Restaurant Revitalization Fund is Now Closed
But you can still check status of your application. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund program, which provided more than $28 million of economic aid to restaurants and other establishments struggling to make ends meet as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, was closed Friday, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced. The application platform, however, will remain open for the next two weeks to allow applicants to check their status, address payment corrections or ask questions. The SBA will disable access to the platform July 14. The average award was $283,000, the SBA said. “The $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund provided desperately needed relief to more than 100,000 restaurants and other food and beverage businesses across the nation, with significant funding going to our hardest-hit, underserved businesses,” SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman said.
New NJ Law Revises Economic Recovery Act
To make incentives more accessible. A new law revises the $14.9 billion Economic Recovery Act of 2020 to make incentives more accessible to small businesses and encourage further investments in innovation. Gov. Phil Murphy signed the so-called “cleanup legislation,” which was strongly supported by NJBIA, on Friday evening, July 2. The bill, A-5939/S-3993, was sponsored by Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin (D-29) and Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, (D-29). In addition to increasing accessibility and flexibility for awardees, the bill also contains a key provision backed by NJBIA regarding the percentage of workers that need to be physically located in the company’s workplace for incentives to be awarded. Instead of requiring 80% of an awarded company’s employees to work on-site, the new threshold is 60%. “This change will be a positive step forward to address the new, post-pandemic remote workforce realities,” NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Christopher Emigholz said. “As we have seen, more businesses are allowing hybrid work scenarios as a result of the productivity they found during the pandemic.”
Restaurant Could Serve Alcohol in a Larger Outdoor Area
A Pandemic Lifeline for Restaurants
Delivery is ‘here to stay’. As in-person dining returns, home delivery is holding up. For restaurants, services like DoorDash and Uber Eats could become a permanent part of their business. Last fall, as the weather cooled and coronavirus cases began to rise, May Seto, the owner of Grand Lake Kitchen in Oakland, refurbished a used pizza oven and started a takeout and delivery pizza business out of an extra kitchen where she had cooked for catering and private events. Now, one of Grand Lake’s two locations serves as a hub for couriers picking up the restaurant’s cafe fare and pizzas. Ms. Seto also has plans to rebuild the entryway at her other location to provide more space for the flocks of delivery drivers picking up food. “We might rearrange the front of the restaurant a little bit and keep delivery in mind as if it’s here to stay, because it is,” she said. Delivery services like DoorDash and Uber Eats became a lifeline for businesses during the pandemic. Restaurants learned the logistics of dealing with them — rearranging kitchens and stockpiling takeout containers in abandoned dining rooms — and reluctantly accepted delivery fees that cut into their already thin profit margins.
A Successful Menu Refresh Can Enhance the Customer Experience
Any changes should be strategic, rather than just on a whim. Restaurants are gifted with the inherent opportunity to keep customers enticed in various ways, not least of which being the chance to update or change up their menus from time to time. Menu rotation keeps things fresh and innovative for both customers and restaurant staff. There are a variety of different factors to consider when devising menu updates, seasonal items or limited time offers (LTOs). It is important to find balance between sharing new items and keeping customer favorites on the menu. Some signature dishes are what keep many customers coming back, so you need to be careful not to get too far away from your specialties. When considering new ideas, the key is to maintain a disciplined process of how to vet out and implement new menu items. It’s crucial to keep your menu at a reasonable size so that it’s both appealing to the customer and easy for your staff to execute properly. When optimizing your menu, be sure to make an assessment of what’s really selling. You will likely recognize your most popular items straight away. You should also be able to see which items or dishes are selling less frequently and removing some of those from rotation can free up space to accommodate new or seasonal options.
Four Steps to Bring in Hungry Customers
Restaurants Are Recovering
But worried about food costs and labor. Things are looking up for restaurants. More than three-fourths are now confident that they’ll outlast the pandemic, and roughly the same amount said they’re doing well financially. What’s more, 90% of restaurants believe they’ll be doing very well or somewhat well financially a year from now. That’s according to a survey of 300 restaurants last month by consultancy Quadrant Strategies, commissioned by DoorDash and Uber Eats. The results indicate a growing sense of optimism from an industry that was hammered by the virus. During the worst of the pandemic, the survey found, less than half of restaurants were confident they would survive. The survey revealed two factors that might have turned the tide for those operators: outdoor dining structures and alcohol delivery. More than 65% of the restaurants surveyed built outdoor dining areas during the pandemic. Among those, 79% said it had a somewhat or very significant impact on revenue. And more than a quarter of the 300 restaurants offered alcohol delivery, which was almost unilaterally seen as a boon: 95% of those that offered it said it increased their revenue. With that said, the post-pandemic period has created a new set of concerns for restaurants. Chief among them is the rising cost of goods. Forty-three percent of restaurants listed that among their top three worries, followed by employee shortages (35%).
Restaurants and Bars Continue to Fuel Employment Gains in June
Jobless rate remains steady at 5.9%. Foodservice and drinking places provided nearly a quarter of the U.S. employment increases in June as the jobless rate remained steady at 5.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 850,000 in June, the bureau said in its monthly report, and more than 194,000 of those jobs were gained in foodservice and drinking places. The unemployment rate of 5.9%, and the number of unemployed persons, at 9.5 million, were little changed in June, the bureau said. “These measures are down considerably from their recent highs in April 2020 but remain well above their levels prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” the bureau said, noting that in February 2020, before the pandemic was declared, the unemployment rate was at 3.5% and the number of unemployed was at 5.7 million. Restaurant companies continued to launch new efforts to hire workers.
Did You Know?
Why bartender education matters. Nick Kosevich is a cocktail connoisseur. Not only had he worked for years as a bar manager at the Town Talk Diner in Minneapolis, an establishment on the forefront of the craft cocktail movement, but in 2009, he joined forces with Ira Koplowitz, formerly of the James Beard Award-nominated Violet Hour in Chicago, to found Bittercube Bitters. Educated bartenders lead to educated consumers, Kosevich says, who in turn respect the effort that goes into each drink and are willing to pay a premium price. But the bar staff has to hold up their end of the bargain. “Bartending is a craft, right? Just like woodworking, you can’t give somebody some wood and some nails and a hammer and say, ‘Make me a bookshelf.’ Somebody has to show you how to do these things,” he says. “Bartending is a craft; it’s repetition. You get better at it the more you do it.
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.
Summer Inventory Sale. Click the link below to access a catalog of our summer listing inventory sale. Restaurants, bars, catering halls and more throughout NJ available exclusively through our office.