by David Klemt

January 18 is National Day of Action to Save Restaurants

by David Klemt

Full restaurant dining room at gastrolounge Rusted Crow in Detroit, Michigan

Tomorrow, January 18, the Independent Restaurant Coalition is spearheading the National Day of Action to Save Restaurants.

The IRC is asking all hospitality professionals, vendors, guests and communities to participate.

In short, the time for asking nicely is over. On Tuesday, we must all demand that Congress actually put action to their professed support of the hospitality industry.

On Tuesday, the IRC will send out an email detailing how everyone can push for action on replenishing the RRF. So, click here to sign up for email updates from the coalition.

People can also follow them on Instagram for National Day of Action to Save Restaurants details.

A Dire Situation

According to an email sent out by the IRC (again, you should sign up), a significant number of restaurants and bars find themselves in dire situations.

Per IRC survey results:

  • more than one in four restaurants (28 percent) that didn’t receive RRF grants are facing eviction;
  • almost 50 percent are facing bankruptcy; and
  • close to 60 percent of restaurants are reporting sales drops of more than 50 percent during the surge in Omicron infections.

For context, let’s review how RRF grants helped some recipients survive:

  • Ten percent are facing eviction.
  • Twenty percent are facing bankruptcy.

Is an RRF grant a silver bullet? No, but it’s certainly valuable ammunition in the fight for the survival of independent restaurants and operators, and therefore the industry itself.

Time is Up

Actually, time ran out months ago. Congress has allowed months to go by without taking any meaningful action.

In fact, one US Senator, Rand Paul (R-KY), blocked a vote to provide the industry with $43 billion in emergency funding. The senator killed the unanimous consent motion back in August of 2021.

As a refresher, the RRF grant application portal was closed last year on May 24. A bipartisan group introduced the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act of 2021 in June.

And like I mentioned, emergency funding was smacked off the table just two months later.

In November, Build Back Better was passed. Of course, it didn’t include the RRF Replenishment Act. So, apparently building America back better doesn’t include restaurants, bars, lounges, etc.

It’s clear that America’s politicians and lawmakers are content to not accomplish much. “Owning” one’s opponents via social media and sound bites is apparently much more important.

Sniping at one another, not doing the jobs they were elected to do, is the order of the day. Meanwhile, independent owners and operators are being left out in the cold and crushed under the weight of a web of inconsistent Covid-19-related mandates and guidelines. Their staff members are expected to act as the Covid police, risking their health and safety.

I could go on but we all know what’s happening: The people elected to represent the people are abusing the privilege by ignoring us.

The time for asking nicely for Congress to take action is over. It’s time to demand action.

Image: Stanford Smith on Unsplash