Murphy Says Surge in COVID Variants in NJ
Will delay reopenings. Gov. Phil Murphy told CNN that New Jersey will have to hold off on reopenings because of the surge in COVID-19 virus variants in the region. Murphy said the surge in variants means that New Jersey won’t have reopenings in the near future. He didn’t provide a specific timeline. “We won’t be opening further capacities for some time now,” Murphy said on CNN’s New Day on Monday. “We want to do this safely and responsibly.” Even with the progress in vaccines, he said, people still need to take steps to stop the spread, social distance and wear masks.
Let NJ Businesses Open Fully and Safely
NOW! What New Jersey businesses need, even more than state and federal aid, is the ability to fully and safely reopen, NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka told an independent legislative panel examining what a year of COVID-19 business closures and operating restrictions have done to the state’s economy. We can reopen now responsibly and safely,” Siekerka said during the Facebook Live broadcast of the Independent Hearing on Businesses, Jobs and the New Jersey Economy. “All along we have asked that when a business can check the safety boxes, to let them open. The health, safety and welfare of their workforce is tantamount as well as that of their clients, customers and vendors.” With more than a million New Jersey residents now fully vaccinated, and COVID-19 hospitalizations leveling off and even declining in some regions of the state, Siekerka and other business leaders expressed frustration with the state’s slow pace in lifting restrictions that have limited business operations.
SBA to Increase Lending Limit
For COVID-19 economic injury disaster loans. The U.S. Small Business Administration is increasing the maximum amount small businesses and non-profit organizations can borrow through its COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Starting the week of April 6, the SBA is raising the loan limit for the COVID-19 EIDL program from 6-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $150,000 to up to 24-months of economic injury with a maximum loan amount of $500,000. “More than 3.7 million businesses employing more than 20 million people have found financial relief through SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans, which provide low-interest emergency working capital to help save their businesses. However, the pandemic has lasted longer than expected, and they need larger loans. Many have called on SBA to remove the $150,000 cap. We are here to help our small businesses and that is why I’m proud to more than triple the amount of funding they can access ,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman.
How Small Restaurants Leveraged Their Pain
To win stimulus money. The Independent Restaurant Coalition turned tears into cheers, urging owners to share their angst and use that emotion to lobby Congress. On July 1, about 100 members of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, a fledgling group of chefs and restaurateurs from around the country, ended a video conference call by grieving for Blackbird, a critically acclaimed restaurant in Chicago. Coming as coronavirus cases spiked across the country, and on the heels of a spring that brought mass layoffs and paralyzing uncertainty in the business, the permanent closing of a landmark restaurant in the nation’s third-largest city was a bleak turn of events. Nine months later, the coalition can claim a large share of the credit for creating the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, a $28.6 billion grant program for small restaurants, bars and restaurant groups intended to stem the tide of closings that, according to the National Restaurant Association, has permanently shuttered more than 110,000 restaurants and bars in the last year.
Bielat Santore & Company Brings Back
It’s “Restaurant Rap” Interview Series. As the lock down kept businesses closed, Bielat Santore & Company initiated its “Restaurant Rap” series. That series presented recorded virtual video interviews with local restauranteurs and other industry professionals, many of whom were the firm’s clients, customers, and associates. The interviews focused on the challenges and obstacles business owners were facing during the early stages of the pandemic. The popular series is back starting this week under the “How Ya Doing” tagline, inquiring into how these professionals have endured and outlasted the pandemic. Watch the first interview with Angelo DiCapua, owner/operator of MJ’s Restaurants.
Bars & Restaurants
Learning to evolve. Over the past year, the bar and restaurant industry has faced hardships that no one could’ve predicted. Now, more than ever it is important for these businesses to find other profitable avenues. Motion Technology, Inc. is a proud sponsor of the Bar & Restaurant Expo’s virtual experience, EVOLVE and we welcome you to join us! Since November 2020, the Bar & Restaurant Expo has been safely touring the US to speak with knowledgeable owners and operators within the industry who are prevailing, despite the perils of the pandemic. If you work in the bar and restaurant industry, EVOLVE is for you! Whether your establishment is struggling to adhere to state regulations, or closed for the winter season, you will find this virtual event exceedingly beneficial. Listen to the tips and tricks that are getting bars and restaurants through these difficult times and find out what is and isn’t working for different concepts. Now, we know that owners and operators across the country have put their hearts and souls into their businesses, and we want them to know that they are not alone. We want as many businesses as possible to come out of this thriving and on their way to more success than they had before the pandemic.
Great American Takeout Reprises with a Benefit
A year into pandemic. A year into the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the organizers behind on the earliest helping hands to the restaurant industry are back with a benefit reprise. On Wednesday, March 24, The Great American Takeout is returning to aid restaurants and employees that were hit hard and deeply by COVID-19 restrictions and the impact on the industry. The Great American Takeout is calling on consumers to order a takeout or delivery meal and share a photo on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #TheGreatAmericanTakeout. For every takeout order shared socially on Wednesday, the anniversary date, The Great American Takeout’s sponsors will donate $10 to the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and Children of Restaurant Employees to support restaurant workers and their families.
We May Never Know How Many Restaurants Closed
During the Pandemic. In March 2020, Irene Li, chef of Mei Mei, a modern Chinese restaurant and food truck in Boston, and program manager of CommonWealth Kitchen, was spending most of her time thinking about how to keep her restaurant running in a way that made employees and customers feel good. She opened up the restaurant’s books, talking to Eater about profit and loss statements and the importance of making restaurant financials available for her employees and customers. “The lack of willingness to talk about finances in this industry is holding us back,” she said at the time. “I feel like that is the last barrier that we have to break down in order to really all get on the same page and all figure out how to do a better job.” Just days later, the restaurant industry was thrown into a tailspin as the pandemic forced businesses to shutter or temporarily shut down.
NY Assembly, Senate Republicans
Lift the arbitrary 11 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants. Today, Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay and Senate Republican Leader Robert Ortt introduced joint resolutions (J541) to overturn Gov. Cuomo’s arbitrary 11 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants. Barclay, Ortt and members of their conferences have continued to speak out against confusing and unscientific mandates, like this one, inhibiting restaurants in the state. “It’s obvious that we are no longer operating under a system where science is driving decisions. There is no data that explains lifting curfews on certain facilities and leaving bars and restaurants off that list. Overturning Gov. Cuomo’s senseless, arbitrary directives is as easy as passing a resolution. It’s time for Democrats to take that step,” said Leader Barclay (R,C,I-Pulaski).
Did You Know?
March Madness, stimulus checks combine for huge delivery weekend. The return of the NCAA basketball tournament combined with the arrival of stimulus checks for millions of Americans made this past weekend a big one for food delivery. In fact, some restaurants and delivery services saw record numbers. Marco’s Pizza, for instance, had its best Friday ever in terms of order volume, and generated record sales for the week, a company spokesperson said in an email. “March typically is a strong month for Marco’s with the excitement around March Madness,” they said. “The addition of stimulus dollars, no doubt, pushed us over the top.” Delivery provider Grubhub also hit a benchmark Friday when it surpassed 1 million orders for a single day.
How restaurants can protect workers, guests, and brands as hiring ramps up. As 2021 continues to unfold, we see quick-service restaurants choosing between a blend of full-time, part-time, and bringing back laid off/furloughed employees from 2020 to meet staffing needs, which will likely grow as we head into spring and summer. This may require different tactics and strategies when it comes to recruiting, hiring, and onboarding. The right program will account for these nuances while allowing you to focus on building a great culture and creating an atmosphere of trust and safety for your employees, customers, and community. Here are some best practices that we recommend to our quick-service restaurant clients.
Bielat Santore & Company – Restaurant Industry Daily Alerts
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Bielat Santore & Company teamed up with SCORE NJ, the states’ largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors to present a series of webinars on small business financing for the hospitality industry. The initial March 4th webinar was well-attended and well-received. The second webinar in the 3-part series will take place on Thursday, March 25th at 10:00am. The topic for this webinar is “Assembling Your Loan Requisition Presentation.” Sign up now!