Congress Introduces $60 Billion Replenishment
Of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Congress introduced legislation Thursday to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund with a $60 billion second round of restaurant relief, after the U.S. Small Business Administration received requests for more than triple the allocated funds the first time around. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act of 2021 would more than double the original $28.6 billion of relief for restaurants and was introduced as a bipartisan effort again by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-PA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). “While it appears that our work to prioritize restaurants most in need was successful in the first round, the extraordinary demand for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund shows that many more businesses still desperately need help,” Blumenauer said in a statement. “We must work quickly to replenish this critical relief program and ensure all local restaurants get the support needed to keep their doors open, pay their staff, and support the industry’s trillion-dollar supply chain that impacts every sector of our economy.”
SBA Halts Relief Payments to Almost 3,000 Women/Minority-Owned Business
New York Launched $800 Million
Small business recovery grant program. New York State announced Thursday the launch of an $800 million small business recovery grant program, offering small businesses and for-profit art/cultural institutions the opportunity to receive debt-free grants between $5,000-$50,000 for COVID-related expenses from March 1, 2020, and April 1, 2021, depending on the business’ annual gross receipts. The New York State COVID-19 pandemic small business recovery grant program was announced on the heels of the news that the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund quickly ran out of money due to overwhelming demand. “Small businesses are one of the most critical components of New York’s economy and were disproportionately impacted by the economic devastation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “As we build New York back better than it was before, this program will help these small businesses -particularly those with socially or economically disadvantaged owners -regain an economic foothold so they can forge ahead toward a brighter, more prosperous future.
Labor Shortage Is Forcing Restaurants to Get Creative
And remain compliant. Service a little slow at dinner? It may be because your favorite restaurant is having a hard time finding and keeping workers, as the industry is facing an unprecedented labor shortage. The Department of Labor released the April 2021 Job Openings and Labor Turnover summary last week; the numbers are not pretty for the restaurant industry. Workers quitting their jobs increased to new highs of 4 million and 2.7%, with a record 5.6% of restaurant workers quitting their jobs in April. Job openings increased to 9.3 million and 6%, both records. Restaurants job openings increased the most by any industry, adding nearly 350,000 new job openings since March, for a total of 1.34 million job openings in April. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has described the labor shortage as “getting worse by the day” even making it the focus of a new initiative. The restaurant industry is the ultimate service industry, so it had no choice but to get creative in attacking the problem..
How Restaurant Owners and Managers Can Reduce Workers’ Comp Liability
Around the COVID-19 vaccine. As restaurants reopen, this new set of risks could have a significant impact on this community, which is returning to in-person work, often with less guidance and support than larger businesses. So as a restaurant owner or food service manager, how can you best minimize workers comp liability to allow summer 2021 to be the successful reopening of the economy that we are all ready for? With the relief and excitement that comes with reopening a restaurant, it’s critical that owners make well informed health and safety decisions to best protect themselves and their employees. According to legal experts, if an employee is trying to make a vaccine-related workers’ comp insurance claim, the factors reported will typically include whether the vaccination occurred at work, whether the employer is the one that paid for the vaccine, and if the employer did something to encourage the vaccination or benefitted from the vaccination in any way. Based on the above, owners and employers that choose to require a vaccine should understand how their approach could impact their workers’ comp insurance liability.
Get Ready for the Great Restaurant Resurgence
Hard Insurance Market Presents New Challenge to Restaurants
Insurance pressures facing restaurateurs. The hospitality industry in general was hit badly by the pandemic lockdown. For the lodging sector, for example, the culmination of massive losses from unprecedented acts of God (fires, floods, and winds) and man (active shooter incidents) has been the exit of a growing number of carriers from the category all together. Restaurants are being pressured on their property and casualty coverage, specifically commercial auto, general liability and especially their umbrella, or excess liability. Umbrella coverage has been a challenge largely due to escalating Employment Practices Liability (EPL) lawsuits. In general, some 90,000 EPLI claims are filed annually, now comprising 30 percent of all civil cases in the U.S. and costing an average of $450,000 per case. Even before the pandemic, the restaurant industry was rife with EPLI complaints, not just for wage and hour violations, but increasingly, for issues like sexual harassment and age discrimination. COVID has compounded the issue, with complaints over adequacy of health and safety precautions.
Building Restaurants Loyalty in the ‘New Normal’
There are changes restaurants can implement today to make their programs stand out. Of the industries most impacted by the pandemic, the restaurant and food sector saw a tremendous shift in consumer demand that required agility and innovative thinking to navigate. With more customers utilizing mobile ordering solutions to fulfill contactless meal transactions, whether onsite or with delivery/pick-up, large and small businesses needed to adapt and master e-commerce and loyalty offerings to keep pace with growing demand. Today, consumers are more cautious with their buying habits, opting for ways to save money and get the most out of their purchases. The rise of digital commerce and tightening purse strings have made loyalty programs even more visible and appetizing. Additionally, digital competition driven by the advent of delivery adopted by traditionally dine-in restaurants, and the resulting newly saturated market of businesses providing takeaway and delivery services, has rapidly evolved the importance of robust loyalty programs. In fact, PYMNTS data found that 39 percent of U.S. consumers cited loyalty programs as an important incentive to spend more and 44 percent of restaurant customers use these programs as they find more value in the improved overall guest experience. As more attention is on loyalty programs, there are changes that restaurants can implement today to make their programs stand out.
Will the End of Expanded Unemployment Really Fix the Hiring Crisis?
Did You Know?
Bielat Santore & Company – Restaurant Industry Daily Alerts
A voice for our industry. If you are finding these weekly bulletins informative and beneficial during this pandemic, we kindly ask that you write a brief Google review providing a vote of your appreciation. Simply Google “Bielat Santore & Company” and when the company name appears click the button on the right to write your review or; if you don’t use Gmail, go to Google Maps, type “Bielat Santore & Company” – Allenhurst, NJ into Google Maps; scroll down and you will see an option to leave a review.