Amex Gives $1M to Save Historic Restaurants

American Express

American Express has launched the second installment of its Backing Historic Small Restaurants Grant Program, which awards $1 million in grant money to help preserve historic small restaurants across the country.

“The past year has continued to pose challenges for restaurant owners as they navigate the impacts of the pandemic, including the ebb and flow of foot traffic as new coronavirus variants emerged,” the company said in a news release Monday (March 21).

American Express points to the National Restaurant Association’s 2022 State of the Restaurant Industry, which shows more than half of restaurant operators say it would be a year or more before business returns to normal. In addition, 96% of restaurant operators surveyed by the association experienced supply delays or shortages of key food or beverage items last year and expect these challenges to likely continue in 2022.

Learn more: Amex: Digital Tools Will Bring Consumers Back To Restaurants

To address these issues, American Express says it is working with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to bring back the grant program, first introduced in February of 2021.

The program is designed to assist 25 smaller eateries that “contributed to the fabric of their communities,” giving them $40,000 grants so they can recover and grow their businesses.

“Historic restaurants have long been some of the most important establishments in our communities,” ​​said Jennifer Skyler, chief corporate affairs officer at American Express. “They are places where families and friends gather, build relationships, share meals, and celebrate. While their future looks bright, many of these restaurants are still carrying the weight of the pandemic, and we are here to support them through this next phase of recovery.”

Read more: Amex, Resy Team on Restaurant Reservation Drive

The company said the program is part of its ongoing “Backing Small” program, designed to support economically vulnerable small businesses. Other initiatives in the program include Small Business Saturday and grant programs such as the Coalition to Back Black Businesses and the recent Services That Back Us program.

Last month, American Express and Resy teamed up for the Every Resy Counts reservation drive, aimed at encouraging millions of consumers around the country to patronize independent restaurants through the end of March.

The first million reservations made on Resy will trigger a $500,000 charitable donation to Southern Smoke, a crisis relief organization that helps the food and beverage sector.