‘Fox & Friends’ and Robert Irvine talk restaurant, small business challenges post-COVID
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Restaurants and veterans are in need of help, Robert Irvine told “Fox & Friends” after the celebrity chef and Food Network host stopped by to discuss COVID-19’s impact on the food service industry.
“Right now the supply chain, the labor issue, is killing the restaurants. We went through COVID for two years,” Irvine said during an in-studio interview. “Now we’ve got the customers who want to come out, but they can’t afford to come out. So, it’s kind of full-circling again.”
“We cannot give the service to people when they do come in because nobody’s working.”
Irvine, who’s been the host of the Food Network’s kitchen makeover show “Restaurant: Impossible” since 2011, has seen a shift in the troubles restaurant owners are facing firsthand as the coronavirus pandemic lingers.
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“They’re trying to hang on,” he told “Fox & Friends.”
Restaurants “flipped” and “reversed” their operations to “survive” COVID-19 shutdowns and plummeting demand, but many restaurants are still running on survival mode, Irvine said.
“Forget the rent for a second … If we look at the amount of restaurants that we closed in COVID, we’re about the same now out of COVID because we can’t afford to run the operations,” Irvine explained. “We can’t afford to bring people. And we cannot give the service to people when they do come in because nobody’s working.”
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Irvine told “Fox & Friends” that he thinks that someone of authority needs to step up to help with a food service stimulus.
“People want to eat,” Irvine said. “They want to go out. They just can’t afford to go out. They can’t afford to buy food at supermarkets right now.”
In the meantime, Irvine is doing his part to help out another group that’s in need, with his Fit Crunch protein bar company.
Fit Crunch will make a monetary donation to a veteran-focused need in honor of every participant who joins its “Crunch for a Vet” challenge.
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For every crunch a participant does and documents on social media with the #CrunchForAVet hashtag, “Fit Crunch will give $1 to match that crunch,” according to Irvine.
The raised money then goes toward buying wheelchairs, service dog companions and other things that veterans might need to get by.
Helping veterans is a cause Irvine has long supported as a veteran of the British Royal Navy, which he enlisted in at the age of 15 and learned the cooking trade that’s helped him become an esteemed TV chef.
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It’s not just restaurants and veterans that Irvine supports; he also has a soft spot for small businesses.
“I’m a small business,” Irvine told “Fox & Friends.”
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He continued, “Whether I’m on television, I have a food company, I have a protein bar company, a liquor company — we employ people. So, if people are not buying that because of their revenue, or they’re spending, how do I keep paying?”