The Real Reason Guy Fieri Is Furious With Congress

Few people show how much they care about the restaurant industry quite like Guy Fieri. In 2020, The Food Network star started a relief fund for restaurant workers put out of work by the pandemic and since, contributions have topped $25 million (via Food & Wine). But Fieri didn't stop there. He took his charity to the next level by hosting a streamed celebration of restaurants back in mid-June, called Guy's Restaurant Reboot, and handed out $300,000 for dining establishments across America (via NBC). The TV personality hasn't slowed down in 2021 either and continues to vehemently advocate for chefs, waitstaff, restaurateurs, and more on a daily basis — and now he set his sights on Congress.

According to Insider, Fieri opened up to New York Times columnist Kara Swisher on her podcast "Sway" in regards to how the US government has handled aid sent to restaurant workers in need. Fieri's biggest gripe stems from the fact that Congress hasn't been supporting restaurants in the same way they handled bailing out airlines — as he hypothesized, because restaurateurs don't have lobbyists representing their interests. 

"I'm pissed," Fieri declared, adding, "It's because there's not enough unification. We all love each other in the restaurant business ... But airlines have big, powerful money and attorneys and lobbyists. And we've got home-built restaurant companies that were passed down from a restaurant, that were passed down from generations, with not as much energy and power and unification."

The Mayor of Flavortown wants real change

Fieri believes that if restaurants had better representation in Congress, workers wouldn't need to rely on outside charities in order to stay afloat during extended disasters (via Insider) and fears that more closures are coming. Very few organizations, like the National Restaurant Association or the California Restaurant Association, exist to help represent workers across the country, but according to Fieri, these groups lack the influence of larger lobbyist groups. Fieri did praise states and local governments for quickly lifting dining restrictions when the pandemic first hit, particularly singling out the delivery of to-go cocktails as an effective way for restaurants to continue to raise money and stay in business.

With any luck, Congress can take a note from Fieri's complaints and start focusing attention on restaurant workers across the country — and maybe then the industry, which still sees massive losses across the board, can make a rapid recovery. In the meantime, we can all thank Fieri for helping millions of individuals out and making sure some of the best dive bars and diners stay open for years to come.