Governor Phil Murphy Signs Legislation
Providing $25 Million in small business aid. Governor Phil Murphy today signed into law S-3523, which provides $25 million in federal COVID-19 relief aid for small businesses throughout New Jersey. The bill – sponsored by Senators Dawn Marie Addiego and Joe Lagana and Assemblymen Gordon Johnson, John Armato, and Roy Freiman – focuses on providing a lifeline to microbusinesses with five or fewer employees. The bill is part of a five-bill, $100 million relief effort aimed at helping New Jersey’s economy recover from the year-long pandemic. “Main Street businesses have always been the backbone of our economy and unfortunately have been the hardest hit during the pandemic,” said Governor Murphy. “This bill, along with others I’ll sign later this month, will help thousands of businesses keep their doors open as we climb out of the economic hardships wrought by COVID-19.”
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, 2021, 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.
Good News for Restaurants Seeking Revitalization Fund Grants
No longer required to register with the government. Restaurant owners seeking to get a grant from the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund that was included in the American Rescue Plan Act recently got some good news: They no longer will be required to register with the government on the System of Award Management. Getting a so-called SAM account often was a cumbersome effort. The Small Business Administration, which is administering the fund, said it no longer is necessary. The SBA said the application process for the program, which will be first-come, first-served, is expected to be available later this month. The decision by the SBA to eliminate the SAM requirement appears to be another way the Restaurant Revitalization Fund appears favorable to restaurants and bars — certainly more favorable than the Paycheck Protection Program.
The Best Outdoor Dining Restaurants
In New Jersey. There is only so much cooking and takeout you can eat before you start clamoring for a restaurant meal. In the wake of COVID-19, many local establishments are beginning to offer outdoor dining. Now, Best of NJ is celebrating the reopening of many eateries by sharing The Best Outdoor Dining Restaurants in NJ. Below, you’ll find top-rated restaurants throughout NJ that now offer al fresco dining. However, there is one thing to keep in mind; you typically want to call ahead for reservations at restaurants with outdoor dining. This is because outdoor seating venues are often small and may have seating times or limited hours.
3 Reasons Not to Invest
In a restaurant franchise. Buying a franchise can be a good investment in the long run, but RB’s The Bottom Line says buyers should step back and think before diving in. A lot of people appear to be shopping for a restaurant franchise right now, which is what always happens in the aftermath of a recession. People lose jobs. They get sick of not having control over their own destiny, and they take some savings and invest in a hot growth concept. Franchising has made millionaires out of plenty of people. Get into the right concept with the right attitude and a corporate refugee can make a good living and have an asset they can potentially pass onto the next generation. Restaurants are also not going away and the next couple of years could be good for the industry. But restaurant franchise investors can also lose everything. Many concepts that emerge coming out of recessions end up with equally strong declines, leaving franchisees with nothing for their investment and hard work.
Four Critical Marketing Mistakes
To avoid. After an especially difficult year, small businesses like restaurants are scrambling to recover. With a changing landscape, it is more vital than ever to help your potential customers see great value in your business. As business owners learn to adapt, here are four of the most critical marketing mistakes to avoid. (i) Forgetting About Mobile Users; (ii) Not Offering Customer Incentives; (iii) Not Keeping it Simple Enough; and (iv) Underestimating or Overlooking Gen Z.
Burrito Chain Hits Zurich with $100M Pandemic Countersuit
Alleging $100 million in coverage for pandemic-related losses to its restaurants nationwide. The owner of the Freebirds World Burrito chain slapped Zurich American Insurance Co. on Wednesday with a Florida federal countersuit alleging the insurer is on the hook for $100 million in coverage for pandemic-related losses to its restaurants nationwide. Tavistock Restaurants Group LLC alleged there was a “direct physical loss or damage” from the inability to use its 67 Tex-Mex restaurants and 20 high-end restaurants, which should have triggered insurance coverage. Each location had to reduce operations, make changes or repairs to its property, and limit the number of guests, according to the owner. To this day, the restaurants continue to lose revenue from the different phased reopenings in certain states, the company said. “The probability and risk of illness prevents the use of the space in no less of a way than a hurricane could render the interior space of a business unusable,” Tavistock said. “Under any circumstance, the loss of functionality of the space for business purposes exists. It is the diminishment of Tavistock’s ability to use its physical space; what could once hold many now can safely hold only a few, or no one.”
Restaurants, Bars, Gyms and More Jump to 75% Indoor Capacity
In Pennsylvania. Governor Wolf announced the planned expansion of indoor capacity at restaurants and bars to 75% several weeks ago. Today, that plan became reality. More people can go out to grab a drink or get a bite to eat at bars and restaurants in State College, and Penn State students aren’t scared to go out. “Yup, so I definitely feel comfortable going to them,” said Matt Solomon, a junior at Penn State. “I think right now, a lot of people have been vaccinated, and I think all the restaurants and bars are still going to be following guidelines, where they space people out and where people are going to be wearing masks when they’re not at their tables, so I personally feel comfortable going out.” Restaurants and bars have been open in State College and across the state, but now bar service can return, you can have a drink without ordering food, and capacity can increase to 75%, which we haven’t seen in a year.
Sustainability Platform Abillion Commits $1 Million
To save vegan restaurants in the United States. Across the United States, vegan restaurants have suffered significant losses in business through this pandemic. “abillion,” a social media platform that promotes sustainable living, is launching the Save Vegan Restaurants fund under its impact banner. With this initiative, abillion has committed to donating up to $1 million to support vegan restaurants in the USA. abillion is free to join, and with each review, members generate a $1 donation, with no limit on how many reviews they can post. The #SaveVeganRestaurants campaign launched April 1st in partnership with We Are Impactors, a crowd-sourced discovery platform for impactful vegan, environmental, and social justice videos, and nonprofit Million Dollar Vegan. Celebrities like Mayim Bialik, Daniella Monet, Sophia Esperanza, Marco Antonio Regil, Amanda Le, Eddie Garza, David Carter and many more are joining this campaign to raise awareness and support their favorite vegan restaurants. Participants will use their platforms to drive new audiences and customers to vegan restaurants’ Instagrams, with every new share and follow an opportunity for restaurants to deliver their messages and increase their sales.
Did You Know?
How to assess your parking lot repair needs after back-to-back mild winters. Up until the recent winter storm that dumped snow and ice on much of the United States, much of the U.S. has experienced back-to-back mild winters with higher-than-average temperatures and little snowfall, which comes with some bad news for parking lots and sidewalks. During the pandemic, restaurants have also lost over $120 billion in sales, making operating budgets slimmer than ever before. It’s important for restaurant operators to understand how to assess parking lot repairs heading into 2021, especially as outdoor dining in many states will begin again heading into the spring and many restaurants will need to rely on their parking lot space to relaunch it.
The restaurant industry is on a hiring spree as COVID-19 recovery continues. Restaurants and bars hired 176,000 people in March, the biggest increase of any industry last month. As COVID-19 recovery continues and dining rooms head back to normal capacities, restaurants are ramping up hiring. Multiple chains, including regional McDonald’s restaurants and Sonic Drive-In, have announced hiring drives over the past month in response to growing demand at this point in the pandemic. This trend is reflected by the latest hiring numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In March, restaurants and bars gained 176,000 jobs, down from February’s increased pace of 309,000 jobs. But despite the month-over-month slowdown, hospitality led the way in the March U.S. jobs report and had the largest increase of any industry, as economic activity resumes while the nationwide unemployment rate dropped to 6%.
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 third webinar in the 3-part series will take place on Thursday, April 15th at 10:00am. The topic for this webinar is “Creating Financial Proformas.” Sign up now!
Restaurant Rap Interview Series – “How Ya Doin?”. 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 under the “How Ya Doin” tagline; inquiring into how these professionals have endured and outlasted the pandemic. Watch the next interview with celebrity chef David Burke in next Wednesday’s “Restaurant Industry Alert.”