Guy Fieri recently inked an $80 million deal with the Food Network, making him the highest-paid chef on cable TV. He did this on the heels of a brutal year for the restaurant industry, which, according to the National Restaurant Association, has lost approximately $290 billion since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and seen insufficient relief from the federal government. While the airline industry received a big bailout in March 2020, as well as additional payroll support through the pandemic, it took almost a full year for Congress to earmark a grant program for American restaurants. Fieri’s take on why they got so little so late: It’s about “voice, power and money.”
In this conversation, Kara Swisher presses Fieri on how he’s using his own voice and power. They dig into how restaurants have adapted during the pandemic, why working conditions remain so bad in the industry and why he has gotten into ghost kitchens — a trend that, alongside food delivery apps, is reshaping the restaurant industry. Plus, she gets him to spill on his plans to join FoodTok someday.