Pinky Cole Hayes believes Pepsi’s Dig In campaign brings meaningful change, interview

Pinky Cole Hayes for Pepsi Dig In Restaurant Royalty campaign
Pinky Cole Hayes for Pepsi Dig In Restaurant Royalty campaign / Pepsi

In its third year, Pepsi’s Dig In campaign has been a vital platform which supports supporting Black-owned restaurants. Pinky Cole Hayes joins the Pepsi program to offer her expertise. During a recent conversation with the Slutty Vegan restaurateur, she said that this program is vital to not only a business’ success but also to building a community.

Over the years, the Pepsi Dig in campaign has worked with many successful black chefs and restaurateurs. Carla Hall touted how she used the platform to visit various restaurants around the country.  JJ Johnson hosted a special pop-up in Las Vegas. Even the Super Bowl festivities showcased Black chefs and restaurateurs during a special brunch event.

In addition to these well-known names, the program has assisted, mentored, and grown Black-owned businesses and brands. Businesses have seen a spike in their bottom line. Diners purposefully seek these establishments to enjoy a meal. Overall, there is a benefit for the whole community, both the diner and the business.

To kick off the third year of Pepsi Dig In, the beverage brand enlisted assistance from Pinky Cole Hayes. While Slutty Vegan might have started with just a food truck, the brand has skyrocketed to huge success. The multi-city restaurant chain is worth over $100 million dollars.

While Pinky’s success is tremendous, she remembers what it means to be a business woman with an idea. Long before people craved her vegan food, there were days where each new fan in her growing community felt like a win. To this day, she understands that her customers’ loyalty is the foundation of her success.

Pinky Cole Hayes believes Pepsi’s Dig In campaign’s visibility is key.

During a recent conversation with FoodSided, Pinky Cole Hayes offered her insight on the Pepsi Dig In campaign and why it is vital for Black-owned businesses. Specifically, Pinky believes that this program is a universal campaign. Specifically, she said, “it does not matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from, your socioeconomic status or background. There is an opportunity to have a sense of visibility because this conglomerate has exposure to all walks of life.”

Given the size and exposure that this platform offers, Pinky believes that “Visibility is key. I believe that beyond anything else, the level of visibility that a Black-owned restaurant can get by way of this Pepsi Dig In campaign is monumental.”

For businesses that may not have the resources to buy, promote, or otherwise create brand awareness, this program is vital to not only building a business but also sustaining one. As many people in the restaurant industry appreciate, the day-to-day struggle to maintain staff, keep doors open, and, hopefully, obtain a profit keeps restaurateurs in a constant state of stress. People might have the hospitality calling, but it is the business details that are often harder to negotiate.

Pinky understands that the business aspect of running a restaurant is as important as a flavorful, compelling, and creative food menu. While the food world would rather talk about culinary innovation and visually impressive dishes, the restaurateur needs to see the dollars and cents on each plate in order to serve that amazing meal to all the guests.

As Pinky explained some of the benefits of the Pepsi Dig In program, she said, “I definitely think that that exposure and visibility is a key driver to bring in more revenue for business. Then, they can be able to make sound decisions and be proactive in their business instead of reactive. Because, they have revenue and because they received the visibility from a company like PepsiCo.”

While the monetary aspect is important, Pinky believes that it is more than just dollars to the bottom line. Specifically, she believes that the overall support offered by this program is imperative to sustaining a business plan.

Pinky said, “there are so many great Black-owned restaurants, but they do not have the support or the knowledge. Sometimes we may not need the money, but we need the opportunity to learn how to run a business, how to operate.”

She continued to explain, “It is hard enough for Black-owned restaurants to get the support, framework, and foundation resources. (Through this program) Black-owned restaurants will be able to thrive from this Pepsi Dig In program because it really cares about making sure that the dreams of these Black-owned restaurants are realized.”

From the local restaurant that has been serving BBQ for 50 years to the newly opened sandwich shop with farm fresh ingredients, communities can share their favorite spaces on the In addition to the winning restaurant receiving a feature in the Pepsi Dig In Restaurant Royalty Residency in Las Vegas, it will receive mentorship from Pinky Cole Hayes.

More information on the Pepsi Dig In and Restaurant Royalty program can be found online.