The pandemic has dealt a seismic blow to the food world, with some experts predicting that about 30% of local restaurants might shutter their doors as a result and never open again.
That looming threat has left professionals scrambling as they try to figure out how to stretch out funds and seek creative ways to gain support from their patrons. The risks are especially real in Latin America, where vulnerable economies could wipe out multiple industries. But one tactic high-end restaurants have settled upon is to join forces and form a collective.
Stellar Collective, which came together in the last few weeks, includes some of the most well-known restaurants in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay, according to Eater. The group features big names, including Chile’s Restaurante 040 and Peru’s Malabar, and the way the collective works is by establishing a kind of exclusive diners’ club that guarantees customers chef’s tables and other perks across the region.
The monthly fee to join is $20, and the funds will be spread across all the restaurants who eventually join. Anyone interested in an annual membership can get the same benefits for $15 a month.
The effort was spearheaded by Luis Caviglia and his brother Juan, who told Eater that the goal is to offer a range of perks to benefit a wide-ranging community of producers, restaurants, servers and cooks.
“These benefits are not unheard of,” Caviglia said. “There’s just no systematic, one-stop access to this kind of hospitality.” He added, “If I’m a diner and I’m offered a membership for one restaurant, that’s not enough, but the network effect here is huge for the people who love gastronomy. Diversity might make things more complex … but at the end of the day, it’s one of our biggest strengths.”
Customers can suggest new restaurants through the website, and the collective is constantly adding new names. A list of all the ones who have joined the effort so far is available online, and it’s already giving people a glimmer of excitement for places they can visit.