The Year That Changed Restaurants
What happens next. The numbers are astounding. The food and beverage industry accounted for one in four jobs lost during the pandemic—more than any other sector of the economy. Without additional assistance, tens of thousands of bars and restaurants could shutter, taking up to 7 million jobs with them. That’s the barista who knows our order before we’re awake enough to ask for it, the busser whose smile improves a lousy day, and so many others behind the scenes. And yet, there’s hope. Restaurants have shown creativity and resilience, becoming movie theaters, drive-throughs, grocers. The industry banded together to push the Restaurants Act through Congress, which, if passed, would offer a $120 billion life preserver. Chefs are doing backflips to feed communities in need while also looking to the future. What the industry will look like on the other side is unknown. But if these folks have their way—and if we, the diners, support them—it’ll be smarter, more nimble, and a heck of a lot more egalitarian.
Murphy Lowers Limit on Outdoor Gatherings
Pauses sports until January. Gov. Phil Murphy today announced that the legal limit for outdoor gatherings has been lowered to just 25 people, effective Dec. 7 at 6:00 a.m. “While we know that outdoor environments are safer than indoor environments, any type of mass gathering creates risk,” Murphy said. “We continue to urge you to keep gatherings as small as possible, particularly with individuals outside of your household. However, Murphy said that funerals and memorial services, wedding ceremonies, and religious and political activities are exempt from the new outdoor gathering limit. He added that outdoor dining is unaffected by the limit as well, stating that restaurants will continue to be governed by the health and safety regulations already in place.
Gov. Murphy’s Policies Killed Another Beloved NJ Restaurant Chain
Like so many other New Jersey restaurants, Charlie Brown’s is slowly on the road to its demise. After my high school graduation in 1979, My parents thought that Charlie Brown’s was the perfect place to sit down for a celebratory meal. I can remember a couple of cast parties for local community theater productions that took place at Charlie Brown’s as well. It was a great place to celebrate. And now, like so many other New Jersey businesses, Charlie Brown’s is slowly on the road to its demise, closing location after location, with only one restaurant remaining. The COVID-19 pandemic and the hysteria that went along with it, including Gov. Phil Murphy‘s never-ending executive orders and the ensuing business problems that went along with them. And when businesses finally started to open back up, only a couple of locations were able to reopen. One of those, in Lakewood, recently closed again for good.
This Is the Winter From Hell
For restaurants and workers. A potential indoor shutdown, a lack of stimulus aid, and other hospitality industry restrictions couldn’t come at a worse time. As COVID-19 infections surge throughout the country again — with the virus causing nearly 1,500 daily deaths on average — the restaurant industry is preparing for further shutdowns, job losses, and permanent closures. Los Angeles has ended all restaurant dining except for takeout and delivery. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is threatening to do the same for parts of Staten Island, and has already ordered restaurants to shutter dine-in service by 10:00 p.m. citywide. And Mayor Bill de Blasio says a full prohibition on indoor dining could come in early December, following similar bans to that effect in other major U.S. cities. These restrictions on the hospitality industry, however necessary from a public health perspective, couldn’t come at a worse time, smack in the middle of the season when many restaurants earn the bulk of their yearly revenue.
Restaurants Rebel Against New Covid-19 Restrictions
Operators are turning to the courts and rallying rank-and-file peers to defy new service limits. Restaurants are rebelling against the new service restrictions imposed by state and local officials, arguing in court and as justification for their civil disobedience that the measures aren’t justified by the true risks of dining out. Operators have been particularly militant in Michigan. A binocular scan of that battlefield shows an industry-filed lawsuit challenging Michigan’s suspension of indoor dining; a grass-roots effort in Detroit to rouse restaurants into flatly ignoring the table-service ban; and a Big Boy franchisee refusing to halt indoor service within its Michigan restaurants even if that means being ousted from the chain. Civil disobedience there has also been encouraged by Scott Atlas, the former health advisor to President Trump.
How Best Practices for Localized Marketing Strategy Help Restaurants Win
Why localized marketing matters. Localized marketing is essential for running successful multi-location businesses. For the restaurant industry, specifically, localized marketing is more important than ever. Localization came full force as COVID-19 swept across the world, forcing many consumers to shift their buying behaviors to digital. A special report from leading software innovator SOCi looks at the top restaurants in localized marketing, offering insights into which multi-location restaurants lead in localized marketing as well as best practices for restaurants to implement these winning tactics into their localized marketing efforts. Data from SOCi’s recent report found that nine out of 10 consumers use local search when they are looking for a restaurant. Nearly 100% of these searches are dominated by Google 3-pack results. If a potential customer searches for “restaurants near me,” or “restaurants” without local intent, the Google 3-pack would display three restaurants near the user’s current location.
NJ Restaurant Faces Crackdown
Over mob of people on Thanksgiving Eve. An Oakland restaurant will lose some of its outdoor dining privileges after a Facebook photo of patrons packed in its outdoor bar area the night before Thanksgiving was shared dozens of times on social media. Borough Mayor Linda Schwager called a special meeting Monday night to find out why the scene was allowed to happen. “What I saw in the picture was a mob of people. No masks, no social distancing, and drinking,” Schwager said Monday of the image of Portobello restaurant. “You don’t think that calls for a special meeting to find out what happened and what we can do?” At the council meeting held via Zoom at 6 p.m. Monday, which involved the borough attorney, police chief and zoning enforcement officer, the council supported a motion to shut down Portobello’s outdoor dining license at 4 p.m. every day for a period of 30 days. It was previously allowed to stay open later.
Small Businesses Need a New Bailout
How to do it right this time. When the Cares Act passed in March, I sent a note to my entire team: This has the potential to be a company-defining event. It was the understatement of the year. In the months that followed, we processed more than 250,000 loans for 100-plus banks and credit unions, amounting to 5% of the entire Paycheck Protection Program. Achieving that PPP volume was not easy for us or our partner lenders. We’d spent the previous three years building digital lending software, which included an API integration with the Small Business Administration. Launching digital lending solutions for banks is challenging in normal times. Doing so given the complexity and pace of the PPP—its rules changed early on, making it a moving target—was daunting. It involved 11:00 p.m. calls with partner banks who understood the immense pressure we faced, followed by 2:00 a.m. calls with the engineering team to make sure that we did everything possible to make tomorrow a better day.
Small Business Confidence Drops to All-Time Low
After Biden election. Small business confidence has fallen to an all-time low after the election of former Vice President Joseph Biden, according to the Q4 CNBC|SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey. With a confidence index reading of 48, Main Street’s outlook is now below where it was during the second quarter of this year (49), when lockdowns across the nation were increasing amid the first wave of Covid-19. That Q2 number had been the all-time low previous to the just-completed survey, conducted Nov. 10 to Nov. 17 among more than 2,200 small business owners nationally, using the SurveyMonkey platform. Overall, the survey finds 34% of small business owners saying Joe Biden will be good for small business, while 55% say he will be bad for small business. By party, 89% of Republican small business owners say Biden will be bad for business, while 86% of Democrats say he will be good for Main Street.
Did You Know?
N.J. restaurants may have to get new outdoor dining permits as officials worry about fire and snow. As New Jersey’s cold winter begins setting in, restaurants with outdoor dining bubbles or igloos who want to extend outdoor dining may have to apply for new permits, state officials say. The state Department of Community Affairs last week said restaurants and other establishments with tents or other “outdoor domes” that are more than 120-square-feet had to apply for a Uniform Construction Codes permit by Monday. The new guidelines are to make sure the domes and canopies that typically have to come down at the end of November will be able to handle snow and other winter conditions between Dec. 1 and March 30, the new guidance states.
Restaurant workers say they’re afraid to enforce COVID-19 safety precautions because they’ll lose out on tips. Restaurant workers say they’re afraid to enforce COVID-19 safety protocols for fear of losing out on tips, according to a new survey. The nonprofit One Fair Wage and the UC Berkeley Food Labor Research Center surveyed food service workers’ experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. Roughly 1,675 food service workers were surveyed between October 20 and November 10 in five states — New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Illinois, and Pennsylvania — as well as Washington, DC. The findings showed that many food service workers are at high risk of contracting COVID, don’t have adequate health protection at work, and are being subjected to increased sexual harassment during the pandemic. The report also found that the pandemic has been detrimental to workers’ wages.
Bielat Santore & Company – Restaurant Industry Daily Alerts
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