Lawmakers Rebuke ‘Inexcusable’ Delay in Restaurant Relief Funds
Lawmakers press SBA on unspent restaurant relief. The bipartisan group of lawmakers who spearheaded the legislative push for a pandemic relief program for restaurants and bars rebuked the Small Business Administration this week, calling the agency’s failure to release tens of millions of dollars in unspent funds to restaurants in need “inexcusable.” Congress initially appropriated $28.6 billion for the program in a Covid relief package last year — a fraction of what the restaurant industry had pushed for. That pot of money ran out quickly and lawmakers were unable to secure more funding for the program, leaving more than 177,000 applicants in the lurch. A July report from the Government Accountability Office found that SBA was still sitting on money for the program, and dozens of lawmakers called on Guzman to quickly get those funds out the door. SBA officials told GAO they planned to continue awarding RRF grants until the money was spent, but Sinema, Wicker, Blumenauer and Fitzpatrick criticized the lack of progress in doing so. “It is inexcusable for the Small Business Administration to not dispense every single available dollar to help as many of our nation’s still struggling main street businesses,” the lawmakers wrote. They conceded the unobligated funds would not be able to help every restaurant and bar that applied for the aid, asking Guzman to prioritize nearly 7,000 applicants that were identified as awardees in 2021 but never received funding.
How to Prepare for Holiday Season Supply Chain Troubles
The holidays are right around the corner. Restaurants are one of the countless businesses that have felt the impacts of supply chain disruptions in recent years. With new challenges from long delivery times and increases in freight costs to logistics disruptions at ports around the globe, the supply chain has not been able to fully recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the holiday season quickly approaches, the strain is only expected to tighten. Ongoing global events including the Ukraine-Russia conflict and strict pandemic measures reintroduced in China and other Asian countries have augmented manufacturing backlogs. Labor shortages spurred by the “Great Resignation” continue to have a tremendous impact on manufacturing and shipping. Additionally, restaurants continue to feel the effects of rising food prices while demand shows no signs of slowing down. It’s not too late for restaurants to get ahead of supply chain issues this holiday season. To do so, food providers must understand how these issues will impact their operations and take steps today to address any potential issues in the future.
Here’s How Tip Pooling Builds a Strong Brand Culture
And it doesn’t have to be complicated. It started during the COVID-19 pandemic—and it’s still happening. Attracting and retaining employees has become a bigger challenge for many restaurants as labor shortages remain a stubborn issue around the country. In fact, the restaurant industry is still down 750,000 jobs from pre-pandemic levels, according to the National Restaurant Association. “A lot of folks started leaving the restaurant industry during the pandemic for a variety of reasons, often centered around pay and benefits,” says Jordan Boesch, founder and CEO of 7shifts, a restaurant team management solution. A recent survey from 7shifts asked nearly 4,000 former restaurant workers why they left the industry during the pandemic. The results were clear workers under the age of 25 called out wages, schedule flexibility, and school as their top three reasons. Those above the age of 25 agreed that wages and schedule flexibility were the most crucial, with manager recognition replacing school in this age group as a close third. “Workers want flexibility, better pay, more recognition, and career path opportunities,” Boesch says. “And restaurants have struggled to adapt and meet workers halfway in terms of some of their needs. We’re in an interesting phase where we’re starting to see some restaurant operators changing how they do business—and these operators are not only attracting workers; they’re attracting a lot of them.”.
Three Tips for Managing a Healthy Restaurant Workforce
New employees have more on-the-job injuries. Workers’ compensation data shows an uptick in the number of new employees injured on the job, especially in the hospitality and food service industries. An increase in these injuries could result in higher insurance rates in the long term; in the short term, they disrupt your ability to operate at peak capacity and could negatively impact the morale of all employees. There are several reasons why new employees may be incurring more injuries: (i) Poor hiring choices. The hiring process may be rushed, and the wrong person could be chosen for the job. The demand for bodies to do the work may be so great that warning signs are missed, pre-employment testing and qualifying may be overlooked, or the employee might not be the right fit for the job. Hasty hiring choices can lead to faster turnover, operational problems, and potentially more on-the-job injuries. (ii) Inadequate training. Businesses may skimp on the length and depth of training programs in the rush to hire. Some enterprises may not have a formal training program; instead, they may require the new employee to shadow a more experienced colleague. Consequently, the new hires’ knowledge of safety procedures will not exceed what they hear from their mentor, who is busy trying to do his or her job and train. Even if the company has a more formal training program, the process can still get short shrift as the demands of serving customers take precedence over reinforcing training.
4 Reasons Food Waste Management Should Be a Top Priority
For every foodservice business. Hospitality and foodservice businesses are facing challenges on all sides as food prices surge, energy costs soar, and the labor shortages both increase wage bills and put pressure on topline as operators struggle to keep their doors open. One might consider sustainability initiatives a non-essential in the face of such significant headwinds, when in fact there has never been a more important time to tackle food waste. With benefits to both the top and bottom line, prioritizing food waste management should be a top priority for almost every kitchen in the current climate. This blog explores the top four reasons that addressing food waste does the right thing for both planet and profit. International inflationary pressures are creating a challenging environment for hospitality businesses. At the time of writing, the U.K. is experiencing its highest inflation rate in 30 years, whilst the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 40 year high at 7.5% vs 2021.The Meetings Industry Association reported that “Ninety percent of venues have reported increased operational costs, with over half highlighting “substantial increases.” This includes rises as high as 10 percent in food and beverage, energy, salary, and recruitment costs, with most forecasting further increases over the next quarter.”
What’s in Store for the Restaurant Industry
In the age of the Metaverse? The word metaverse barged into our daily lives a year ago and managed to become one of the most popular words of 2021. And then it’s all a blur—Decentraland, The Sandbox, Fortnite, Roblox, Star Atlas and many more virtual environments, metaverse real estate priced at tens of thousands of dollars, fashion shows with virtual avatars, Oculus Quest 2, HoloLens. The rapid development of the metaverse and the growing consumption of immersive tech make every business owner ask themself, “How can we be integrated into this changing world?” and “Do we have to do it?” As the founder and CEO of a technology company working with AR for eight years, I’d like to discuss augmented reality technology from the point of view of business applicability. I have created a series of materials to share in-depth experiences, inspiring examples and useful insights in the spheres where the application of augmented reality is not so obvious at this point. In this article, I’ll focus on the restaurant business, where I regularly see excellent AR projects launched. I’d like to expand the list of existing ideas, projects and possibilities that we may see in three, five or 10 years in the hopes of giving inspiration to daring restaurant owners.
Restaurant Kiosks are Having a Moment
Amid an ongoing labor shortage. McDonald’s first started testing self-service kiosks in 2003 – an ice age ago in tech terms. But it took quite some time for the technology to prove its return. In fact, the McDonald’s U.S. system didn’t implement kiosks systemwide until 2020. Taco Bell also pressed the gas on kiosks in 2020 and even introduced a kiosk-only Cantina model last year. The technology is expected to play a big role as the chain works toward its 50% digital sales mix goal. Panera was a few years ahead on kiosk integration and has since made them a focal point of its new digital-only formats. With heavyweights like McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Panera proving the value of self-order kiosks, the slow trickle that began in 2003 seems to be accelerating into a steady stream at larger chains. This is evidenced from the past few rounds of earnings calls, including Shake Shack’s Q3 call Thursday, in which CFO Katie Fogerty said kiosks are the chain’s most profitable channel, yielding higher check sizes, higher margins and better labor utilization. That labor utilization piece is particularly critical now, as the industry remains about 500,000 employees short of pre-pandemic numbers. Shake Shack discussed its labor challenges at length during the Q3 call.
Preserving Outdoor Dining Is Key to Survival
For restaurants still struggling. Since outdoor dining has become such a boon for businesses, the question should not be whether we keep outdoor dining, but how we make it enjoyable for all, writes Austen Asadorian, SVP of sales. At the height of the pandemic, outdoor dining was an innovative solution to many restaurant woes. It was common to see diners braving freezing temperatures to get a bite to eat and, for some restaurants, it was the only option they could offer for in-person dining due to city regulations and restrictions. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, outdoor dining setups offered more than just the opportunity for fresh air and people watching — they provided an economic lifeline for struggling eateries, and a way for diners to enjoy a meal at their beloved restaurants. U.S. restaurants today need as many tools at their disposal as possible as they continue to fight precipitous increases for almost every operating cost, from ingredient prices to server wages. It’s imperative to defend restaurants’ ability to offer outdoor dining, as it’s one of the best ways to bring in additional revenue and give diners more flexibility.
Did You Know?
Six ways to get more Google reviews for your restaurant. Sometimes customers will naturally come to your Google My Business profile and drop you a review – especially if they had a negative experience. But you’re missing out on a ton of opportunity if you’re not asking your customers for a review of your product or service. If you’re just getting started, you can easily copy the review link to your Google My Business profile and send it out to users manually via email. There are a ton of manual ways to actually get the review link, but if you’re running on Chrome simply download the GatherUp Google Review Link Generator and all the heavy lifting will be done for you. If you’re looking for an automated solution, there’s also a ton of third-party review platforms that will help you to handle this entire process.
DoorDash offers restaurants help on employee benefits. The delivery company is giving operators access to discounted healthcare and other perks in an effort to help them attract and keep workers. DoorDash is giving restaurants access to discounted healthcare and other benefits in an effort to help them improve hiring and retention. The delivery company launched Merchant Benefits on Monday, days after a new jobs report showed restaurant hiring slowed significantly last month. The industry remains 500,000 jobs short of pre-pandemic levels. DoorDash wants to help turn the tide by offering restaurants tools that it believes will help attract and keep workers. Here’s a look at what it’s offering.
Bielat Santore & Company – Restaurant Industry Alert
HOW HIGHER INTEREST RATES WILL IMPACT RESTAURANTS
Currently, inflation is at 8.2 percent, the highest it has been since 1981. All indicators point to the Federal Reserve raising the prime interest rate to 7.00 -7.50% by year-end 2022. As rates continue to go up, it will make operating a business more expensive and potentially increase unemployment, which could put additional strain on labor resources.
Higher supply chain costs, more financial pressure on small and medium-size businesses, frequency of cash deposits increasing, the cost of credit going up. It is predicted that higher rates will be here to stay, and restaurants will need to adjust accordingly to minimize any potential impact.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR BUSINESS IS WORTH?
65% of all business owners do not know the value of their business…
75% of all business owners’ personal net worth is tied to their business…
85% of all business owners have no EXIT STRATEGY!
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