Chefs and restaurants have been scrambling to find different ways to keep revenue coming, and sometimes the solution isn’t cooking. Local shops here in Chicago have made changes such as replacing seating with small markets featuring hard-to-get items, and selling takeout pizza kits for fun at home. Rick Bayless, leveraging his celebrity cheffiness, has a different idea.
According to trade publication Restaurant Business, Rick Bayless has launched a members-only YouTube channel where people can subscribe to watch his cooking videos. There’s two tiered subscriptions, and people paying $4.99 a month will have access to one short video and one longer video per week. The higher tier is $9.99 per month and along with the videos included in the other subscription, viewers will also get a live monthly feed where they’ll be able to cook at the same time as Bayless. This package also features a handy ingredient list for the dish along with notes as to which kitchen tools you’ll need to complete the recipe.
Coming from someone who makes content for a living (me), those are remarkably low prices considering the effort and resources involved in making each of these videos. If he reaches 1,000 subscribers, Bayless will be able to not only sustain the project, but retain some employees along the way. Production will be very stripped down, with no sound guy, video guy, or anything. Everything will be filmed with an iPhone. It will be just Bayless cooking Mexican recipes along with one cook for assistance.
Currently, his restaurants are operating with 50% of their pre-pandemic staff, so his goal is to retain as many jobs as he can and hopefully bring back new ones. Right out of the gate, within his first week, he’s already amassed a remarkable 300 paid signups so far, so at this rate it’s a good possibility he’ll hit his goal and will be able to keep at least a few extra jobs for the foreseeable future.