BY Dollita Okine, 4:40pm June 12, 2024,

Food influencer Keith Lee finally lands show with Microsoft to teach black businesses how to grow with AI

Keith Lee has formed a strategic alliance with Microsoft to equip restaurateurs with artificial intelligence technologies to help their companies grow. Photo Credit: Instagram, Keith Lee

Keith Lee, a popular social media food influencer and critic, has formed a strategic alliance with Microsoft to equip restaurateurs with artificial intelligence technologies to help their companies grow.

In 2023, he spoke with AfroTech about his ambition to enhance the exposure of local Black-owned restaurants in the United States.

He said, “Just to be able to be on a scale where people see the hard work that’s put in because a lot of times these restaurants have great food and great customer service, but they just don’t have the eyes on them. I think it’s just gonna be so dope to allow these restaurants to have the platform that they deserve.”

In a press statement, Lee expressed his intentions for the partnership, saying, “I don’t partner with just any brand. I see the people behind these restaurants. I don’t just see a business. That is why it was so important for me to partner with Microsoft to give them the tools they need to continue to make an impact in their community. AI isn’t something I knew loads about, but that’s exactly why I wanted to partner with Microsoft, as I understand the power AI can have on small businesses, from streamlining processes, making things more efficient, and saving businesses time — it’s incredible to see how tech can help especially when resources are tight.”

Anthony Kerr, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft, informed the publication that the collaboration began when Lee accepted an invitation to visit the company’s headquarters earlier this year to see its products in person.

According to Kerr, “Keith’s millions of fans, what makes him stand out for them is his integrity and his relatability.”

“His viral food reviews have become a lifeline for these small businesses, leading to massive surges in customers and virality. At Microsoft, we have a shared commitment to leveling the playing field, supporting our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. With this partnership, we are excited to provide support and resources that help these small businesses grow,” he added. 

Per the press release, the software titan and the 27-year-old critic have also started a video series called “The Reheat,” in which Lee and Kerr demonstrate in real time how Black restaurateurs can use Microsoft AI tools and solutions to run and grow their businesses. The AI-powered sessions feature a crash course on Microsoft Copilot and free downloads of Microsoft’s business resources.

Lee remarked, “Thankfully, I have been able to be a blessing to others with my platform. Giving back is what I love to do. I hope that the businesses can continue to grow and serve their community for years to come. I also hope that this campaign inspires other businesses to give AI a try.”

Brandi Bond’s Pretty Soul Kitchen, Jessie Washington’s Brunchaholics, and Larry Morrow’s Monday Restaurant + Bar are some of the restaurants that have experienced the tremendous “Keith Lee Effect.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 12, 2024

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