Restaurants Ask Congress for More Aid
As omicron ravages industry. The National Restaurant Association on Monday urged Congress to provide additional federal aid to restaurants that are struggling to survive a downturn driven by the omicron variant surge. In a letter to congressional leaders, the restaurants’ group asked lawmakers to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), a $28.6 billion fund to help struggling operators that quickly ran dry after it was passed as part of the American Rescue Plan. The association wrote that around half of the 177,000 eligible restaurants that missed out on federal aid will struggle to stay in business without additional support, according to a recent survey of restaurant owners. A National Restaurant Association survey found that 88 percent of restaurants saw reduced demand for indoor dining due to the omicron variant. The group estimates that the initial round of RRF grants saved 900,000 restaurant jobs and that fully replenishing the fund would save more than 1.6 million jobs.
NJ Restaurants Go Viral
Threatening workers with ‘5 star’ review policy. Two New Jersey chain restaurants found themselves in hot water after photos went viral of an employee notice that stated workers were required to earn online reviews of “five stars” in order to keep their jobs. Both Tio Taco and Tequila Bar along with Tommy’s Tavern and Tap — owned by Triple T Hospitality Group — have found themselves at the mercy of the internet since the threatening memo from Tio’s Edison location went viciously viral on Reddit Friday. “Every service employee for FOH is required to get a minimum of 5 Google reviews per month to remain employed at the Edison location starting February 2022,” the post stated. (FOH refers to those employees who work in the front of the house, such as a waiter or hostess.) “The review must include your name and five stars in order to count,” it continued, adding that there would be “contests” with prizes for those employees who can rake in the most top marks.
NJ Towns are Now Allowed to Designate Open Container Areas
Where you can drink beer, wine and spirits openly. Open container areas — where you can drink beer, wine and spirits openly — could be coming to your town. Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a bill (S-2921 and A-5554) that allows municipalities to designate outdoor areas where people can drink alcoholic beverages. After sailing through both houses, it reached Murphy’s desk. Towns will now be allowed to designate the entire municipality or a section of it, such as a park or a few blocks of a downtown, as an “open container area,” a pocket where people over 21 can carry and drink open containers of alcoholic beverages. In other words, adults in these areas would be able to sip on a White Claw with the same ease and legality as a Coke. Each municipality will have to hold a public hearing to discuss the benefits of creating an open container area before the ordinance can take effect.
Hospitality Business Winter Weather Preparedness
And Protection. While still dealing with pandemic related challenges, this winter may bring an additional layer of unwelcomed obstacles and losses for the hospitality industry. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), winter storms caused $1.1 billion in insured losses in 2020. In the first half of 2021, winter storms caused a record $15.1 billion in insured losses, almost totally due to the February 2021 winter storms that affected a large area of the United States. With the winter season officially upon us, it’s important for hospitality businesses to implement safety measures and examine their insurance coverage in advance to ensure they are adequately protected. So, what can you do to minimize your risk and keep employees and customers safe this winter? Plan ahead. Ask yourself, what are my biggest risks and how can I mitigate them. You should pre-plan as much as possible to ensure continued uptime and safe conditions for all.
Optimizing Business Performance and Employee Retention
Through workforce management. A single platform with all workforce management capabilities under one roof can help get you there. In the new restaurant landscape, workforce management is a critical aspect of operational forecasting. The current labor shortage—and new COVID variants—is pushing operators to the limit, forcing many to close dining rooms (just when they were beginning to reopen), rearrange their labor scheduling, limit operating hours, and offer generous sign-on and retention incentives as a labor shortage puts a squeeze on businesses’ operations. According to Quinyx’s 2021 State of the Deskless Workforce Report, 88 percent of workers say they experience stress at their job on a daily basis due to understaffing issues. Scheduling has always been a time-consuming task for restaurant managers, but with so many new variables to consider, the challenge is compounded. If a store is overstaffing, it is likely overpaying and not making the most out of its workforce. If it’s understaffing, it may not hit sales targets and cause unnecessary stress and strain to its hourly workers. Either way, the bottom line and the workforce suffer.
Reimagining the Restaurant Experience
Is a recipe for success in staffing. American restaurant operators have arguably never faced such uncertain times as now. After coping with a once in a generation pandemic, most have struggled to adjust to the post-COVID period of inflation, unsettled supply chains and most of all, a shrunken pool of human resources. While labor shortages themselves are nothing new, the current competition for workers is particularly fierce, and its daily impact on operations is palpable. The National Restaurant Association observed steady job growth after the huge losses of 2020, but things noticeably slowed in August, and many markets have still not recovered from the closures of more than 100,000 restaurants during the pandemic. A number of operators have had to reduce hours or operating days due to a lack of available staff. Others worry they cannot compete with eye-catching incentives offered by competitors, like full or partial college tuition or hefty sign-on bonuses. With all this in mind, the idea of attracting new talent, much less retaining existing workforces, can seem daunting. Finding solutions starts with taking stock of a few key areas, and it’s important for restaurants to be frank about conditions within their control that are feeding the current situation.
How to Weigh Investments in 2022
Your three-question litmus test. Making solid financial decisions in the restaurant/hospitality business has never been easy, but these days, it’s harder than ever. Back in the old days (two years ago), we had a predictable flow of business. We knew how many people to expect on the weekends and during the week. Prices for raw products were consistent, and while there were fluctuations, it was nothing like today. Now, meat can jump by more than $1 per pound in just a few days. Remember when you would place an order—and the next day, it would arrive as planned? Today, my customers’ orders are short by as much as 10%. And unfortunately, they don’t find out until delivery. Since the pandemic started, I’ve been working with restaurant owners from New York to California, weighing how to invest their PPP dollars and hard-earned restaurant funds. During this time, I developed a three-question litmus test. Let’s review the litmus test and apply it to some real-world investments my clients have considered, as well as my recommendations for each.
The Culinary Institute of America Going Forward
Looking ahead. As the world’s premier culinary college, The Culinary Institute of America has a proven track record of preparing the future leaders of the food industry for careers in, and beyond, the kitchen. As career options within the food industry expanded over the past 75 years, so did the CIA’s curriculum. “Food touches every facet of our lives. And with a world that is more connected by food than ever, we are excited about the future,” says CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan. “ Today’s CIA students will be the leaders who solve some of the biggest challenges our industry is facing, and it’s our job to prepare them to do that work.” The first lesson students learn at the CIA is “mise en place” (everything in its place)—which is a philosophy that Dr. Ryan says not only sets students up for success in the kitchen, but in every area of their life. “The critical thinking skills our students learn from the moment they get here, will serve them for years to come,” he says.
Did You Know?
9 new items trending on global menus. Winter menus in the U.S. are showcasing a lot of comfort foods, healthier options and low- or no-proof beverages. These items are also trending on chain menus in other parts of the world, often showcasing local flavors and ingredients. But a look at Technomic’s latest Global Menu Innovation report reveals some pretty far-out applications for these trends. One of these may provide inspiration for a future LTO here.
The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation opens applications for $1 million in scholarships and grants. NRAEF scholarships and grants seek to lighten the financial burden of secondary education and support future leaders in the industry. In 2021, as students continued to face unprecedented pandemic and economic challenges, the NRAEF awarded $1.1 million in scholarships and individual grants to more than 300 students at more than 130 colleges and universities across 44 states and territories. Nearly 60 percent of 2021 scholarship recipients were Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC); half were first-generation college students; and 70 percent were women.
Bielat Santore & Company – Restaurant Industry Alert
CANNABIS BOOM COMING TO NEW JERSEY
COULD THIS BE THE #1 RETAIL SITE ON THE EAST COAST
Atlantic City, New Jersey, with over 27 million visitors annually, is poised to become the cannabis hub of the East Coast. In a recent article, Kash McKinley, assistant to Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. stated, “Big is not even the word to describe it. We are in the position to become the No. 1 cannabis destination on the East Coast.”
Bielat Santore & Company is offering a property located at 1217 Pacific Avenue, Atlantic City, New Jersey as a potential cannabis retail dispensary. The property is comprised of a 9,350 square foot three-story building on a 24,938 square foot lot with parking for 25 cars. The current property use is a restaurant; however, it is located within the approved “Green Zone” permitting cannabis recreational dispensary and consumption lounges. It is also located within a “Qualified Opportunity Zone,” offering tax incentives to investors. This property can be purchased with or without an additional 20-car parking lot across the street.
For additional information, contact Richard Santore, 732.531-4200.
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