Without Aid Indies Are Facing Bankruptcy
New survey says. Independent operators are being pushed to the brink and are taking on mounting personal debt, according to survey results released by the Independent Restaurant Coalition, which is pressing Congress for more funding. Thousands of independent restaurant owners are in similar positions to Leon’s right now, with many on the verge of bankruptcy and taking on growing personal debt. A survey released Friday by the Independent Restaurant Coalition found that 42% of businesses that did not receive Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) grants this year are in danger of declaring bankruptcy or have already done so. About one in five of those who did receive the limited RRF money said they might go bankrupt. The $28.6 billion RRF quickly disappeared last year, providing aid to only about a third of total applicants. Further, 41% of independent restaurant owners who didn’t receive RRF grants said they had taken out new personal loans to support their businesses and more than 25% said they’ve had to sell a personal asset to support their restaurant during the pandemic.
America’s Next Great Restaurants Are in the Suburbs
But can they thrive there? From 2010 to 2020, the number of Americans living in suburbs grew by 10.5 percent, according to census data. Suburban residents have also become more affluent; their average household income grew by 2.3 percent from 2009 to 2019, to $83,000 a year, according to the 2019 American Community Survey. (By comparison, the average urban household income was about $65,000.) While this growth predated the pandemic, the past two years and the expansion of work-from-home culture have accelerated the once-gradual shift. Millennials, the generation driving this growth, have brought an increasingly urban feel to many suburbs. As suburbs accommodate more diverse businesses that enrich the community, that success can attract the attention of developers. Restaurateurs also have to navigate numerous local government departments, including health, planning and zoning, which may not be as well prepared to handle independent owners’ needs as cities are.
A Quandary for New York Restaurants and Workers
What to do about Omicron? Without hard rules about employees who test positive, owners and workers are weighing safety against finances, and not always agreeing on the answer. While businesses throughout the country have had to calibrate their response to the Omicron variant, few places have been as hard hit as New York City, or as strict in requiring proof of vaccination, for all workers and anyone dining indoors. Many restaurants impose numerous safety precautions, including requirements that staff and customers wear masks. Yet many New Yorkers in the hospitality business say that the absence of other mandates or even consistent recommendations has left them to figure out how to react when workers become infected — and led to some stark disagreements about whether employers are acting responsibly.
Philadelphia Vaccine Mandate: Negative Tests No Longer Accepted
At indoor dining establishments. Philadelphia’s indoor dining establishments now require customers and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as the two-week period also allowing for negative tests has come to an end. The mandate, which was announced back in December, went into effect on Jan. 3. The city says it was implemented in response to a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia. It includes a two-week grace period – ending on Jan. 17 – where establishments may choose to accept a negative test from the last 24 hours in lieu of proof of vaccination. Now, customers and staff at these establishments mush have completed their primary series of vaccinations – one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or two doses of Moderna or Pfizer. The mandate also allows some extra time for children ages 5-11 and employees to get vaccinated. The city is asking that those groups have a first dose by Jan. 3 and a second dose by Feb. 3.
25 NJ Restaurants We Can’t Afford to Lose
To COVID. This was supposed to be the year things returned to normal for restaurants in New Jersey. But the COVID-19 omicron variant has made everything a little more complicated. Surging cases among customers and staff members have thrown the industry for a loop, all while it is still looking to recover from two years of COVID-culled dining. New Jersey lost dozens of restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic. Some stood for decades, others were just starting their culinary journey — neither could make ends meet amid the crippling shutdowns and restrictions. Back in 2021, Esquire listed five New Jersey restaurants among the 100 the country cannot afford to lose. It got us thinking: Which Garden State eateries would make our list of essentials, the restaurants we truly cannot afford to lose? Not just the places with the best food, but the places with the most cultural and culinary significance that would be irreplaceable if they closed. Here are the 25 restaurants New Jersey can’t afford to lose.
Restaurants Charging People Who Can’t Show Up
Over COVID concerns. The non-refundable cancellation policy of a world-renowned, Michelin-starred Manhattan restaurant has left a bitter taste in the mouths of pre-paid reservation holders who have nixed their travel — and dining — plans over Omicron concerns. The now-vegan Eleven Madison Park, named the best restaurant in the world in 2017, has become a hot topic on Reddit, where would-be diners are increasingly looking to sell their pricey seats — which so far run up to $1,524.25 for a four-person New Year’s Eve tasting menu — as reservation holders either test positive or choose to wait out this new COVID-19 wave. Eater first reported news of the COVID-related online sales efforts on Tuesday — and now, reservation holders stand to lose out on the high prices they paid for a coveted meal if they can’t find a deep-pocketed taker on Reddit to transfer the reservation to.
Reimagining the Restaurant Experience Is a Recipe for Success
In staffing. American restaurant operators have arguably never faced such uncertain times as now. After coping with a once in a generation pandemic, most have struggled to adjust to the post-COVID period of inflation, unsettled supply chains and most of all, a shrunken pool of human resources. While labor shortages themselves are nothing new, the current competition for workers is particularly fierce, and its daily impact on operations is palpable. The National Restaurant Association observed steady job growth after the huge losses of 2020, but things noticeably slowed in August, and many markets have still not recovered from the closures of more than 100,000 restaurants during the pandemic. A number of operators have had to reduce hours or operating days due to a lack of available staff. Others worry they cannot compete with eye-catching incentives offered by competitors, like full or partial college tuition or hefty sign-on bonuses. With all this in mind, the idea of attracting new talent, much less retaining existing workforces, can seem daunting.
Five Restaurant Accounting Tips
For non-accountants. We all know that being a restaurant manager is tough. When we think of a restaurant manager, we think of common traits such as a high-energy, service-oriented individual with strong people skills who can stay calm under immense pressure. While strong accounting skills may not be at the top of what comes to mind, every good restaurant manager must have at least a basic knowledge of accounting to be successful. Restaurants face distinct accounting challenges that require a restaurant-specific approach. While many of the concepts are similar to other industries, restaurants must rely on accurate, real-time data in order to be profitable in an industry that is notorious for having slim margins. The key to operating a profitable restaurant is understanding your profits and losses, knowing how to manage food and labor costs and making strategic decisions about expenses and investments. While there is a lot involved in these processes, there are some strategies that can be applied by understanding basic accounting procedures. Here are five restaurant-specific accounting tips that all non-accountants can master.
Did You Know?
Chef David Burke leads multi-state benefit to aid Western Kentucky’s Restaurant Industry. Once again, Burke and his team have worked to rebuild the lives of those impacted by the tornadoes that ravaged Western Kentucky last month. The world-renowned chef / restaurateur orchestrated simultaneous Kentucky-themed dinners benefitting the Team Western Kentucky Relief Fund yesterday (Thursday, January 13) at nine of his restaurants in New Jersey, New York and North Carolina. The three-course $150 per person meal showcased Kentucky’s most famous export, bourbon–courtesy of Woodford Reserve Distillery–and one of the state’s newest, Bluegrass F1 Wagyu beef.
Restaurants are starting to require booster shots for employees and guests. Two shots are not enough for several restaurants around the country that have begun requiring COVID-19 booster shots for staff and guests, amid pushback. Months after multiple cities began requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for restaurant diners, a trend is emerging from individual businesses around the country requiring proof of booster shots for employees and customers, including cruise lines, Facebook’s offices, and several restaurants.
Bielat Santore & Company – Restaurant Industry Alert
BIELAT SANTORE & COMPANY REPRESENTING REGIONAL RESTAURANT COMPANIES
SEEKING IMMEDIATE EXPANSION!
Bielat Santore and Company currently represents a select collection of regional restaurant companies who are seeking growth opportunities in New Jersey; through the purchase of existing restaurants that contain land, building and liquor licenses. In 2020-21, the firm closed numerous transactions with these companies. These restaurant companies are internally funded, have established banking relationships, are corporately managed and can move expeditiously toward a closing on the right locations.
If you would consider a sale of your restaurant assets, contact Richard Santore, 732.531-4200.
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