#PutAJabOnTheMenu: Hospitality industry launches its own vax campaign

The hospitality industry has united to save restaurants, bars and cafés with a national campaign, #PutAJabOnTheMenu.

Tired of watching the hospitality industry suffer from ongoing lockdowns and restrictions with little end in sight, some of Australia’s best creative minds have teamed up with hospitality’s much-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 idea was the brainchild of David Nobay, a creative director, artist and writer with over 30 years’ experience in marketing.

“My son is a cook who literally grew up in the kitchens of Sydney restaurants. Many of my best friends are chefs, from Byron to Melbourne, New York to LA,” he said.

“So, better than most, I understand the excruciating pressure these extended lockdowns are putting on them, from the owners to staff, from waiters to cooks.

“Brands that have taken them decades to establish could be washed away in months if Australia doesn’t wake up to widespread vaccination faster.”

One of the very first to lend his influence and support 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,” Brahimi said.

“Whether it’s a small suburban Thai restaurant, a country pub, a café, 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. I’ve been speaking to so many of my friends in hospitality, and this time around could be what breaks them.

“Takeaway doesn’t make money for restaurants not set up for that; they are 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.”

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

They 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 and Karla Munoz Labart, Massimo Mele, Nick Holloway and Morgan McGlone.

Alongside industry-leading chefs, the campaign benefited from an incredible team of collaborators, who all gave their time and energy at no cost, including Will Alexander, founder of Heckler (the production company that produced the fully integrated campaign which includes film, print, digital and radio); and Jeanine Bribosia, founder and director of The Cru (who has overseen all publicity and media rollout).

Director Susan Stitt, who before becoming one of Australia’s most-awarded cinematographers, actually owned a two-hatted Sydney restaurant in the nineties, POND, also signed up to help for free.

“From the second I saw David Nobay’s script, I dropped everything and mobilised the ACS (Australian Cinematographer’s Society), as I realised that was going to be the only way we’d get the film coverage we needed whilst the borders were closed,” Stitt said.

“Making a great film is not unlike making a great dish – the real skill is working with the few ingredients you have!”

The entire campaign was pulled together in three weeks and cost nothing to make.

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

The campaign also features print, online and radio elements, with national support across major media outlets including News Corp, Nine, SBS and Foxtel.

Check out the TV ad below: