Letter to Congress
From the National Restaurant Association. For nearly nine months, restaurants—our nation’s second-largest private sector employer—have been in an economic free fall as a result of mandated closures and capacity limits due to the coronavirus pandemic. In that time, the National Restaurant Association has led the drive for federal and local support for the owners and employees of the entire industry, including local independents, regional and national chains, and franchisees. We have just completed our fifth nationwide survey of our membership on the economic state of the industry, and the results should galvanize Republicans and Democrats alike to finally reach agreement on a compromise coronavirus relief package for our industry and employees, our suppliers, and the communities that rely on the strength of the industry. The findings are stark.
NJ Restaurant Association Pleads with Congress
For immediate action on compromise financial aid. The New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association along with New Jersey national and state legislators made a clarion call Tuesday to help save the devastated hotel and restaurant industry by urging Congress to pass a compromise financial aid bill before it adjourns for the year next week. “If Congress leaves town without doing anything thousands more restaurants will close,” said Sean Kennedy, an executive vice president of the National Restaurant Association. There are three proposed aid packages on the table now: a $1.8 trillion package proposed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a $500 billion package proposed by Sen. Mitch McConnell and a $908 billion package proposed by congressional moderates. “Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good,” said Marilou Halverson, president of the NJRHA. Without any help, 37% of New Jersey restaurant owners predict they will have to close in the next six months.
Murphy Channels Robert Stack
In latest ‘Get Tough’ moment. Phil Murphy is old enough to remember the old TV show, “The Untouchables,” so it seemed appropriate that the governor did an Eliot Ness impression today in describing how the state will deal with “knucklehead” business owners. “We will shut you down,” he said. Completing this portrayal of a previous era, Murphy had just talked about how Paterson police shut down two “speakeasies” over the weekend. It made you wonder if anyone busted up a keg of beer with an axe. “You may think this is a game of cat and mouse,” or something “cute,” he said. Not so, the governor reminded his listeners, violating state pandemic rules can be deadly.
How the Restaurant Industry Continues to Adapt
To the pandemic. This year’s coronavirus pandemic has forced restaurant operators all over to adapt and shift gears—to alter their business strategies to meet the demands of the time. From online ordering to touch-free delivery, restaurants have had to change the way they work in order to keep their staff and customers safe while supporting their businesses. While there looks to be a light at the end of the tunnel with a vaccine said to be coming to market soon, there’s still a long road of recovery ahead for restaurants, and operators will need to continue innovating in order to stay ahead of the curve. Two big ways they can do this are to continue offering curbside pickup as well as contactless ordering, delivery and pickup. Here’s how to promote takeout and delivery, to leverage the benefits of contactless service and to strategize for optimal efficiency.
Grubhub Offers Restaurants New Ways to Receive Orders
Without paying commission fees. Grubhub is giving restaurants new tools for commission-free orders as more states and cities force eateries to turn once again to delivery and takeout for survival. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Grubhub has seen its orders soar, growing revenue 36% during the first three quarters of the year. In the same time, it has processed $6.31 billion worth of food orders. Third-party delivery companies make the bulk of their revenue through commission fees, charging restaurants anywhere from 15% to 30% on every order they fulfill to pay for the technology and connecting them with hungry customers. With Grubhub’s new direct order links, restaurants won’t have to pay commission fees as long as customers buy their food via the link, rather than on the delivery company’s app. The links are meant for restaurants to use in their own marketing, such as in emails or on social media. A customizable “order now” button for direct ordering can be added to an eatery’s website, while a unique QR code can be included in mailers or signs on their doors.
Indoor Dining May Be Banned Again
Threatening many N.Y.C. restaurants. Since the pandemic forced most New York City businesses to shut down nine months ago, the restaurant industry has warned that it was facing a crisis. Though many restaurateurs tried to adapt once some of the restrictions were lifted — shifting to takeout and delivery, then moving outside, then cautiously welcoming customers indoors — they say that they are still barely hanging on. Now, New York City’s restaurants face yet another possible blow. On Monday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, citing the growing spread of the coronavirus, announced a new restrictions model that could halt indoor dining in the city as soon as next week if hospitalization rates do not stabilize — a prospect he said seemed likely. The move, which Mr. Cuomo said was spurred by recent federal guidance that described indoor dining as “particularly high-risk,” could further devastate the industry at the same time that plunging temperatures threaten to keep customers away from outdoor dining.
Are Ghost Kitchens the Future of the Restaurant Industry?
What is a ghost kitchen, anyway? “Its simplest definition is actually a commissary kitchen. A commissary kitchen, he explained, is a place where restaurants or people producing food make their product to distribute or sell at satellite locations. Ghost kitchen, dark kitchen, virtual kitchen, cloud kitchen, whatever you call them, they’re popping up everywhere, with estimates placing the number at 1,500 in the United States. And while it only makes sense in a COVID-19 world where at the peak of lockdowns some 90 percent of restaurant meals were taken off-site, “the development of these virtual kitchens was well underway before the pandemic,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for the National Restaurant Association. Before the coronavirus, “the industry was talking about points of access versus the word locations,” he said, “because in many ways, location has become somewhat of a dated term.”
Food and Beverage Trends
For hotel restaurants and bars in 2021. Covid-19 has, perhaps permanently, changed the landscape of our daily lives, prompting dramatic shifts in the way that businesses reach their customers, and how the public accesses products and services. Being an industry that relies heavily upon human interaction, the hospitality sector has been among those to suffer most this year amid lockdowns and restrictions. As health and safety protocols everywhere evolved to combat viral spread, and consumers adopted new behaviors and formed new expectations of the service industry, the “new normal” emerged. With mandated mask-wearing, social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols, restaurants, bars, and other food and beverage outlets everywhere had to adapt quickly to survive. The question now is how these trends, which have been forced upon us by prolonged living amid pandemic conditions, will carry on into the new year and beyond. Dining and drinking establishments operating in the hotel space, in particular, have had to reinvent the ways they serve their customers in order to remain relevant, diversifying the avenues through which their offerings can be delivered.
Coronavirus Restrictions Are Wrongly Targeting Restaurants
Boston restauranteur says. As new restrictions aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus continue to stifle small businesses across the country, one restaurateur is encouraging more gatherings at restaurants. Chris Coombs, the owner of Boston-based restaurant, Boston Chops, told FOX Business on Tuesday that restrictions have focused on restaurants and bars, but the more significant problem is “unstructured house gatherings.” “I would encourage gatherings at restaurants at this time because they are an awful lot safer than house parties,” he told host Stuart Varney while commenting on the states’ 10 p.m. curfew. Coombs went on to say that he believes full-service restaurants are on the “verge of extinction” if they don’t get another relief package.
Did You Know?
A running list of NYC Restaurants that have permanently closed, December 2020. More than eight months into the coronavirus pandemic, restaurants across the city continue to close en masse. At least 1,000 have closed since March due to the financial downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them are neighborhood favorites like Uncle Boons and MeMe’s Diner, along with sites of teenage debauchery like FiDi’s China Chalet and the glitzy McDonald’s flagship store off of Times Square. In all likelihood, though, this is only the beginning of permanent closures in New York, as loans from the Paycheck Protection Program have run dry, rent payments continue to mount, and with winter just around the corner, city officials say that the recent surge in coronavirus cases may be caused to suspend indoor dining. According to a September survey from the New York State Restaurant Association, as many as two-thirds of state’s restaurants could permanently close by the end of the year if they don’t receive additional government aid. Due to the difficulty of tracking restaurant and bar closings right now, experts say that number could be even higher, and will likely only continue to grow.
Can your boss fire you if you refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine? YES! Roughly four in ten Americans say they would “definitely” or “probably” not get a vaccine, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. Employers, however, may not be taking “no” for an answer. “A couple of my corporate clients are leaning toward making the Covid vaccine mandatory,” said Rogge Dunn, a Dallas labor and employment attorney. His clients range from companies in manufacturing to food and beverage — industries that have been battered for months due to the pandemic and government-mandated lockdowns. One of Dunn’s clients in the restaurant sector thinks a compulsory inoculation requirement could be a game changer for business. “They could say to their customers, ‘Hey, our restaurant is safe. All of our employees have been vaccinated.'” It may be, in part, a PR tactic, but Dunn said it is totally within an employer’s rights to implement this kind of requirement. “Under the law, an employer can force an employee to get vaccinated, and if they don’t take it, fire them,” said Dunn.
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