Rice to the Rescue Program Delivers Needed Relief to Restaurant Industry

Man wears white chef
The masked crusader
Nov 19, 2020
ARLINGTON, VA – Rice is talked about as a super food for its power-packed nutrition, versatility, and great taste, but with a new foodservice relief program scheduled to launch by the end of the year, U.S.-grown rice is now poised for superhero status.  The program, called Rice to the Rescue, was created in response to the devastating impact on the foodservice industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and was developed to not only support beleaguered restaurants but also to encourage operators to add U.S.-grown rice to their menus.

Rice to the Rescue kits will include a 10-pound sample of U.S.-grown rice, how-to rice guides, Think Rice branded to-go packaging, rice recipe guides, meal kit concepts, To-Go/Curbside Best Practices Guide for Rice, a 60-cup Aroma Housewares commercial rice cooker, branded masks, and access to USA Rice’s digital COVID foodservice resources.

“U.S.-grown rice can play a very important role in operators navigating the impacts of COVID-19,” said Foodservice Subcommittee Chair John Hasbrook.  “Our product is inexpensive, shelf-stable, travel-friendly, well-known, and grown locally, all qualities that now have a heightened importance for operators and their customers.  The versatility of U.S.-grown rice allows it to be easily adapted to a variety of takeout applications that cater to a range of different foodservice operations from ethnic cuisine to fast casual and upscale dining.  The Rice to the Rescue kits communicate and demonstrate this to operators and showcase U.S.-grown rice as an answer to many of the hurdles they are facing.”

Kits will be mailed to one hundred strategically-chosen independent foodservice operators, and five major chains will receive an additional invitation for a one-on-one menu ideation session with USA Rice and a team of research and development chefs.  The five major chains are Sweetgreen, Chop’t, Applebee’s, El Pollo Loco, and Texas Roadhouse.

“The Rice to the Rescue program has the ability to make a big impact and some noise within the foodservice industry,” said Chef Hari Cameron.  “As a restaurant owner, I can tell you that these kits will make a world of difference to operators as they look to navigate the changing restaurant landscape.  People are seeking comfort food and U.S.-grown rice delivers that while being versatile enough to help operators adapt their menu and operations to this new reality."

The relief kits are expected to be distributed in early December and USA Rice will follow up with each recipient.

“With one in six restaurants out of business due to the pandemic, according to a National Restaurant Association report, it’s more important than ever to support the foodservice sector by positioning U.S.-grown rice as an immediate solution,” said Hasbrook.  “By providing some much-needed relief, Rice to the Rescue has the potential to convert operators who had not been serving rice while reinforcing the importance of sourcing U.S.-grown.”

Go here for more information about the program and to request a kit.