Another NJ Outdoor Dining Expansion Bill
Hits the Governor’s desk. Another unanimous vote for a bill allowing outdoor dining expansion is back on the governor’s desk. Bill S-3340 passed 34-0 in the Senate and 75-0 in the Assembly on Monday, without any committee votes preceding it. Last week, Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed bill A-4525, which allowed businesses wanting to expand outdoor operations to apply, at no cost, to a local zoning office. That office would have had 15 days to approve the application if it complied with the bill’s requirements. Several Republican lawmakers also said they were willing to pursue an override of that veto. But rather than taking that path, Sen. Paul Sarlo sponsored a new slightly adjusted bill that still calls for establishments to apply to their local zoning office to extend their footprints in parking lots, public sidewalks and decks. However, S-3340 empowers municipalities with more discretion to reject applications and still allows them to collect a fee unlike the vetoed bill.
NJ Business Community Voices Its Needs
To survive pandemic. It is no secret that the government-mandated business closures and restrictions imposed over the past 10 months during the COVID-19 pandemic have ravaged the business community. The harsh reality is that these restrictions have caused permanent business closures, mass layoffs, record unemployment and significant revenue loss. One of the biggest frustrations for small businesses throughout the pandemic has been the arbitrary nature of who is and who is not allowed to stay open, regardless of whether they follow recommended health department safety measures or not. With many main street businesses experiencing revenue losses as high as 70% to 80%, Bob Zuckerman, executive director, Downtown Westfield Corporation, said one thing these businesses are looking for is additional assistance money in the form of grants as opposed to loans.
What Will Restaurants Look Like
After COVID-19? You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. Covid-19 revealed the everyday activities many people take for granted until they’re no longer for an option—like eating out in a restaurant. The pandemic has rocked the restaurant industry and showed just how agile it isn’t. Faced with challenges, more than 70,000 restaurants across the U.S. have permanently closed. Restaurants had to quickly pivot to curbside pickup and delivery and adjust their menus and staffing in hopes of staying afloat. Now, several months into the pandemic, we can see how the restaurant industry will be permanently changed by Covid-19. In many cases, the pandemic is a chance for restaurants to innovate and find new, creative ways to serve customers. These five main changes show how restaurants must adapt to the Covid-19 era and how they can leverage changes to improve the customer experience.
Looking Back to Move Forward
National Restaurant Association shares top 10 trends for 2021. For so many, 2020 was a year of fear and uncertainty as the coronavirus ravaged the country and put the restaurant industry through its worst year in history. The economy came to a halt as millions of Americans sheltered in place, and businesses were forced to close indoor spaces. About 110,000 restaurants across the nation fell victim to dining restrictions imposed due to the pandemic, closing either temporarily or for good. According to Association research, the industry lost some $240 billion in sales and is still 2.5 million jobs below pre-pandemic levels. Nevertheless, restaurateurs persevere. By quickly switching to all off-premises service, innovating operations, and adapting contactless technology, they continue to show resiliency, doing everything they can to keep their businesses open and employees on the payroll. As the Association prepares to release its new State of the Restaurant Industry report, based on survey results from 6,000 operators (and featuring customer preferences from a survey of 1,000 adult consumers), we’re sharing the top 10 restaurant trends that helped restaurants survive and serve as a sign of things to come.
How Restaurants Can Cater
To the new normal. Goodbye, 2020. This past year has been hard on all of us in so many ways. The restaurant industry faced unforeseen challenges across the globe, and I can’t over-emphasize the resilience and tenacity required of us to persevere in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have learned a lot over the past year, and we should take many of our newly adopted practices and perspectives with us into the new year — as well as keep an eye on what business will look like beyond the pandemic. Curbside food pickup and delivery will continue to be mainstays, as they offer customers convenience and the ability to control their own dining experiences. Even once we move beyond the pandemic, customers will continue to enjoy tailoring their dining preferences through apps and online services.
Indoor Dining Will Return to Philadelphia on Saturday
Will it help restaurants? Chef David Jansen, who will be able to accommodate 25 guests inside his white-tablecloth Jansen restaurant in Mount Airy, sighed at the question Tuesday. “I don’t even know how many people will want to eat inside, but every little bit helps,” said Jansen, who pivoted to takeout and has been seating patrons outside in a tent under infrared lamps since Nov. 20, when the city shuttered dining rooms for a second time to brace for a holiday coronavirus spike. The big restaurant groups, such as those owned by Stephen Starr (Parc, Buddakan, Barclay Prime, etc.) and Michael Schulson (Sampan, Double Knot, Harp & Crown, etc.), plan to reopen this weekend. Steak 48, a massive Center City steakhouse that opened just after Labor Day 2020, has booked all of its 90 seats in anticipation of the reopening. Some smaller operators will not reopen now.
More NYC Restaurants Join Forces
To sue Cuomo over unpredictable regulations. A group of 70 New York bars and restaurants have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Andrew Cuomo alleging that the state’s constantly changing dining regulations violate the businesses’ civil rights. According to a report from the Real Deal, many of the restaurants involved in the lawsuit — including East Williamsburg bar Our Wicked Lady and Bushwick restaurant Momo Sushi Shack — have spent thousands of dollars reconfiguring outdoor and indoor spaces to comply with pandemic health safety regulations, only to have those regulations shift without much warning and be forced to spend more money to stay in compliance. The restaurants named in the lawsuit are seeking compensatory and punitive damages “for both the current and lasting impact of the Orders,” according to the complaint. This lawsuit is the latest in a string of legal actions that the NYC restaurant industry has taken against the state government throughout the pandemic.
At New York Restaurants
It’s the season of the Yurt. The ceiling in the shed I’d been told to step into was so low I had to stoop. The walls, made of raw, unpainted wood and foam insulation board, were too close together for me to extend my arms more than halfway. All the light came from a bare bulb plugged into an extension cord. There was one small window next to the door, which was the only way in or out. Rain dripped from a leak in the roof. In ordinary times, being led into a room like this might make me think: Will anyone hear me if I scream? But this is January of 2021 in the plague-stricken city of New York, so I looked around and thought how lucky I was to have found a nice, safe place for dinner.
Pandemic Recovery Will Be Uneven
But restaurants will emerge stronger. Restaurants have a long haul ahead of them before they make up what has been lost during the coronavirus pandemic, but operators are going to take what they have learned during the crisis and could eventually come out of it stronger, according to industry experts speaking at ICR Conference 2021 on Monday. Restaurants are poised to be more efficient, having “optimized” their menus, which is to say shrunk and streamlined them, which allowed for faster throughput with less labor. Looking at 2021 as a “year of transition.” there wouldn’t be a “critical mass” of vaccinated people until the summer, and even then, consumers overall would have lower incomes, which would have a direct impact on the restaurant industry. The weather also would play a big part in recovery, especially as outdoor seating continues to be a factor.
Restaurants Lost 372,000 Jobs
Last month. Restaurants lost 372,000 jobs in December, helping to put the economic recovery in reverse as states closed dining rooms once again to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The restaurant industry now employs 9.8 million people, according to new Labor Department data released on Friday. It’s the lowest since August and represents the third straight month in which the industry has lost jobs following a summer of recovery. Restaurants employ 2.5 million fewer employees than they had in February, before COVID-19 led to widespread closures of dining rooms that has hammered the industry, bankrupting restaurant chains and forcing numerous others to scrounge for cash to stay in business.
Did You Know?
This is why Americans love ice in their drinks and the British don’t. Have you ever noticed how Americans fill up their entire glass with ice and then pour their beverage in, but Europeans take their drinks at room temperature? In the US, we’ve created fridges that give you cold ice at the press of a button, but in Britain, they typically serve their tap water warm. Something else that the British do differently—name their food. Here are some foods that are called something else in the UK. This tradition— if that’s what you want to call it—dates back to the 19th century. During that time, it was already commonplace for most American homes to have an icebox. Ice would be harvested in northern America or Canada and shipped across the Atlantic and sold at a high price in British department stores. Check out these classic British foods explained to Americans.
Second stimulus check update: Here’s what you do if you don’t get your payment by Jan. 15. The IRS sent out more than 80% of second stimulus checks from the coronavirus relief package by the end of last week, federal officials said. About $107 billion was sent by direct deposit, $23 billion was sent by checks and the rest by prepaid debit card. That’s quicker than the first round of stimulus checks, when it took the IRS 19 days to send about half of the payments, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. But there are still millions of people waiting to receive their second stimulus payments. If you don’t get it by Friday, Jan. 15 — the date that by law the federal government must disburse the payments — what should you do?
Bielat Santore & Company – Restaurant Industry Daily Alerts
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Rumson Landmark Restaurant Sold
At Ridge Road and Avenue of Two Rivers, the elegant Victorian building that was long home to the legendary French restaurant the Fromagerie and more recently, the Rumson House has been sold to a New Jersey real estate investor, as part of a 1031 real estate exchange, reports Richard Santore of Bielat Santore & Company, Allenhurst, New Jersey, the broker for the sale.