Industry urges: put a jab on the menu

20th August 2021 | Eativity editors

Tired of watching the hospitality industry suffer from ongoing lockdowns and restrictions with no clear end in sight, some of Australia’s best creative minds have teamed up with hospitality’s best-loved chefs and restaurateurs to plead with people to do the only thing that will save their industry – get vaccinated as soon as possible.

The campaign, aptly called “Put a Jab on the Menu”, launches nationally today, kicking off with a powerful 60-second film featuring many of the industry’s best-known faces. There will also be a print, online and radio campaign with support across major media outlets.

Incredibly, the entire campaign was pulled together in just three weeks and cost nothing to make. One hundred percent of time and talent was donated by some of the industry’s best, and every chef and restaurateur that was approached instantly signed on to participate and help get the industry back open, with every week of lockdown costing the hospitality industry $428 million in lost bookings and events in Sydney and Melbourne alone.

One of the first to lend his influence and support to the project was acclaimed chef Guillaume Brahimi, the campaign’s industry ambassador.

“Chefs and hospitality workers are resilient people – we have to be, because what we do isn’t easy at the best of times,” he says. “Whether it’s a small suburban Thai restaurant, a country pub, a cafe or a 300-seat fine diner, every person who works in hospitality does it because they want to bring happiness to people by service or food… But, regardless of our shared passion, there’s one thing that we can’t overcome, and that’s empty tables.”

Guillaume Brahimi: “This time around could be what breaks them.” Image: Ben Shirley

Although the rolling lockdowns and restrictions over the last month made filming an obvious challenge, the chefs who appear in the campaign are from right around the country, and the support from across the industry has been unanimous.

Chefs featured include Matt Moran, Danielle Alvarez, Neil Perry, Maurice Terzini, Anna Ugarte-Carral, Frank Camorra, Victor Liong, Shannon Martinez, Adam d’Sylva, Ross Lusted, Jacqui Challinor, Alex Munoz Labart, Massimo Mele, Nick Holloway and Morgan McGlone.

“I’ve been speaking to so many of my friends in hospitality, and this time around could be what breaks them,” Brahimi says. “Takeaway doesn’t make money for restaurants not set up for that; they’re doing it mainly to keep their teams busy, and for mental health.

“Vaccination is the only way to save our industry and open it up again, without restrictions. If we don’t get it done, we’re going to lose some amazing businesses.”

Matt Moran is just one of many famous foodie faces that features in the campaign Image: Ben Shirley

The campaign was the brainchild of David Nobay, an award-winning creative director, artist and writer with more than 30 years’ experience in marketing. Some of his closest friends and relatives are in hospitality, and he was witnessing the devastating effects on them first-hand. He saw that the answer to re-opening was simple: encouraging the people who care about Australian restaurants to get vaccinated – quickly.

“I believe weaponising your immediate tribe to tell your own story about COVID’s impact is going to become increasingly vital in our community,” Nobay says. “It reflects an authentic charisma that can’t be recreated by a government committee, however well-meaning.”

Restaurants across Sydney and Melbourne sit empty. Image: Ben Shirley

Much like the chefs they celebrate, this project has been a labour of love for the many creatives involved in bringing the campaign to life; perhaps no one more so than the film’s director, Susan Stitt. Before becoming one of Australia’s most awarded cinematographers, Stitt owned two-hatted Sydney restaurant POND in the nineties, a restaurant that launched the careers of Brahimi and Peter Gilmore.

Alongside Nobay and Stitt, the campaign benefited from an amazing team of collaborators, who gave their time at no cost. Key players include Will Alexander, founder of Heckler, the production company which helped produce the entire campaign; and Jeanine Bribosia, founder and director of The Cru, which has overseen all publicity and the media rollout.

Make sure you watch the video and share it with your own tribe, asking them to #putajabonthemenu