Slutty Vegan is the first to receive Pepsi’s grant to black-owned businesses
Atlanta’s favorite plant stop, Slutty Vegan, is shaping up to be a vegan food empire, and this week the fast food giant became one of the first beneficiaries of the Black Restaurant Accelerator program. The campaign led by the PepsiCo Foundation and the National Urban League aims to support black restaurateurs impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative will distribute $ 10 million to reinvigorate black-owned businesses in 12 cities. The money will be distributed among 500 black restaurant owners over the next five years as the country begins to reopen after nationwide closures.
“As the pandemic has exposed the existing disparities that many minority business owners face, we saw a fundamental threat that could erase the decades of progress that black-owned restaurants have made,” the vice-president said. President and Global Head of Philanthropy of the PepsiCo Foundation, CD Glin. “The investment will not only help black restaurateurs recover from the pandemic, but will put them on the path to long-term economic resilience. We’re inspired by the progress we’re making through our collaboration with the National Urban League to fill a fundamental gap and create opportunities for black business owners to build generational wealth and continue to strengthen their communities.
Slutty Vegan founder Pinky Cole started her business in 2018 as a food truck. The vegan food truck has made a name for itself selling burgers such as One Night Stand and Fussy Hussy, using Impossible patties and Cole’s signature sauce. His instant success saw him open a brick and mortar restaurant in January 2019. Since then, Cole has opened two more establishments and operates a spin-off company named Bar Vegan, serving vegan drinks and meatless Philly cheese steaks. .
Even as Cole’s vegan empire grows, he is experiencing the same financial difficulties that many businesses have during the pandemic. A report from the Institute for Economic Policy Research at Stanford University found that black business owners felt the hardships of the pandemic more acutely than white-owned businesses. Since the start of the pandemic in February 2020, 41% of black-owned restaurants have closed, compared to just 17% of white-owned restaurants. This difference prompted the PepsiCo Foundation and the National Urban League to directly help these businesses, providing them with both financial education and management training.
“Black businesses and consumers are among the major contributors to our country’s economic strength, and they deserve equal recognition and support for the vital role they play in our communities,” said the president and chief executive officer. leadership of the National Urban League. “We are proud to partner with the PepsiCo Foundation on an issue of critical importance that helps business owners and addresses one of the critical economic disparities impacting black communities.”
Cole’s notoriety extends far beyond his vegan restaurant, constantly giving back to the black communities of Atlanta. The restaurateur’s nonprofit, The Pinky Cole Foundation, promotes and funds several social justice initiatives that attempt to help black people achieve economic progress. The owner also raised money to pay the tuition fees of 30 students at Clark Atlanta University.
The Slutty Vegan Empire will soon expand outside of Georgia, with Cole planning to open a store in Birmingham, AL later this year. Along with its own growing popularity, PepsiCo’s donation will allow Cole’s vegan chain to establish itself in the South.
“Slutty Vegan will be the new quick and relaxed restaurant,” she said. “I think people will be happy with it because it offers different kinds of options and more people will want to turn to plants. That part really makes me feel good.”
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