Continuing our journey with Uber, we recently collaborated with their food delivery wing, Uber Eats. The ask – in one line – was ‘how do we dare people to try new foods that they’ve never heard of before through an online series?’ The extended brief was to increase visibility of Black restaurant owners, showcasing the incredible dishes in their restaurants, opening viewers’ eyes to new flavours and types of food and, ultimately, guiding them to order from the restaurant on the back of watching.
We also needed to be able to create a framework and style that could evolve for other minority-owned restaurants throughout the UK, and be used for months and years to come.
Uber Eats believes that everyone – regardless of age, gender or race – should have the ability to rise and thrive. But the reality is that minority-owned restaurants have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Uber has launched a Black Business Fund, giving grants and mentorship to Black-owned restaurants. However, it also recognises that more needs to be done to create tangible opportunities for Black-owned restaurants. A bigger platform – that can drive more awareness, understanding and appreciation for Black cuisine and culture – is needed. Black-owned restaurants are often discriminated against, and the root cause of this seems to be a lack of understanding and visibility of Black cultures and cuisines.
To encourage supporting small local businesses, and celebrate the restaurants that play such an important role in their communities, we landed on the theme of ‘Eat like a Local’.
We wanted the campaign to highlight the vast breadth of cuisine available across the UK and highlight as many nationalities and dishes as possible. Focusing on four cities – London, Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester – we created five episodes (one per restaurant) showcasing Ethiopian, Nigerian, and Jamaican cuisines, among others. Each owner had a story to tell, whether it was Prince learning to cook from the age of nine and starting a restaurant in his mum’s kitchen, or Tafe, who swapped her greasy spoon for a restaurant serving up Ethiopian family recipes.
We partnered with a production company with a deep understanding of the challenges that Black communities face, along with two Black presenters with experience in the hospitality industry. The presenters were key to guiding lighthearted conversation in each episode, teasing out answers to questions from people not typically used to being filmed, before tasting the ‘hero dish’ at the end. Along with helping the viewer learn more about the cuisine through focusing on one key dish, we wanted to humanise the business and bring out the person who has worked to make it what it is today: the owner.
A ‘Black-owned restaurants’ sticker ‘branded’ each episode, and cutdowns of the full-length films on Youtube were created for Instagram. Anyone whose appetite was whetted from watching the film could click straight through to the restaurant page on Uber Eats to try out the dish for themself.
Going forward, this short-episode format will allow us to cover an even broader range of restaurants, cuisines and owner stories. Each series will introduce a new production partner and presenter with close ties to the community. Watch this space for our next tasty venture with Uber Eats...