As a truck driver, Edward Dillard understands the struggle of searching for black-owned restaurants when in a different city. That’s why he created Eat Black Owned, a website that helps customers locate black-owned eateries around the country.
For nearly 15 years, Dillard has been a professional truck driver for a New Jersey company who travels across the nation up to five days a week. As a result, he knows that buying black is helpful for black business owners, but these businesses are not always easy to find.
Eat Black Owned was created to give customers a way to locate local black-owned restaurants based on their geographic location. There are more than 2,000 black-owned eateries on the site. And although he had no website design experience, Google and YouTube served as his guide.
“I believe that if people have a place where they can find all the minority-owned restaurants in this country, more of us will start to support these small businesses,” Dillard told The Philadephia Sun.
But Dillard’s site didn’t happen overnight. It took him five months to complete his research. On his own, he collected more than 2,000 names and addresses. On June 21, the site went live.
Today, there are 94 restaurants listed in New York and 35 within a 25-mile radius of downtown Los Angeles.
Buying from black restaurants not only helps you to locate seasoned food, but it helps close the racial wealth gap. More than one in four black households have zero or below net worth compared to less than one in 10 white families without wealth, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Buying black can also help put more money into the community. For example, nearly 70% of the United States economy is made of consumer spending and almost half of small business purchases are redistributed within the community. Supporting black-owned businesses means supporting families and the community they reside in.