NYC’s Bars and Restaurants Are Making a Comeback
Chew on this. Il Postino, a two-decade fixture of Midtown East, almost went under. When the Waldorf Astoria, a key source of covers, was shuttering for a condo conversion, Il Postino owner Luigi Russo knew he had to move fast, so he hired Douglas Elliman’s Matt Leto to find him a new home. They scored a prime perch: a second generation, 3,547-square-foot space at 133 E. 61 St. once home to Nanni Il Valetto. It was asking $32,000 per month but Leto had argued that down by 20% or so. Then the pandemic hit, just as the lease was ready to sign. Russo didn’t balk, but instead asked Leto to haggle harder. “There were nerves, but he knew this would be the right thing,” Leto tells The Post, noting that he scored some extra concessions, including reducing the rent by half for the first year to seal the deal last October. “But you wouldn’t be able to score a deal like that now,” Leto warns. That’s because Manhattan’s pandemic-primed restaurant-apocalypse never really came to be. Of course, 2020 was a tough year for F&B in NYC — stats from tracking firm Datassential showed 82 spots in Manhattan shuttered in Q3 2020, including classics like the 21 Club. But a year later restaurants have rallied: We lost just 27 cafés and restaurants in that same quarter in 2021.
McDonald’s Topped Wall Street’s Estimates for Third Quarter
As Covid restrictions ease. The fast-food chain saw same-store sales growth in its international markets accelerate as Covid-19 restrictions eased. Shares of McDonald’s have risen 11% this year, giving it a market value of $184 billion. McDonald’s on Wednesday reported quarterly earnings and revenue that topped analysts’ estimates as its international sales bounced back, despite Covid-19 resurgences in some markets. In its home market, the nationwide launch of its loyalty program lifted digital sales, and larger order sizes and menu price increases led to higher average check. On the heels of its strong performance, McDonald’s raised its forecast for systemwide sales growth for full-year 2021. Shares of the company rose more than 2% in premarket trading. The company reported fiscal third-quarter net income of $2.15 billion, or $2.86 per share, up from $1.76 billion, or $2.35 per share, a year earlier.
The Pandemic Pushed Hospitality Workers
To make a switch. For 10 years, Chris VandenHende worked as a server in high-end New York City restaurants and catering companies while he pursued his dream of performing on Broadway. He had recently landed as GM of Chef’s Dinner Table, a job that combined his talents for event planning and show biz and was loving it. Then the pandemic hit. “Private events ceased during the pandemic and Broadway shut down. I could have hibernated and waited things out,” said VandenHende, “but once I realized this wasn’t going to be short term and my funds were very limited, I decided to cut my losses, re-strategize and rebrand.” In September 2020, VandenHende moved back to his hometown of Tulsa, Okla., and began pursuing a “pandemic-proof” career in computer science. He is currently enrolled in an 18-month accelerated program, partially funded by grants made available to those who decided to go back to school to learn a new skill. The former GM is far from alone in making the move from hospitality to another field. While VandenHende said he felt lots of emotion over leaving a field he’s passionate about, for others, the pandemic empowered them to seek greater job satisfaction.
Restaurant Jobs Remain Below September 2019 Levels
In 49 states and DC. Restaurants continued to have difficulties boosting staffing levels in September, as job growth slowed significantly from recent months. After seeing average monthly gains of nearly 200,000 jobs during the first seven months of 2021, restaurant employment leveled off in August and September. As a result, eating and drinking places remained more than 900,000 jobs below pre-pandemic staffing levels. On the state level, job losers exceeded job gainers by a wide margin September. Forty-four states lost restaurant jobs between August and September, while only six states and the District of Columbia saw employment levels rise. Several of the states that were among the leaders in restaurant job losses have a sizable seasonal workforce during the summer, so it’s not surprising that staffing levels declined in September. Massachusetts and New Jersey typically rank within the top five states for summer hiring – each boosting their restaurant staffing levels by more than 25,000 seasonal positions.
Think You Have Recruitment Issues?
Try staffing overnight shifts. When Denny’s decided to close for Christmas back in 1988, snapping more than 30 years of continuous service, the industry’s largest ‘round-the-clock operation hit a snag: Many units couldn’t find the key to lock their front doors. Today, those keys might be shiny from use. About 60% of America’s 24-hour Diners, as the brand calls its restaurants, still aren’t operating through the night, according to the most recent update from management. Night owls are still eager to have their 2 a.m. Grand Slams and Moons Over My Hammy, the executives say, but the chain can’t find enough hands to cook the food and take the money. That frustration translated into a 22-point gap in the second quarter between the same-store sales of units operating around the clock and the comps of stores that trimmed their hours. Diners open 24 hours posted a 12% two-year increase in comparable sales for the second quarter, while outlets that closed at night saw a decrease of 10% for the same period.
PA Restaurants and Bars Still Craving Return of ‘Cocktails to Go’
A House-passed bill that would achieve that objective awaits action in the Senate. Pennsylvania restaurants and bars are feeling what it’s like to be one of their patrons waiting to be seated at a table. The state’s bars and restaurants have been waiting for months for the Legislature to act on legislation that will once again allow them to sell alcoholic beverages to go. Up until June, a waiver of a liquor law allowed these establishments to sell what some call “roadies” or cocktails to go. Restaurants and bars brought in money from selling those drinks that helped to partially make up for the losses they suffered from the closures and restrictions placed on them as part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 mitigation strategy. But they lost the temporary right to sell takeout drinks with the expiration of the governor’s emergency disaster declaration for the virus. And they want it back, permanently.
New NYC Rules Banning Propane
Cast chill on outdoor dining scene this winter. No propane for you! The city’s latest move is cold — and for struggling restaurants already battered by the fallout from the pandemic, things are about to get colder. The mayor on Wednesday announced the ban of propane heaters for all NYC restaurants, the very lifeblood of business last winter, icing out both restaurateurs and diners. Chalking it up to a safety decision recommended by the FDNY, Mayor Bill de Blasio decided not to re-up an emergency order that allowed propane use last winter when indoor dining was banned during the pandemic. (Even with 1,200 compliance violations since the program began, there were no propane heater-related fires last year, according to FDNY data reported in the Daily News.) Restaurants can apply for a $5,000 grant to replace them with electric or natural gas alternatives, according to Crain’s New York.
A Leading Jersey City Restaurant Is Crossing the River
With a West Village Wine Bar. Up-and-coming restaurateurs Rowen McDermott and Rebecca Johnson, who own the wildly popular restaurant Frankie in Jersey City, are setting up shop in the West Village early next year with a natural wine bar called Moonflower. Taking over the recently vacated Vin Sur Vingt location on the corner of West 11th Street and Greenwich Avenue, this jewel box boite will feature the couple’s commitment to natural wine, seasonal dining, and Johnson’s whimsical interior design style — all of which have contributed to their success in Jersey City. But similarities between Frankie and what’s planned for Moonflower end there. Frankie’s sprawling footprint in downtown Jersey City — with outdoor seating that has since expanded because of the pandemic, plus an intimate mezzanine-level private room typically used for events — has allowed McDermott and Johnson to offer a more ambitious restaurant experience that includes weekend brunch. But given Moonflower’s 600-square-foot space, they’re exclusively aiming for wine-fueled dinners that languorously flow late into the night; Moonflower, after all, is a nod to flora that only blooms in the dark.
Did You Know?
Seven tips on how to use Facebook ads for restaurants to get more customers. Everybody needs to eat, so the sale of food will never go out of fashion. Still, because there are many competing businesses in the dining sector, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd. Using Facebook Ads can help you get the edge over the competition. Seventy-two percent of people choose a restaurant based on comments and images shared by others on Facebook, according to a study by Social Media Monthly. Those stats demonstrate the power and influence of social media. This article will explore seven tips on using Facebook Ads to increase your market share of customers. It’s time to grab a bigger slice of the metaphorical cake of the restaurant marketing world!
The worker shortage is pushing employee benefits to new levels. The worker shortage has led restaurants to dramatically increase their pay. But they’ve also taken benefits to new heights. As such, restaurants have dramatically increased the benefits they’re offering their workers, now making the industry more likely to offer certain types of benefits than others. For instance, 63% of restaurants in that Black Box survey offered wellness benefits to their workers, up 25% from pre-pandemic levels. By comparison, 45% of all employers, public and private, provide such benefits, according to federal data. Eighty percent of companies offered hourly workers 401k plans, up 14% over 2019 and higher than the 65% of all employers that offered their workers such plans.
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NEW LISTING – MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ ITALIAN SPECIALTY STORE & GOURMET DELI
Commonly known as the best in the area; located in a busy shopping center; owners have developed a rich tradition of serving “Only the Best” quality sandwiches, Italian prepared foods, market items, and custom cut prime meats; everything is made fresh daily, on-premise, from family recipes handed down from generation to generation; a true COVID survivor, this store flourished during the pandemic and has come back even stronger in 2021.
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For more information contact Robert Gillis, Bielat Santore & Company, 732.673.3436
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