This week marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. It is a time to celebrate the community’s achievements and contributions to American history. Yet, while this population makes up over 18 percent of U.S. inhabitants, Hispanics are historically underrepresented across industries. This week, we dive into one brand’s efforts in the food sector by calling for more Hispanic chefs to be professionally acknowledged.
El Pollo Loco is starting off Hispanic Heritage Month by brining attention to the disproportionate gap between the vast contributions of Hispanic chefs the lack of recognition they receive. In a press release, the brand draws attention to the fact that the Hispanic community makes up 30 percent of U.S. restaurant and foodservice occupations but has only made up 2.4 percent of nominees, with zero winners, of the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef and Outstanding Chef award. To help solve this problem, the fast-food company launched its “For Your Consideration” campaign. This initiative features 11 Hispanic chefs, telling their stories and recommending them to be part of the 2022 James Beard Foundation Awards. It is doing this through social media campaigns and even taking a full-page ad out in The New York Times. While fighting for change externally, El Pollo Loco is also focusing internally to solve this problem with its “More Chef Hats” program – a $5,000 scholarship that is awarded to one employee to further their own culinary career.
Our research has found that 59 percent of consumers want companies to take the lead in addressing social justice issues. Today’s example brought this data point to life and showed how to celebrate Hispanic Heritage while highlighting the systemic issues that the community faces. As brands continue to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, it’s important to additionally focus on ways to create change and equality for the United States’ largest ethnic minority group.