Small business owners know, when the Super Bowl comes to their city, they’re about to get a huge influx of customers. Often, it’s unlike anything they experience the rest of the year. Local restaurants, in particular, have an opportunity to open their doors to new, out-of-town customers. Customers they can only reach once every few years.

At the same time, dealing with a much larger customer base means getting all hands on deck. As the old adage goes, “It takes money to make money.”

Loading the player...

Wilmer Valderrama makes a surprise appearance at two restaurants

So, in the spirit of supporting local businesses, PepsiCo is partnering with Wilmer Valderrama to present $10,000 checks to a total of five Latino-owned restaurants in Phoenix, Arizona.

On Thursday, February 2, the “That 70s Show” actor visited two popular hotspots in Phoenix; Puerto Rican restaurant Phoenix Coqui and local Mexican staple Rosita’s Place. Both places are wildly popular in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Both are expecting a massive influx of customers in the days leading up to Super Bowl Sunday.

Rosita’s Place, in particular, first opened in the mid-60s and is one of the most highly-regarded restaurants in the entire state. Its low-key vibe and next-level Mexican dishes will make it a surefire hot spot during the busiest weekend of the whole year.

A heartwarming new video shows Valderrama presenting a check to local Puerto Rican restaurant Phoenix Coqui and Mexican restaurant Rosita’s Place.

PepsiCo is supporting small Latino-owned businesses

This latest act of generosity comes courtesy of PepsiCo’s Juntos Crecemos, a new initiative that sees the company pledging $50 million to Latino-owned restaurants and businesses over the next five years. The initiative involves not only financial donations, but mentoring services and operational assistance.

Most notably, PepsiCo is prioritizing access to digital resources. The hope is that they’ll help businesses service customers in new and more efficient ways.

Courtesy of PepsiCo

In an official statement, Antonio Escalona, the Senior Vice President & General Manager of PepsiCo’s Hispanic Business Unit, said, “For local Hispanic-owned small businesses, Super Bowl LVII will be a much-needed boost, especially for those still recovering from the impact of the pandemic.”

Restaurants were hit hardest during COVID-19. Many of them are still recovering from the business they lost starting in 2020.

He continued, “The Juntos Crecemos contributions and Hispanic Digital & Delivery Program are ways in which PepsiCo Beverages North America and Frito-Lay are supporting these local businesses to help them make the most of this once in a lifetime moment.”

Latino-owned businesses are part of our economy’s backbone

Valderrama is a known activist and advocate for Latinos in the United States and beyond. “When we support local businesses, we celebrate and elevate our communities,” the actor said. PepsiCo’s press release estimates that Latino-owned businesses contribute $800 billion to the national economy every year.

However, an estimated 72% of Latino-owned businesses require owners to dip into their own savings. Latino-owned businesses play a significant role in the national economy. However, they still struggle with access to necessary capital. Supporting these restaurants means supporting the economy at large.

Courtesy of PepsiCo

In addition to the two aforementioned restaurants, PepsiCo gave three other restaurants $10,000 Super Bowl checks. Carnicería México, Imelda Happy Tamales, and Tacos Tijuana will also receive some much-needed support leading up to The Big Game.