Beverage Coalition Seeks Compromises to Murphy’s Plan
To increase liquor licenses. Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposal to make liquor licenses more plentiful and less expensive has caused four influential advocacy groups with tentacles into all 40 legislative districts to form a coalition to help lawmakers understand issues connected to the plan and possibly seek a compromise. The New Jersey Licensed Beverage Association, the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association, the New Jersey Wine and Spirits Wholesalers Association, and the Beer Wholesalers Association of New Jersey anchor the Coalition for Responsible Alcohol Licensing. “We cannot sit idly by while the Governor attempts to reduce our sweat equity and financial investments to nothing more than a scrap of paper to be picked up at town hall,” said NJLBA executive director Diane Weiss. “We are committed to protecting the value and integrity of NJ liquor license holders.” Restaurants, bars, and taverns bring in over $12 billion in revenues, with alcohol wholesalers generating another $8 billion, according to former Assemblyman Jeff Warsh, the Wine and Spirits Wholesaler Association executive director. Murphy has asked the legislature to decrease the cap on the number of licenses for each municipality – right now, it’s one for every 3,000 residents — over the next five years and then eliminates the limit entirely. Once that happens, liquor license owners would no longer be permitted to sell their licenses privately, diminishing a significant asset for family-owned bars and restaurants.
Tips to Mitigate Your Risk of a Sales Tax Audit
No business owner wants to read those words. Being a tax collector was certainly not something you expected to sign up for when you opened your restaurant. But accurately collecting, reporting and paying sales tax is a ‘must.’ The penalties and risks associated with sales tax debt are steep. Sales tax is a major revenue source for many states and they take compliance seriously. For one, the penalty and interest that is charged on unpaid balances can be as much as 50% of the balance due. If you fall too far behind, the State may decide to place a lien on your business which creates a host of financial problems, like getting a loan. Under state law, merchants have a fiduciary or legal responsibility to comply. Sales tax is a personal liability. Even if you close your business, you are still personally liable for the unpaid sales tax and penalties. Even in bankruptcy, sales tax liability does not disappear. You can’t escape sales tax debt, which is why it’s so important to keep good records and comply with sales tax laws to avoid penalties and fines. Following a few best practices can help mitigate the risks and hassles of an audit. The more organized your records of sales and bank statements are, the better position you’ll be in should you be subject to a sales tax audit. One of the first steps of a sales tax audit will be to compare revenue reports from your POS system with your bank records to see if sales numbers align with your bank statement. Auditors may also look at your federal or state tax returns to compare numbers.
The State of the Restaurant Industry
Resiliency and Rebuilding. Like countless other industries, the restaurant industry has been completely redefined by the pandemic. Restaurant owners ended 2021 feeling optimistic about the post-COVID world but were immediately presented with a new headline problem—inflation. Same-store sales began decreasing in July 2022 after 17 months of continuous increases, according to the National Restaurant Association. Many operators also reported lower customer traffic beginning in June, which was when gas prices hit record highs. Other supply chain related events, which spanned from restaurant equipment (creating issues for restaurant development and timing) to the Avian flu/eggflation issues, also negatively impacted the industry. Inflation has had a far-reaching impact on the restaurant industry—affecting everything from the cost of materials to wages. Although average food prices had decreased slightly by the end of summer 2022, they increased 16.3 percent from July 2021 to 2022, according to Bank of America. Many critical food items like eggs, cheese and butter have seen even more dramatic increases, leaving restaurants no choice but to increase menu prices in response. One especially stressful part of the equation for restaurant owners today is how much food price inflation passes on to customers. Restaurants need to remain competitive while still retaining a profit. If your restaurant is taking a 10 percent menu price increase and competitors are only taking 5 percent, you’re out on a limb.
Creating a Positive Restaurant Culture
Tips to retain top talent. What’s the best way to attract and retain top talent in the restaurant industry? That’s easy: show your employees respect. If you respect your employees and take steps to demonstrate your trust and appreciation, you’re way ahead of the game. When employees feel respected and appreciated, it can improve the overall quality of your restaurant. Happy employees are more effective workers, have less turnover, and can help keep your restaurant running efficiently. Over time, this can have a powerful impact on your bottom line. Ready to create a positive culture in your workplace? Start with these pro tips. One of the best ways to ensure that employees won’t jump ship. Take the time to properly train them. A lot of restaurant owners and managers breeze past training, instead opting to throw new employees in the fire and let them learn the ropes as they go. Big mistake. This approach starts employees out on the wrong foot. It makes them feel expendable and unimportant, and it doesn’t make a good first impression of your management style. A proper training period not only helps empower employees on a personal level, but it equips them with the tools they need to be better workers and salespeople. It also shows them that you value them enough to spend the time to educate them, which can lead to better employee retention.
Preventing Crimes in Restaurants and Bars
Restaurants and Bars are often targets. Restaurants and bars are often targets for robbery, burglary and theft, so much so that the FBI ranks restaurants as the eighth most common setting for violent crime and nearly half of cyber-attacks target small businesses. Because restaurants and bars can accumulate a large amount of cash during daily operations, they are attractive targets for criminal activity. Additionally, with late hours and lots of people moving in and out of the building, restaurants and bars are perceived as an easy target for criminals. Here are five crime prevention tips and measures to deter criminal activity and reduce your business’ liabilities. Enact Smart Money Management Policies. Even though debit and credit card payments are popular payment choices, restaurants and bars still ring up a fair number of cash transactions. The accumulation of cash during operating hours makes your establishment an easy target, so prevent crimes by keeping it safe. Evaluate Your Environmental Design. Ensuring that your business is unattractive to criminals can also make it safer for pedestrians, customers and employees. Consider how the following items impact your establishment’s safety and vulnerability to risk. Invest In Internal Video Surveillance. Video surveillance isn’t just for your parking lot and back door. Installing cameras inside is another essential tool for preventing crimes and suspicious activity. To get the most out of your video monitoring system, make sure that you.
The New Dining Habits of the Wealthy
How high-income households are cutting back on restaurant spending. In March, Revenue Management Solutions surveyed more than 800 restaurant-goers across the US to find out how they’re dining in 2023. While insightful, it wasn’t all great news. At a high level, the findings indicated that reported usage across restaurant segments and revenue channels has fallen compared to Q4 2022. The survey results were supported by performance. For the first quarter of 2023, traffic in the QSR segment was down 0.7 percent year-over-year, and quantity per transaction was down 4.7 percent. On the bright side, sales continue to perform positively compared to last year, primarily driven by price increases throughout 2022. When we go back to the survey, a surprising trend is emerging. Higher-income households (earning more than US $99,000) and families with children drove decreases across all restaurant segments. In fact, among higher-income households, the number of respondents saying they are spending more of their disposable income on restaurants drastically dropped, from 73 percent in Q4 2022 to 37 percent this quarter.
Why Restaurant Companies Have Turned Their Focus
To carbon emissions reduction. In 2018, McDonald’s became the first restaurant company in the world to set a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, aiming to prevent 150 million metric tons of emissions from being released into the atmosphere by 2030. That same year, Starbucks announced a global greener stores commitment, while Chipotle released its first sustainability report, and Wendy’s began formalizing an ESG strategy. Although studies on the correlation between environmental, social and governance work began popping up a few years earlier, Liliana Esposito, Wendy’s chief corporate affairs and sustainability officer, said “a light switch flipped” in 2018. That year, global sustainable investments reached $31 trillion – a 34% increase over the preceding two years. ESG work has continued to evolve in the five years since, while shareholder activism against companies without a credible action plan has also increased. Arjuna Capital is one such group seeking to enact environmental progress through investments. Julie Cedarholm, senior associate of ESG research and shareholder engagement at Arjuna, said the restaurant industry is starting to become more productive on ESG work in part because of this increased pressure, in addition to more regulations. “More companies now know they can’t just house ESG in a small department in the corner anymore. They’re embracing this as the business case behind ESG has progressed,” Cedarholm said.
No More Begging for Treats
Dogs now have restaurants. To celebrate the 10-month anniversary of the successful spinal surgery on Jagger, her goldendoodle, Cat Torrejon-Nisbet didn’t buy him the traditional rawhide dog bone. Instead, she paid $15 for a light pink, rose-shaped dog pastry made with antelope heart from Dogue, a canine restaurant in San Francisco. “They’re not going to love you more for giving them a fancy treat,” said Ms. Torrejon-Nisbet, 50, who lives in Santa Barbara, Calif., with Jagger and his Bernedoodle sister, Sierra. “It’s more about the love we have for our dogs.” Dog owners like Ms. Torrejon-Nisbet are frequenting an increasing number of restaurants across the country that offer separate menus for their four-legged family members. Dog menus have become the new version of children’s menus at some restaurants. Pet parents can now order their dog a steak or Alaskan salmon with steamed rice. The dog can wash that down with a nonalcoholic “beer” made of pork broth, or a bowl of Dög Pawrignon made with wild-caught-salmon oil. Other restaurants have gone a step further, catering exclusively to dogs, from custom canine birthday cakes to food trucks serving chicken nuggets and burgers. At Dogue, dogs eat a fine dining tasting menu.
Did You Know?
The secrets to successful catering. A strong catering business can be a restaurant’s biggest moneymaker. You know exactly how many people you’re going to serve, how many portions will be provided, what the cost is, what you’re going to charge and what your net profit will be. Most of the year, catering can comprise 10 to 15 percent of your total sales, but during December, if 20 percent of sales are not coming from catering, you’re missing an opportunity. Start contacting customers in August to plan for holiday parties but spend the first half of the year honing your catering operation. Just like everything else in hospitality, there are guidelines that make for more successful outcomes. Just about all of my customers cater, and these are a few of the tips that I usually provide. (And you’re getting them for free!).
7 things to expect from a kitchen manager. It’s pretty easy to convince yourself you found the right person to later find out they’re a disaster of a choice. Let’s first talk about common things that happen in a restaurant that lead you to hire the wrong person as your kitchen manager. Then let’s talk about the seven things to look for when interviewing restaurant managers for the kitchen. First, why is it so easy to think you found the right person only to be disappointed over and over? Sometimes you’re in a bind, and you need someone today. You’ve already been running short staffed, you’re going into season, whatever the reason, you need somebody right now. In this bind you’re able to ignore some warning signs or not ask questions that will reveal something that would make a person not hirable. Instead, you get distracted by the problems it would solve to have someone hired.
Bielat Santore & Company – Restaurant Industry Alert
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