Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Relief Plan Includes Bill
$15 minimum wage. President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday revealed plans for a wide-ranging $1.9 trillion stimulus, including key measures for restaurants, especially on the labor front. As part of the relief package, Biden called on Congress to pass a $15 per hour minimum wage. The federal rate has held at $7.25 for more than a decade. Biden’s Thursday proposal would also end tipped minimum wage and sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities—all goals he ran on throughout his campaign. Many states and localities raised wage floors in recent years, including Florida’s Amendment 2, approved just this November, which outlines an increase from $8.56 to $15 by September 30, 2026. It was not clear if the $15 change would be abrupt or phased in over time. Restaurants will be paying close attention regardless.
Serving Up Support for NJ Restaurants, Bars
It’s the dead of winter. And COVID-19 restrictions continue to assail the restaurant and hospitality industry. The NJBIA supported a six-bill package to help restaurants and other small businesses suffering from the economic fallout of COVID-19 – which included a pathway for establishments to expand to 50% capacity if they meet safety measures and there is lower coronavirus activity in their region. One of the bills would allow restaurants to fill more seats by putting up physical barriers around seating areas is six feet of distance is not possible. Another bill would also require the state Division of Alcohol and Beverage Control to waive the $75 permit fee that businesses pay for temporary permits to serve patrons outdoors near their licensed premises during COVID-19. Refunds would be given to businesses that have already paid the fee.
SBA Re-Opening Paycheck Protection Program
To all eligible lenders. The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department, will re-open the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan portal to PPP-eligible lenders with $1 billion or less in assets for First and Second Draw applications on Friday, January 15 at 9 a.m. EST. The portal will fully open on Tuesday, January 19 to all participating PPP lenders to submit First and Second Draw loan applications to SBA. Earlier in the week, SBA granted dedicated PPP access to Community Financial Institutions (CFIs) which include Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs), and Microloan Intermediaries as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to reach underserved and minority small businesses. Second Draw PPP Loans are for eligible small businesses with 300 employees or less, that previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will use or have used the full amount only for authorized uses, and that can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. The maximum amount of a Second Draw PPP loan is $2 million.
8 Things You Need to Know
About 2nd round PPP loans. Payroll Protection Program loans are back; application process is streamlined for smaller loans and expenses covered are tax deductible. The latest COVID-19 relief bill, finally passed in late December after months of debate, authorized another round of the Paycheck Protection Program to help restaurants and other small businesses weather the ongoing pandemic. Banks and other financial institutions were able to start lending this week under the program run by the Small Business Administration. The Association worked hard to ensure that the final bill included measures that were overlooked in the original PPP, as well as rectify some imbalances in the program. While very similar to the first round of forgivable loans, this second round does have some differences. Here are some key points:
Making sense. The kitchen has changed. In recent years, as restaurants adapted to changing consumers and looked for new methods of getting food into their hands, the back of house has evolved along with it. No longer is there simply a kitchen in the back of a serving area. The kitchen could be mobile, or it may be off-site. There are kitchens designed to serve a takeout consumer and kitchens run out of the home. They are more efficient than ever, using robotics and other technologies to improve their operations. The editors of Restaurant Business this week explore the Evolving Kitchen and what its change has meant to the foodservice business.
What Consumers Want in 2021
Be nimble, be quick. The old nursery rhyme, “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick” could sum up the actions of successful restaurant operators in 2020. And, based on our recent survey of 830 US consumers, it’s likely a good mantra for 2021. Insight #1: 30 percent of respondents reported using drive-thru and takeout more or much more than pre-pandemic, and 25 percent increased their use of delivery. Respondents reported forming new habits as a result of the pandemic, primarily turning to contactless, delivery, and takeout options in the wake of stay-at-home orders. Much has already been written about these changes, but our analysts suggest that the stickiness of these behaviors is a good indicator that a different kind of customer will arise out of the post-pandemic ashes. “As dine-in returns, we believe that it won’t replace delivery/pickup,” said our Chief Strategy Officer Joel Davis during a recent Revenue Stream webinar. “A new audience arose during COVID, who recognize the value of delivery/takeaway from their local restaurant or favorite chain. They are likely to continue this behavior after dine-in returns to pre-pandemic levels.”
Pandemic Forces Restaurant Week Changes This Year
Operators and organizers are finding new ways to offer up the important annual promotion. Around the country, Restaurant Week organizers understand this is a life-or-death moment for independent operators. They’re also realizing their annual promotional events are more critical than ever. “Historically, they tell us this is one of their strongest weeks of the year,” Klaus said of the Kansas City event, which started earlier this month. “We’re hearing a really positive reception.” But Restaurant Weeks will look a lot different in 2021 than in previous years, with many dining rooms shuttered because of the coronavirus and many operators struggling to survive. Most are pivoting to takeout-focused promotions, and many organizers are waiving registration fees.
Restaurants End a Tough Year
On a down note. It’s official: 2020 was a bad year. Sales declined almost 20% last year and slowed in the last three months of 2020 as a surge in coronavirus infections hammered the industry. Total industry sales declined 4.5% in December from November, according to newly released federal data. It was the third straight monthly decline as a renewed surge of coronavirus infections led states to shut down dining rooms and keep people from dining out. It was a bad end to a brutal 2020. Restaurants had their worst year on record by a long shot last year, with sales declining 19.5% to $617 billion. The data will likely put some pressure on Congress and President-elect Joe Biden to approve a stimulus measure that provides some aid to restaurants specifically.
A Members-Only Model
Is helping restaurants, luxury travel survive. While the rest of the tourism industry hangs on for dear life, private travel clubs are on the rise. Booking activity at the vacation club Inspirato is 30% higher year over year. Its competitors, Exclusive Resorts LLC and Essentialist, reported record-breaking membership sales in 2020. “Trust has become hugely important,” says David Prior, who runs an eponymous two-year-old private travel club. Essentialist CEO Joan Roca agrees, attributing the sector’s growth to the heightened value of expert travel recommendations while navigating the pandemic’s uncertainties. For these purveyors, locking in clients with a recurring fee brings much-needed cash flow and stability in uncertain times, while consumers get a trustworthy partner in a familiar business model.
Restaurants Thinking Outside the Box
To stay afloat during pandemic. Takeout and delivery services have been a lifeline for struggling Bay Area restaurants, but many are now thinking outside the box to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. One in six U.S. restaurants — or roughly 110,000 — have closed permanently since the start of the pandemic in March, according to the National Restaurant Association. Tens of thousands of others have laid off employees, cut back hours, overhauled their business models and used their creative juices to bring in customers. When restaurants were first ordered to close down in the spring, Pete’s Brass Rail, a casual restaurant and sports bar in Danville, opened a curbside contactless grocery truck selling everything from yeast to bleach to toilet paper outside the downtown location. The idea was to get folks to come down to pick up a chicken sandwich and have the convenience of also grabbing some bleach from the truck.
Did You Know?
New Jersey’s 25 greatest sandwiches, ranked. here are few greater pleasures in life than a good sandwich. And there are few places in the world with better sandwiches than New Jersey. Hoagies. Subs. Sandwiches. Whatever you call them, New Jersey has them, and they’re delicious. But which ones are the best? Food and Wine Magazine recently crowned the mozzarella and pepper sandwich from M&P Biancamano in Hoboken the state’s best sandwich — while admitting the Garden State has so many great Italian delis, it’s hard to pick just one sandwich. This got NJ.com’s top sandwich savants, Peter Genovese and Jeremy Schneider, thinking about the top sandwiches in the state.
What restaurant workers wish you knew. Pivot. Whiplash. Roller coaster. These are some of the words restaurant workers are using to describe what it’s been like to work during the pandemic. The new year is a time that’s often filled with joy, but for so many in the restaurant industry right now, it’s laden with darkness—and it can be hard to see any light. What’s worse, entitled customer behavior is at an all-time high, leaving many restaurant workers demoralized and exposed to harm. Restaurant workers are resilient, but they’re also human beings who are living through the same scary black hole as everyone else—except without the ability to work from home, without the security of government assistance, without the assurance of knowing their jobs and lives are safe.
Bielat Santore & Company – Restaurant Industry Daily Alerts
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The Little Black Book on Small Business Financing
Bielat Santore & Company will be releasing its newest library resource, “The Little Black Book on Small Business Financing,” within the next few weeks. This handbook will describe the financing sources available to small businesses, outline the steps necessary in preparing the requisition package required to obtain such financing and provide a glossary of financing terms you may or may not be familiar with. You can find this valuable resource on our company website’s “Resource Library” page below. Keep your eyes open for it’s release!