that 97% expect to hire employees and 78% expect to increase sustainable food purchases.
Here are some additional findings from the survey:
- Employee health and welfare were the highest priority for restaurants, followed by food quality and taste and supporting the local and regional economy. This is the first time in five years, that worker welfare out-prioritized food quality.
- The most common challenges for employees were underemployment or unemployment and personal health, including mental health.
- Participating restaurant brands reported spending $26.7 million on food in 2020. Total food purchases had a $75.7 million economic impact on the nation.
- The majority (98%) of the restaurants felt good food is incredibly important for their brand. Participants similarly ranked the importance of sourcing from other good food focused business.
“To say this was a challenging year for restaurants would be an extreme understatement,” Sara Brito, co-founder and president of the Good Food Media Network said in a statement.
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“The pandemic took its toll financially, mentally and physically for so many in the restaurant and hospitality sector, and really exposed the vulnerabilities of the industry,” she continued. “As the world reopens, restaurants will reprise their role as important community beacons, reminding us why they are the heart and soul of our communities and the backbone of our local, regional, and national economy.”
Read more about the findings at goodfoodmedianetwork.org/impactreport.
Mackensy Lunsford has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years, and has been a staff writer for the Asheville Citizen Times since 2012. Lunsford is a former professional line cook and one-time restaurant owner.
Reach me: [email protected].