What it could mean for restaurants. After a contentious battle in 2016, the 2020 presidential election was already set to be a tense affair. But in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the stakes have risen even higher in the race between President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden. Embittered by a fraught national pandemic response, social justice issues, Great Depression–level unemployment, and a volatile economy, Americans will choose not only which candidate they want to sit in the Oval Office, but also which candidate they think will be able to steer the ship through this unprecedented global disaster. Because the pandemic hit foodservice especially hard, the outcome of this election will be particularly important for restaurants, as the president’s agenda will help guide the industry through recovery. Here’s how each of the presidential candidates’ platforms stack up on the key issues facing restaurant leaders over the next few years.
President Trump Says NYC Restaurants Are ‘Dying’
At final Presidential debate. At the third and final presidential debate on Thursday night, the state of the NYC restaurant economy came up as the candidates discussed the economy and business operations during the pandemic. President Donald Trump, who called for a loosening of current restrictions for restaurants — which in New York City, presently includes a 25 percent limit on indoor dining and a maximum capacity of 50 people in indoor spaces in most areas — described New York City as a “ghost town,” and went on to suggest that the city’s restaurants are “dying” due to the current coronavirus restrictions in place. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden argued for more aid to help businesses access resources that would allow them to open while following regulatory COVID-19 precautionary measures, like setting up plexiglas dividers between tables at restaurants. Trump responded by saying that “restaurants are dying” and argued that the public health safety measures like plexiglas shouldn’t be required for restaurants to operate. “These are businesses with no money,” Trump said. “Putting up plexiglas is unbelievably expensive. And it’s not the answer. You’re going to sit there in a cubicle wrapped around with plastic? These are businesses that are dying, Joe. You can’t do that to people.”
How Restaurants Can Thrive During Economic Turmoil
Lessons from the last recession. With the Great Recession in our rearview mirror, consumer confidence in the United States was high as we began the second decade of the twenty-first century. But then a global pandemic happened and restaurant owners — new, old and future — had no idea what to expect. Shelter-in-place orders, social distancing, contactless delivery and the host of other terms and practices that have become commonplace were not part of our daily vocabulary or business plans before the coronavirus pandemic. And yet, people will always need to eat. For many, restaurants are a primary meal source. The ones who adapt quickly and effectively to a changing environment, by finding new and innovative ways to deliver a pleasurable dining experience, will come out on top.
Independent Restaurants Go Dark
To keep the lights on. The Independent Restaurant Coalition estimates that as many as 85% of mom-and-pop restaurants could close by the end of 2020. But some are finding new life in virtual brands and ghost kitchens. There’s no question that more restaurants big and small are embracing dark kitchens amid the pandemic. The number of eateries using these concepts grew from 15% pre-pandemic to 51% in May, according to Technomic data. But while major chains are entering the space to open up another revenue stream or expand into new markets at a reduced cost, plenty of small operators are turning to ghost kitchens just to survive.
Consumers Are Embracing Restaurants’ Accommodations to the Pandemic
Ghost kitchens and other adjustments to new realities. Restaurants’ work-arounds for selling meals during the pandemic are getting ready buy-in from consumers, with the public embracing such accommodations as ghost kitchens and human-less interactions even if the adjustments push up prices, a new study has found. The report was released Monday, as many restaurants are striving to hold onto off-premise business while dining-in limitations are lifted. It shows that operators have considerable support from their customers on that front, with 23% saying they expect to continue ordering more takeout and delivery even as normalcy returns. Participants in the survey have increased their orders for those forms of off-premise service by 68% and 52%, respectively. In addition, 46% of the respondents said they do not foresee changing the overall dining patterns they adopted during the pandemic.
Meals on Wheels Creates Initiative to Feed the Homebound
And to help local restaurants. Meals on Wheels of Staten Island has announced its new initiative to feed homebound seniors and help local restaurants at the same time. The initiative, Donate & Dine, is designed to raise funds to feed seniors in need on Staten Island, while helping local restaurant owners — many who are struggling to stay open due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. “It’s unfortunate that we cannot host our annual luncheon in person,” said Joseph Tornello, CEO and president of Meals on Wheels of Staten Island. “However, we are excited about the potential of this campaign to not only assist our senior community, but also help the struggling restaurant community.”
Restaurants – Yes, Restaurants – Are Opening at a Strong Pace
According to a new study by Yelp Perhaps no sector of the American economy — with the exception of the airlines — has suffered as much as the restaurant business due to the Covid pandemic. But don’t tell that to the people opening new restaurants. In what amounts to an astonishing — not to mention a totally counter-intuitive development — the number of restaurant and food service businesses starting up since spring is at near-historically high levels. Granted, few of these are the white-table-linen fine dining places that might be expected to come along under normal conditions, but the fact that the number of new trucks, pop-ups, farmers’ market formats and other casual (and usually outdoor) ventures are keeping pace with year-over-year results says something about the great entrepreneurial spirit that has always characterized this sector.
Eight Small New York Theaters Sue Cuomo
Over pandemic restrictions. The lawsuit argues that if bowling alleys, casinos and gyms can open, why can’t performance venues with fewer than 200 seats? A group of eight small theaters and comedy clubs in New York City has filed a lawsuit challenging the closing of their venues during the coronavirus pandemic. The lawsuit, filed Friday in Federal District Court in Manhattan, argues that the orders shutting down theaters “shock the conscience and interfere with plaintiffs’ deeply-rooted liberty and property rights, including the right to work, right to contract, and right to engage in commerce.”
Did You Know?
The sound of live music returns to New York’s bars and restaurants. Sunny’s Bar has survived the Spanish flu, Prohibition, and both World Wars — COVID-19 is the latest hurdle, as the Red Hook bar grapples with the financial instability that comes with reduced indoor capacity and outdoor service that’s hindered by weather and available space. In anticipation of the winter, Sunny’s owner, Tone Johansen, has embroidered the bar’s logo onto blankets she plans to sell. Heat lamps are too expensive. A musician herself, Johansen is also among a number of bar and restaurant owners hiring musicians, a practice that fell out of favor even before iPhones, streaming services, and sound systems became the ambiance-providers of choice. Now, though, besides private events, which have dwindled both in regularity and size, restaurant and bar gigs are one of few ways working musicians can get paid while venues remain shuttered.
Did N.J. Labor make a mistake with some $300 unemployment payouts? More unemployed people in New Jersey could get the $300 extra unemployment benefit created by President Donald Trump’s executive order, according to the state Department of Labor. At issue is how the state’s computer system identified what benefits should be paid, official said. n agency spokesperson said to be eligible, individual workers must have certified they lost their job because of the virus and must been approved for weekly benefits of at least a $100, even if they don’t claim the full amount every week.
Bielat Santore & Company – Restaurant Industry Daily Alerts
A voice for our industry. If you are finding these now weekly bulletins informative and beneficial during this pandemic, we kindly ask that you write a brief Google review providing a vote of your appreciation. Simply Google “Bielat Santore & Company” and when the company name appears click the button on the right to write your review or; if you don’t use Gmail, go to Google Maps, type “Bielat Santore & Company” – Allenhurst, NJ into Google Maps; scroll down and you will see an option to leave a review.