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Why Eat Local?

If you’ve spent some time viewing Ben E. Keith’s content, it doesn’t take long to realize the emphasis we make on eating local. Established in 2020, our “Eat Local. Eat Often.” initiative has become a staple in our videos, graphics, food shows, and more. A question that arises from this prioritization is: what’s the importance to dining at independent establishments? We have a handful of answers to that question…

The Backbone of American Food

Although it may feel like national brands have a majority share of today’s dining spots, the statistics say otherwise. NPD shows that independently owned restaurants make up over 53% of the restaurant industry, a number that is growing over the last few years. A decline in this number could have severely negative impacts on the economy, from the jobs created to the money spent.

A Rough Climate

It has been no secret that this decade has been a rocky one for most businesses. Without the insulation a chain creates, independent restaurants were nearly wiped out during the pandemic if it weren’t for various organizations that stepped up to help advocate. Since then, rising costs and labor shortages have created a difficult environment for the local restaurant. Without people filling up dining rooms, it could be extremely difficult to stay afloat. D Magazine recently did a deep dive on this scene and how the original local spots are fighting to survive.

Good Eats

Statistically, there are reasons enough to eat locally. But why not look at the subjective reasons? Nationally-owned restaurants are fantastic options, but there is something to eating at your favorite restaurant down the street. These dishes have been created by an individual with passion for their project. Their hard work is what keeps their doors open. The plates are often a glimpse of their culture. If you want a unique experience, be sure to eat local.

From the ease of getting food to the consistency they provide, there will always be a place for the national restaurant scene. But in 2024, there are plenty of good reasons to eat at your local restaurant. To learn about some of the local restaurants serviced by Ben E. Keith, view our Behind The Menu series.