Restaurant Revitalization Fund Dropped
Biden signs executive order that will lead to cryptocurrency regulation. This week’s top story was, Restaurant Revitalization Fund is dropped from omnibus spending bill as hope for relief dwindles. A second round of restaurant relief will not be included in the omnibus spending bill expected to be voted on by Friday. The rallying cry for a last-ditch effort to include another round of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund in President Biden’s spending package was led by Senate Small Business chair Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) in February. In other news, President Joseph Biden signed an executive order Wednesday to “ensure responsible development of digital assets,” or to regulate the previously unrestricted world of cryptocurrency, which according to the White House, surpassed $3 trillion in value in November. “The financial innovation and the technological innovation underlying this boom has a lot of potential benefit, but the risks and the costs are increasingly becoming apparent,” Brian Deese, director of Biden’s National Economic Council, told CNBC. “We need a 21st-century government structure to actually address this.”
New Research Shows Travel is Set for a Rebound
Tourists and business travelers are getting back on the road at nearly pre-pandemic levels. In another sign of business conditions normalizing for the hospitality business, nearly 9 out of 10 consumers worldwide intend to spend at least as much on travel this year as they did in pre-pandemic years, according to a survey by American Express. Separately, research from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) shows that business travel, a key source of business for restaurants, should rebound to 80% of the 2019 level by the third quarter of this year. Analysis conducted for the group projects travel for business will increase overall this year by 14% from the 2021 level, with the tally topping pre-pandemic levels by 2024. The findings are particularly good news for fine-dining restaurants. Before the pandemic, white-tablecloth places drew about 41% of their sales from out-of-towners, according to the National Restaurant Association’s State of the Restaurant Industry report.
9 P.M. is the New Midnight
The “new normal”. Last week I got a real taste of “normal” after visiting New York Magazine HQ for the first time, followed by happy hour at a nearby bar — a little employer-supported socializing to remind us that it’s not so terrible to be together after all. And it worked, because all of a sudden, this happy hour became three happy hours, and it was 8:30. p.m. I dipped out and decided to walk over to Frenchette only to see on my phone, to my horror, that the restaurant was “closing soon.” It wasn’t even 9 p.m. When I sat down, I asked the less hirsute of two tall, skinny bartenders whether the restaurant really closes so early, and he confirmed that, yep, the kitchen tries to shut down at 9:30, but will stay open to fire food for anyone who comes in before then. It seemed odd, given the crowd, but it turned out I would be among the very last people to come in that night.
Grubhub Sued by Washington, D.C.
For excessive fees and false advertising. The lawsuit accuses the delivery giant of “deceptive practices,” including restaurants added to the Grubhub platform without consent. The District of Columbia is accusing Grubhub of deceptive business practices, according to a lawsuit filed Monday. The lawsuit claims that Grubhub deceives both customers by obscuring fees and failing to disclose menu practice increases, and restaurant operators by adding them to the Grubhub directory without their consent. “We are seeking to force Grubhub to end its unlawful practices and be transparent so D.C. residents can make informed decisions about where to order food and how to support local businesses,” D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said in a statement sent to the Associated Press. According to the lawsuit, there are 1,000 “partner restaurants” in the Washington, D.C. area that are listed on the app that don’t currently have contracts with Grubhub. According to the lawsuit, the company was also deceptive in how it listed promotions.
Tangible Strategies to Increase Retention
Four hidden costs of turnover. For operators in the restaurant industry, facing all too familiar workforce pressures in 2022, greater retention should be this year’s focus. The sector is on the heels of what the Washington Post dubbed “the most unusual job market in American history,” compounded by a newly familiar list of challenges: supply chain woes bearing down on procurement, a broader shift from onsite food consumption to app-based food delivery services, and escalating arms race of compensations and benefits among operators competing for an ever-shrinking pool of talent. Hospitality employees separated from their jobs at a rate of 6.8 percent in August 2021 according to St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank numbers, more than double the average for all other industries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that some 890,000 workers in the sector quit their jobs in a single month. In 2006, the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research estimated that the average cost to an employer per turned-over employee amounted to $5,864. Accounting for inflation, $1.00 in 2006 is equivalent to about $1.38 today, making the current cost roughly $8,092 per employee. For a business with 100 employees, assuming 75 percent turnover rate, the final figure would be $606,900 annually.
Can Concierge Medical Services Work
In the Restaurant Sector. For several years we have been considering the viability of high touch healthcare concierge programs in the restaurant space. The market leaders in this field are several third-party providers, although some carriers are also developing and offering these services. The attraction of the strategy is increased employee perception of the plans while reducing plan costs. One of our restaurant clients has adopted this strategy and our initial analysis is that first-year medical spend was reduced by approximately five percent and, more importantly, that a two-percent reduced rate of increase is expected in future years. These results are achieved by dramatically increasing employee engagement and awareness of the benefits offering and gently steering members to the highest value providers and facilities. The premise is that employees (especially those with significant health issues) have difficulty navigating the world of health insurance and, therefore, are susceptible to making poor and inefficient choices. The theory is that ongoing interaction and assistance will build trust. This is accomplished by changing how they receive service and advice. Rather than contacting the insurance carrier with benefit, or service and care questions, members are directed to call a single number to speak to a concierge who will directly assist them (no more call trees).
Restaurants are in the Dark
About daylight savings. Republicans and Democrats can’t seem to agree on what time of day it is, much less a proposal that would affect every American household. Yet an equally split U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill last week to adopt daylight savings time nationwide for all 12 months. The measure is likely to fly through the House of Representatives and almost certainly be signed into law by President Biden. And why not? The benefits sound as wholesome as parenthood and apple pie—a way to provide America’s hard-working families with a few more hours of sunlight together. But as this week’s edition of Restaurant Rewind reports, there’s a dark side to the situation for restaurants. As earlier efforts to extend daylight savings time have revealed, there’s another motive to pushing clocks forward for an hour on a permanent basis. Vested interests know the shift would provide families with more time to cook and eat a special meal at home. Mom and dad’s main alternative might be to use their kitchen, but the move also has the potential to keep families grilling in lieu of eating in a restaurant.
The Best Restaurants in Philly
According to the James Beard Awards. Philadelphia has award-winning restaurants, but what exactly does award-winning mean? It can mean many things, but one of the industry’s most prestigious honors is the James Beard Awards, whose mission is “to recognize exceptional talent and achievement in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and broader food system, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive.” Within Philadelphia, there are many, many restaurants that have been nominated or won a James Beard award, ranging from a beloved roast pork sandwich shop to Israeli fine-dining where you have to work to snag a reservation. If you go beyond city limits, there are even more nominees and winners, including Zeppoli and Sagami in Collingswood, Andiario in West Chester, Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey in Bristol, Corinne’s Place in Camden, and more. Inside the city, there are upward of 30 restaurants that have deserved nods from the James Beard Foundation. Here are the James Beard-nominated and James Beard-winning restaurants, chefs, and personalities in Philadelphia.
Did You Know?
New Jersey food think tank goes live! Are Covid adaptations a necessity or novelty? That’s just one of the topics covered by a group of NJ restaurants, academics from various NJ universities and other experienced food professionals when they came together with the Food Think Tank to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their unique businesses and how they could work more effectively in the future. Drs. Charles Feldman and Ethne Swartz of the Food Systems and Management programs at Montclair State University recently founded the New Jersey Policy Think Tank for the food and restaurant industry. The restauranteurs indicated that limited capacity restrictions prompted restaurants to implement patio dining, which has greatly benefited local NJ restaurants, but only those with the wherewithal to offer outdoor seating. This provided more revenue and the ability to stay open. According to Restaurant Owner James Avery of Bonney Read in Asbury Park, outdoor dining kept the revenue stream steady; overall sales were maintained at pre-pandemic levels, though expenses increased.
Self-Coaching and Restaurants. Today, everyone wants a new career or opportunity, but unless they have a great coach to push them, most are merely dreaming instead of achieving. Unfortunately, good coaches are either too expensive or unavailable. However, what if one of the leading voices in restaurant growth could empower you to play that role yourself? Now, a method called “self-coaching” is available to all with the publication of Take Charge Of You: How Self Coaching Can Transform Your Life and Career, which is for sale March 2022 by David Novak, cofounder & former CEO and Chairman of Yum! Brands.
Bielat Santore & Company – Restaurant Industry Alert
BURLINGTON COUNTY, NJ AWARD WINNING DINER FOR SALE
Local favorite and community icon; indoor seating for (85) with outdoor patio seating another (25); the Diner includes a walk-up soft ice cream window, a gas fired brick pizza oven as well as a detached convenience store with deli, gift shop, lottery and slushie machine; a truly unique, immaculately kept and completely turnkey operation; NJ.com ranked the Diner as best in Burlington County and Top 10 in New Jersey.
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For more information contact “DINER BOB” Gillis, Bielat Santore & Company, 732.673.3436.
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