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Sydney Restaurants with Local Community Significance Awarded Grants

Sydney, Australia – WEBWIRE

Following the return of its Backing International Small Restaurants grant program, American Express, in partnership with the International Downtown Association (IDA) Foundation and the support of Restaurant & Catering Australia, has revealed the six winners who will be awarded AU$21,000 each to help boost their business.

Sydney is one of five cities globally selected to be involved in the 2023 program, alongside London, Mexico City, Tokyo and Toronto with the grants aiming to support independent restaurant and café owners who identify as being underrepresented and/or economically vulnerable. Special consideration was also given to those who play an important role in their local community – from hiring and training displaced refugees to donating leftover goods to food banks.  

Emily Roberts, Vice President and General Manager of Consumer and Commercial Services, American Express said: “Sydney’s dining and hospitality industry is at the very core of what makes our city so iconic, but the effects of the pandemic and the uncertain economic outlook has left many small businesses feeling vulnerable and under pressure. As part of our commitment to back small businesses, it’s imperative that we do what we can to support hard-working operators. Our hope is that these funds will allow them to continue to deliver meaningful experiences for their customers.” 

David Downey, Executive Director, IDA Foundation said: “Our second year delivering the Backing International Small Restaurants program recognises the vital role small, independent restaurants play in our communities. The program furthers our commitment to supporting the businesses which have been selected, helping them thrive and succeed in the wake of ongoing economic challenges worldwide. It is an honour to implement this innovative work with the generous support of American Express.”

Social enterprise restaurant, Kabul Social with two locations in Sydney’s CBD and North Sydney, was one of this year’s grant recipients. Serving Afghan street food cooked by displaced refugees, the restaurant’s business model is based solely on giving back to its community. To date they’ve donated 105,696 meals to their charity partners Mahboba’s Promise and Plate it Forward, employed 13 refugees and delivered 2,500 hours of paid training and employment to Afghan refugees who would otherwise struggle to gain sustainable employment through mainstream avenues.

Owner, Shaun Christie-David, said: “We’ve seen significantly lower foot traffic around our CBD location due to the city’s workforce continuing to work from home. This, paired with the current cost of living crisis, has meant our customers have less disposable income to spend on costs that aren’t deemed a necessity. Unfortunately, this has a direct knock-on effect on the communities we support and the staff we hire. This grant will make it possible to interact with our loyal customers outside of our physical location and upskill our inspiring staff.” 

Viand, a Thai restaurant based in Woolloomooloo was another grant recipient with Owner and Head Chef, Annita Potter having recently been awarded Good Food Guide’s 2023 NSW Chef of the Year.

On receiving the grant, Annita said: “We began construction almost exactly when the pandemic hit. That resulted in 12 months of delays, contractors not fulfilling obligations, staff shortages, interest rates rising and more. This grant truly is a lifeline for us and will allow for increased specialist knowledge for our staff as well as increased exposure within our local community”. 

Suresh Manickam, CEO of Restaurant & Catering Australia said: “We are proud to support a local program backed by a global brand that will help invigorate some incredible local and independent restaurants and keep Sydney’s enviable hospitality industry on the global stage.”

The other four establishments to receive grants of $21,000 each include: Kaska Eatery in Darlinghurst, IIKO Mazesoba in Haymarket, Food Addict in Darlinghurst and Small’s Deli in Potts Point. 

To date, American Express has provided grants to more than 100 restaurants globally through this program and its U.S. Backing Historic Small Restaurants program.



American Express is a globally integrated payments company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at


The IDA Foundation is the non-profit arm of the International Downtown Association, a Washington, D.C.-based organization empowering place management leaders with knowledge, research, and public policies for creating prosperous city centres, commercial neighbourhoods and liveable urban places for all.


R&CA is the not-for-profit national association that leads and represents the interests of over 57,000 restaurants, cafes, and catering businesses across Australia. 

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