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by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

What’s in the Senate Relief Package?

What’s in the Senate Relief Package?

by David Klemt

United States Capitol Building rotunda ceiling painting

As expected, the Senate version of the latest Covid-19 relief bill is different from the one passed by the House.

The changes will require the bill to be kicked back to the House, adding to the pressure to get relief to Americans before March 14.

Things may change but below are some of the differences between the two versions.

$15/hour Minimum Wage

This provision is dead in both houses of Congress.

That should come as no surprise as the boost to federal minimum wage was declared dead in the water by Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough even before the House voted on the American Rescue Plan Act.

According to reports, removing any and all language that raises federal minimum wage to $15 an hour is the biggest change between the House and Senate versions of ARPA.

Direct Payments to Americans

Chatter online indicates that Senate Democrats are in favor of a drastically lower threshold for $1,400 direct stimulus payments.

The House version of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 calls for $1,400 economic impact payments with the following parameters:

  • Individuals earning an adjusted gross income (AGI) up to $75,000.
  • Married couples earning an AGI up to $150,000.
  • Payments phase out, reaching $0 for individuals earning AGI over $100,000 and married couples earning AGI over $200,000.

The Senate version calls for $1,400 payments to phase out entirely for individuals earning an AGI of $80,000 and married couples with an AGI of $160,000.

Restaurant Revitalization Fund

Let’s be honest, this is why you’re here. Is the RRF safe?

There’s nothing that shows the $25 billion fund is in danger from the Senate. That said, there’s one threat to ARPA in general, “minor” as it may be: game-playing politicians.

Unsurprisingly, Republicans view ARPA as too expensive, too favorable of Democrat’s priorities, and insufficient for addressing the reopening of businesses, schools, and fighting Covid-19.

Those concerns in and of themselves aren’t akin to playing games, nor are they invalid. Vote-a-rama, however, is a time-wasting stalling tactic that allows senators to propose literally hundreds of amendments to a bill. The time limit for vote-a-rama? There isn’t one—it lasts until senators get tired or bored.

Speaking about a coordinated plan to engage in vote-a-rama, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), said he’s “hoping for infinity. There are people talking about trying to set up a schedule and having it go on and on.”

Take Action

Americans simply do not have time for politicians on any side of the aisle to play games. Good-faith negotiations are one thing, delay tactics that last for “infinity” are another.

We’re still in the midst of a pandemic, people are unable to pay their bills, they’re going hungry, and business owners and their employees are suffering.

It seems some politicians have made up their minds and are committed to dragging out the process of passing ARPA and the RRF contained within but we still have our voices. Follow this link to tell your representatives to pass ARPA and RRF now.

Enough games, enough delays, more action.

Image: GO Educational Tours from Pixabay 

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Meet Customers Where They Are

Meet Customers Where They Are

by David Klemt

Suburban community

If news stories are to be believed, Americans are fleeing big, expensive cities en masse.

Are those stories accurate or examples of sensationalism?

Mass Exodus?

The pandemic is, without any doubt, reshaping the United States. It is, in fact, transforming any nation on which it has gained a significant foothold.

Several sources claim that a mass exodus to the suburbs and rural towns is taking shape across America.

The authors of these stories often cite survey results, housing and rental price fluctuations, financial struggles and the cost of living in many cities, and anecdotal “evidence” to make their points.

On its face, just the argument that cities like Los Angeles and New York City are too expensive to live in with so many people struggling financially makes sense. And stories about astronomically high rent compared to square footage and median income in dense, expensive cities are commonplace.

Haute Exodus?

Still other stories tell tales of the wealthy migrating from major cities to “wait out” the pandemic.

Since wealthy people have the means, they’re able to leave densely populated areas for destinations with smaller populations. The logic being, the less people in an area, the lower risk of infection.

There are reports referring to NYC as a “ghost town” and describing San Francisco as a shell of its former densely-populated, well-heeled self.

Again, much of the reporting is supported by anecdotal and social media “evidence.”

Half-thruths

Forbes, which has published articles supporting mass exodus claims and also disputing them, has made the argument that the situation is nuanced.

Eric Martel, a Forbes Councils Member, analyzed U-Haul Migration Index (UMI) and uncovered some interesting data. Martel finds that net migration in San Francisco and Los Angeles is lower—significantly so in LA—than it was in 2018. In NYC, net migration looks higher.

More reasonable conclusions regarding Americans and the pandemic seem to be:

  • Large numbers of people have moved out of some major cities. NYC seems to be a good example.
  • Some of the wealthy have temporarily left highly-populated cities, choosing to stay in places normally considered vacation destinations for longer periods of time.
  • People appear to be moving toward the outskirts of larger cities where rent and prices tend to be lower than that of city centers.
  • Suburbs near the outskirts of major cities appear to be popular migration targets.
  • Some of this “migration” is temporary, driven by the ability to work remotely. It’s likely that some people who have moved out of cities will return when they perceive things have returned to “normal.”

Adapt

Jack Li, co-founder and CEO of Datassential, suggests operators check out so-called second-tier cities—Austin, Nashville and Charlotte, for example—and the areas where cities meet suburbs. The reasons are simple:

  • Innovation and food trends tend to start cities, reaching rural areas last. That means second-tier cities, city outskirts, and suburbs are quicker to embrace trends and innovations. (Location.)
  • Less-expensive commercial real estate prices. (Cost.)
  • Potential increase in the number of families. (Customer density.)
  • Potential increase in the number of seniors with financial means. (Customer density.)

The impact the pandemic has had makes informed decisions that much more critical to success in this industry. Demographic and feasibility studies are more important now than ever.

Both are cornerstones of the KRG Hospitality approach, whether an operator has several years’ experience or is a neophyte. Click here to learn more about how KRG Hospitality can help you and your concept, click here to learn about KRG Momentum coaching, and click here to download the KRG 2021 Start-up Cost Guide & Checklist.

Image: The Lazy Artist Gallery from Pexels

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Restaurant Revitalization Fund Passes

Restaurant Revitalization Fund Passes

by David Klemt

United States Capitol Building

Congress has once again voted to pass targeted relief for restaurants and bars.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which includes the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Passes, made it through Congress by a vote of 219 to 212.

All Republicans and two Democrats voted against the $1.9 billion bill, which now goes to the Senate.

Now What?

After a year of being mostly left to fend for ourselves—save for the flawed Paycheck Protection Program—operators may finally receive some relief.

The $300-per-week federal boost to unemployment, which the American Rescue Plan Act increases to $400 per week, expires on March 14. There’s some pressure on the Senate to pass the bill so it can be signed into law before or by that date.

However, we’ve been down this road before: Congress has voted in favor of a bill that contains relief for restaurants, bars and other foodservice and drinking establishments, the Senate goes a different direction, and the Congressional victory turns to ashes in our hands rather than becoming law.

Democrats control the House. A Democrat sits at the Resolute Desk. And while the 50-50 Senate is “controlled” by Democrats since Vice President Kamala Harris can break tie votes, the party can’t afford any defections if they hope to pass the American Rescue Plan.

Once again, targeted relief isn’t a certainty.

What’s in the Plan?

In short, not the RESTAURANTS Act. The American Rescue Plan provides a fraction of the $120 billion for which the industry has been campaigning for a year now.

Instead, a $25 billion grant program called the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) has been carved out for restaurants, bars and other eligible providers of food and drink.

There’s another $15 billion allocated for targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) advance payments, and $1.25 billion for shuttered venue operators.

Just $7.25 billion would be pumped into the PPP and the application deadline wouldn’t be extended beyond March 31. This is likely because the PPP has disbursed over $662 billion in just under a year, and there’s still roughly $140 billion available.

In addition, the current bill includes $1,400 direct stimulus payments for individuals earning up to $75,000 or $2,800 for married couples earning up to $150,000. Payments would phase out completely for individuals earning $100,000 or married couples earning $200,000.

What’s the Restaurant Revitalization Fund?

The RRF carves out $25 billion for restaurants, bars, saloons, inns, taverns, lounges, tasting rooms, brewpubs, taprooms, food trucks, food carts, food stands, caterers, and eligible providers of food and/or drink.

Grants, should the bill pass the Senate and be signed into law, will be equal to pandemic-related revenue loss as calculated by subtracting 2020 revenue from 2019 revenue. Eligible entities could receive of up to $10 million, or a physical location could receive a maximum grant of $5 million.

RRF grants are required to be used for:

  • payroll costs;
  • principal and interest payments on a mortgage, excluding prepayments on the principal;
  • rent payments, excluding prepayments;
  • utilities;
  • supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning materials;
  • F&B expenses within the eligible entity’s scope of “normal business practice” before the covered period: February 15, 2020, through December 31, 2021 (or another date as determined by the Small Business Administration);
  • maintenance expenses, including construction accommodating outdoor seating and walls, floods, deck surfaces, furniture, fixtures, and equipment;
  • covered supplier costs;
  • operational expenses;
  • paid sick leave; and
  • any other expenses the SBA determines to be essential to maintaining the eligible entity.

The SBA would be responsible for awarding $20 billion of the $25 billion fund in “an equitable manner to eligible entities of different sizes based on annual gross receipts.” The remaining $5 billion would be set aside, per the bill in its current form, for eligible applicants with 2019 gross receipts of $500,000 or less.

Click here to find your senators and urge them to pass the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

Image: Jens Junge from Pixabay 

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Hakkasan Group Announces Reopenings

Hakkasan Group Announces Reopenings

by David Klemt

OMNIA Nightclub Las Vegas Terrace

In a positive sign for Las Vegas nightlife, daylife and tourism, Hakkasan Group has set dates against the reopening of three major venues in its portfolio.

The announcement came less than a week after Governor Steve Sisolak unveiled Nevada’s Roadmap to Recovery Safe Reopening Plan.

Two Hakkasan Group properties will reopen on March 5. A third will resume business a week later on March 12.

OMNIA

Two years after Hakkasan ushered in a new era of nightlife in 2013, OMNIA opened its doors inside Caesars Palace. Known for its “dancing” chandelier (click here for images) and opulence, OMNIA quickly established itself as a nightlife bucket list destination, attracting guests from all over the globe. The nightclub gives Hakkasan’s namesake venue a run for the title of portfolio flagship.

OMNIA is scheduled to reopen the property’s terrace area as a lounge on Friday, March 5. Restrictions mandated by the State of Nevada include reservations for nightclubs and dayclubs. In terms of health and safety protocols, a statement on the OMNIA website reads: “With health and safety protocols at the forefront: the venue has moved to touchless menu system via a scannable QR code from cell phones; VIP sections will be separated to allow for physical distancing; and rigorous cleaning plans will also be implemented.

Wet Republic

The dayclub that redefined the category, Wet Republic opened in 2008. If Rehab at the Hard Rock was the pioneer in the dayclub space, ultra-pool Wet Republic is the undisputed heir to the throne. There are no plans to relinquish that crown any time soon, either.

Just before the pandemic forced Las Vegas nightclubs to close, Wet Republic unveiled renovations made to the 54,000-square-foot property. The venue was able to operate in a limited capacity midway through 2020 but it wasn’t quite the same.

On Friday, March 5, more guests will finally be able to see the refreshed dayclub, located at MGM Grand. General admission is prohibited; reservations are required and the venue is following the same health and safety protocols as OMNIA.

Liquid Pool

Located at Aria Las Vegas, Liquid Pool is an upscale adults-only venue designed to pamper guests and provide a luxe pool experience. At 16,000 square feet, Liquid is less than a third the size of Wet Republic, delivering a more relaxed and intimate vibe than its larger sibling.

There are eight cabanas, several daybeds, multiple dipping pools, and upscale F&B programming at Liquid Pool. On Friday, March 12, Liquid Pool will welcome the start of Las Vegas pool season in reserved-but-elevated style. Like OMNIA and Wet Republic, Liquid Pool requires reservations.

Image: Hakkasan Group

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Datassential Finds Operators Optimistic

Datassential Finds Operators Optimistic

by David Klemt

Restaurant open sign hanging in window

The latest report from Datassential finds that the vast majority of operators are optimistic or at least confident their businesses will survive the pandemic.

Per Datassential, operator outlook appears to be more positive than it was in December.

That’s largely due to the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Datassential Covid-19 Resources & Reports

Datassential has been releasing informative Covid-19 reports throughout the pandemic to provide helpful industry, consumer and operator data.

Trending Upward” is Datassential’s 46th installment, and the research firm provides their Covid-19 resources at no charge.

For this report, Datassential surveyed 400 “decision makers for restaurants and on-site foodservice locations.”

Operator Outlook

Most of the operators surveyed, 220 or 55 percent, are still concerned about the challenges facing them and the industry. However, they’re “fairly confident” that their businesses will make it through.

That 55 percent represents no change from December of last year, when Datassential last gauged operator outlook.

The next two survey respondent segments tell the tale of optimism.

Of the 400 operators surveyed, 148 or 37 percent are “cautiously optimistic.” In fact, they expect to be even stronger post-pandemic.

Compared to December, that’s a seven-percent increase in operators who feel optimistic. That seven percent shifted from the “very nervous” segment,

Just 32 of survey respondents (eight percent) reported that they don’t think they’ll survive the pandemic. Losing any businesses to the pandemic and its terrible impact on the industry is beyond horrific, and the results of this Datassential report in no way minimize that awful truth. However, the percentage of operators who feel “very nervous” or otherwise pessimistic reducing by nearly half provides at least a semblance of hope for the future of the industry.

Staff Cuts

According to Datassential, more than 80 percent of operators who were forced to cut staff at some point during the pandemic have been able to bring back some of their workers.

Of the 400 respondents surveyed by Datassential, 21 percent of operators reported they hadn’t laid off any of their employees

Another 20 percent had to cut staff but were able to rehire all of them.

Nearly half (48 percent) have only been able to hire some of the staff they laid off back. Twelve percent have been unable to rehire any of the staff they had to let go.

Takeaway

Optimism is great for emotional and mental health. So is targeted relief. Operators and employees will likely feel far more confident and relieved if the industry receives actual targeted relief. This Datassential report’s findings are positive but we need Congress to act.

Click here to tell your representatives to pass the RESTAURANTS Act now.

Image: Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

by krghospitality krghospitality No Comments

I Tried the Mask Made for & by Hospitality

I Tried the Mask Made for & by Hospitality

by David Klemt

Wearing a mask is part of everyday life, particularly for hospitality industry professionals.

DCBL Masks was designed by hospitality professionals for the hospitality industry, born out of their reverence for the workers putting themselves at risk so the communities they serve can retain a semblance of their normal lives.

Their first mask, the X-1, is intended to provide solutions to the problems presented by other face coverings.

Thoughtful Design

One problem with the standard masks and face coverings we’ve grown accustomed to is their tendency to muffle voices. One of the driving design elements behind the DCBL X-1 is the projection of the wearer’s voice.

The X-1 is a three-piece mask and its second layer is what sets it apart from others. The middle layer is sound-enhancing, sculpted foam that allows the wearer’s voice to carry. No more going hoarse from yelling, no more (or less, at least) repeating oneself, no more guests leaning in or stepping closer to hear what’s being said (hopefully).

That second layer is also intended to improve breathability. The inside layer’s design provides an air pocket for similar breathing functionality. It’s also made of natural bamboo so it’s soft, moisture-wicking and cooling, and it receives an antimicrobial treatment.

The X-1’s outer layer is polyester and resists dust and moisture while also protecting against UV rays. There are two flexible “suspension” systems, one for the nose and one to seal the bottom of the mask. Straps are Spandex, ear loops are adjustable, and there’s a clasp system so the wearer can choose how to secure the mask to their head.

Designed by Industry Pros

DCBL is the brainchild of industry veterans Michael Tipps and Homan Taghdiri. Tipps and Taghdiri are the co-founders of both DCBL Masks and Invictus Hospitality, a consulting agency headquartered in Los Angeles.

Tipps boasts over two decades’ experience in hospitality. He got his start in South Florida and has worked every front-of-house position. His journey through hospitality helped him gain perspective regarding the challenges inherent to the industry, and he eventually co-founded Invictus.

Taghdiri worked in hospitaity for 13 years before becoming a licensed attorney in California. He has worked every position in the industry. While he no longer studies law, when he did, he specialized in real estate, business and the hospitality industry.

DCBL’s Mission

There are three main goals DCBL seeks to achieve: Protection, projection, and connection. I’ve explained how they achieve the first two goals.

If the first goal isn’t realized, goals two and three don’t matter. If DCBL whiffs on the second goal, the third is unachievable. The X-1 seeks to make conversation easier when wearing masks so people can feel more connected. Being separated by masks, distance, barriers, and staying at home is detrimental to us all. The DCBL X-1 addresses that issue.

As the DCBL website says, “Staying safe and making a living shouldn’t be as challenging as it has been.” I feel the brand accomplishes their deceptively simple goals.

Impressions

First things first, I didn’t receive my X-1 in exchange for this post or any monetary compensation. I was genuinely curious about the mask and placed an order for two.

My masks arrived in a black bubble mailer, making them seem a little cooler from the start. They were each sealed in their own packet with an insert that explained the three layers, different methods for securing the X-1, machine washing instructions, and more.

DCBL X-1 mask packaging

In my experience, the mask felt soft and comfortable before even putting it on. The X-1 feels like a well-constructed, high-quality mask.

DCBL X-1 Mask

I have to say, I dig the interior layer. Not only is it soft and comfortable, the design detail is a nice departure from the white, black or pale blue to which we’ve all become accustomed:

Inside layer of DCBL X-1 face mask

It’s comfortable on my face and it allows me to speak comfortably, clearly and loudly no extra effort. I wore mine around my place and while writing this article. The ear loops are comfortable for me but the X-1 can be worn easily with an ear loop extension or toward the top of the head with the clasp system.

My glasses did fog slightly at first, but that became a non-issue after I adjusted the nose bridge suspension area.

Other people’s mileage may very, of course, but I feel that the mask delivers on DCBL’s mission statement: Be Heard.

To learn more and order the X-1, click here. connect with DCBL on Instagram and Facebook. Contact hello@dcblmasks.com for wholesale orders.

Disclaimer: The DCBL X-1 is not a medical-grade mask and is not intended as a replacement for medical-grade equipment or other recommended measures to stop the community spread of any viruses.

Images taken by author.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Infographic: NRA Raise the Wage Survey

Infographic: NRA Raise the Wage Survey

by David Klemt

The results of a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association to gauge operator reaction to the Raise the Wage Act are in.

Per the NRA’s infographic detailing the participant responses, there’s not much support for increasing the federal minimum wage and eliminating the tip credit.

What’s in the Raise the Wage Act?

If signed into law, the Raise the Wage Act will represent significant change for employers and employees.

The federal minimum wage will be raised incrementally to $15 by 2025. Two years later, in 2027, the tipped wage will be eliminated.

Survey Results

The NRA surveyed 2,000 restaurant operators between February 2 and 9. Respondents are clearly opposed to the Raise the Wage Act.

National Restaurant Association Raise the Wage infographic

What Does This Mean?

A vast majority of survey respondents—along with the NRA—definitely view the bill as a threat to the industry. An email sent by the NRA’s executive vice president of public affairs, Sean Kennedy, includes this succinct statement:

“These results make one point crystal clear—after seeing over 110,000 restaurants close and over 2.5 million jobs lost, increasing labor costs is going to make it more likely that more operators close their doors and lay off their staff. Tipped servers will lose with the end of a system that allows them to make $19-$25 an hour in tips under the current tip credit system.”

To the best of my knowledge, the NRA has not yet conducted a targeted survey of restaurant workers for their opinions of a $15 federal minimum wage and the elimination of the tax credit.

However, fast-food workers from McDonald’s and other chains have gone on strike in at least 15 cities in the United States to demand a raise to $15 per hour. That speaks volumes for how foodservice workers who aren’t typically tipped feel about the Raise the Wage Act.

What’s Next?

According to the NRA, the bill is slated to be fast-tracked and voted on in just a few weeks.

Agree that the Raise the Wage Act is going to hurt operators, workers and the industry? Click here to let Congress know.

Want Congress to pass the bill? Click here to find your representatives and let them know.

Infographic: National Restaurant Association

Image: lucas Favre on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Mardi Gras Transforms Into Yardi Gras

Mardi Gras Transforms Into Yardi Gras

by David Klemt

In a glaring, neon sign of the times, Mardi Gras is built for socially distanced enjoyment this year.

This year, the parade “floats” will be stationary and the revelers will come to them.

Initially created as a grassroots campaign to raise money for artists who craft Mardi Gras parade floats, “Yardi” Gras just may become an annual tradition. In fact, it has been reported that artists have already been commissioned for Yardi Gras in 2022.

What is Yardi Gras??

It’s simple. Well, it’s simple to understand—designing and constructing a Mardi Gras float is a complex undertaking that takes about a year.

Anyway, Yardi Gras celebrates Mardi Gras by transforming buildings into stand-ins for their float counterparts. As you read this, there are hundreds of homes and businesses decorated to celebrate Carnival.

Given that the most common way to enjoy Yardi Gras is via driving tours, I can see this taking off in cities across the world…in conjunction with traditional Mardi Gras parades, of course.

Via @nolashirtclub on Instagram

Alright, Who Did This?

The Krewe of Red Beans has been credited with kicking off what I hope becomes a tradition in NOLA (along with the return of floats, of course) and other cities. To raise funds for Mardi Gras artists and float builders who found themselves out of work when the city canceled parades.

A krewe, by the way, is a social group that organizes Carnival parades or balls.

Announced via press release another krewe, the Krewe of House Floats, also supported artists and the community: The Krewe of House Floats (KoHF) today announced a giving campaign to raise $100,000 for those affected by COVID-19 restrictions and Mardi Gras event cancellations, with Culture Aid NOLA and Grace at the Greenlight as the first partners for the initiative. The magic of Carnival, while often billed as the ‘Greatest Free Show on Earth,’ isn’t possible without float artisans, service industry workers, musicians, Mardi Gras Indians and other culture bearers.”

Click here to donate via the Krewe of Red Beans, and click here to give to the Krewe of House Floats. The latter has created a map of Yardi Gras participants.

Via @tb_lenswork on Instagram

Why Am I So into this Idea?

In its 164-year history, Mardi Gras has only been canceled 14 times. Mardi Gras is most closely associated with New Orleans, a city that should hold a place a reverence in the hearts of all hospitality workers.

Las Vegas, New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and Orlando come to most people’s minds when they think of US cities known for hospitality. However, New Orleans deserves a top ranking on any hospitality list.

New Orleans has nurtured the careers of several notable chefs, bartenders and operators:

  • Chef Leah Chase, who passed in 2019, was anointed the Queen of Creole Cuisine. Dooky Chase, her NOLA restaurant, has been recognized as one of the most important restaurants and was an important gathering spot for the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Emeril “So Famous You Don’t Need to Hear His Last Name to Know Who I’m Talking About” Lagasse helmed the storied Commander’s Palace in NOLA.
  • The Brennan family took ownership of Commander’s Palace in 1969 and has succeeded in building a family-owned restaurant empire.
  • Chef Nina Compton is a James Beard Award winner who worked in NYC and Miami. Before opening the award-winning Compère Lapin in 2015 and Bywater American Bistro in 2018 in NOLA, Chef Compton competed on season 11 of Top Chef.
  • Chris Hannah worked at the world-famous Arnaud’s 75 for close to 15 years before opening Manolito and Jewel of the South with Nick Dietrich.
  • Jeff “Beachbum” Berry cemented his legacy as one of the most influential people in the bar world long before he opened Latitude 29 in the French Quarter. He has written seven books focused on cocktail and culinary history, “lost” recipes, and culture.

That’s just a tiny handful of culinary and cocktail influencers with ties to New Orleans.

Cocktails Created in New Orleans

NOLA is the home of several classic cocktails, including:

  • Sazerac. Antoine Peychaud, the inventor of Peychaud’s Bitters, is credited as the creator of the Sazerac.
  • Vieux Carré. It means “Old Quarter” in French and references what we now know as the French Quarter.
  • Brandy Crusta. Created by Joseph Santini in the 1850s at the “original” Jewel of the South bar.
  • Ramos Gin Fizz. Originally called the New Orleans Gin Fizz but eventually changed to honor its creator, Henry Ramos.
  • Hurricane. Invented at Pat O’Brien’s Bar, which is still in operation and has been serving Hurricanes since the 1940s.

Next time you serve or enjoy one of these classics, toast New Orleans.

We hope you have a great Mardi Gras or Yardi Gras!

Image: beebutter from Pixabay

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

This Generation is Most Likely to Dine In

This Generation is Most Likely to Dine In

by David Klemt

Chef preparing burgers inside restaurant

The National Restaurant Association’s 2021 State of the Restaurant Industry report revealed the generation most likely to dine in-person at a restaurant.

That is, of course, if such restaurant service—from quick-service to fine dining—is permitted where they’re located.

So, do you have a guess? Because we have the answer.

Most Likely to Dine In

Per an NRA survey, Gen Z is most eager to return to in-person restaurant dining.

However, it’s more of a simple majority that’s after a restaurant experience beyond delivery, takeout and curbside pickup than an overwhelming one.

Just 53 percent of adult members of Gen Z surveyed by the NRA are willing to dine inside restaurants over the course of the next few months.

Overall, 67 percent of Gen Z, Millennial, Gen X and Baby Boomer adults would like to engage with restaurants like they did before the pandemic. That’s not a huge stretch, of course; we all want to return to normal and put Covid-19 behind us.

Still, the survey results make it clear there’s demand for in-person dining. The convenience of interacting with and ordering from restaurants is here to stay. However, that convenience hasn’t replaced the desire to dine (and socialize) out.

So, Who’s Most Likely to Order In?

You’d be forgiven for assuming the answer to this question is also Gen Z. After all, just about every development regarding technology and how people engage with the world has been laid at their feet.

When Gen Z isn’t being accused of “killing” a tradition, sense of normalcy or an entire industry, the finger is pointed at Millennials.

Well, it turns out the usual finger-pointing suspects are the consumers most likely to order from restaurants.

According to the NRA’s report, 81 percent of Boomers and 80 percent of Gen X will continue to order from restaurants, at least for the next few months.

Put it All Together

At least for the next several months, the industry’s recovery will hinge on the full-strength return of in-person service and the convenience of delivery and takeout.

In other words, some consumers are champing at the bit to once again make restaurant visits a regular part of their lives while others plan to proceed with caution. Successful restaurant operations will maintain a mixture of traditional and digitally-driven services.

Nearly 90 percent of adults surveyed by the NRA say they enjoy going out to restaurants and that doing so with family and friends is a better way to spend leisure time than cooking at home.

“Restaurants are the cornerstone of our communities, and our research shows a clear consumer desire to enjoy restaurants on-premises more than they have been able to during the pandemic. We’ve also found that even as the vaccine becomes more available and more social occasions return to restaurants, consumers will continue to desire expanded off-premises options going forward. Both will continue to be key for industry growth,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president, Research and Knowledge Group, NRA, in a press release announcing the Association’s 2021 State of the Restaurant Industry. “With more than half of adults saying that restaurants are an essential part of their lifestyle, we are confident that, with time, the industry is positioned for successful recovery.”

The NRA predicts foodservice sales to reach $731 billion in 2021, an 11 percent increase over 2020. Unfortunately, that estimate is about 15 percent lower than sales generated in 2019.

Still, that’s a reason to be optimistic. Consumers are pent-up and eager to make restaurants a significant part of their lives once again.

Nobody is more eager, evidently, than Gen Z.

Image: Jesson Mata on Unsplash

by krghospitality krghospitality No Comments

On the Menu for 2021: The RESTAURANTS Act

On the Menu for 2021: The RESTAURANTS Act

by David Klemt

Much like restaurants themselves, the RESTAURANTS Act has faced multiple starts and stops.

The bill received huge bipartisan support in 2020, landing dozens upon dozens of co-sponsors.

However, that widespread support didn’t materialize into any actual progress—the bill was never signed into law. That must change now.

A Long Road

It’s February 2021. The House and Senate must work together to provide the targeted relief of the Real Economic Support That Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive (RESTAURANTS) Act.

The RESTAURANTS Act was first introduced to the House of Representatives on June 15, 2020. The bill was eventually included in the revised Heroes Act, which was passed by the House on October 1, 2020 on a vote of 214 to 207.

Unfortunately, that bill was “dead on arrival” and didn’t receive a vote on the Senate floor. A $900 billion stimulus package was negotiated in December of 2020 but the RESTAURANTS Act wasn’t included in it.

It has been more than long enough—it’s beyond time for action.

Where are We Now?

Throughout all of this, from inception to current status, the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) has never faltered in their campaign to ensure this industry receives the targeted relief it so desperately needs.

It’s wise given how the number of times we’ve been let down by our elected officials to be guarded and cautiously optimistic about the RESTAURANTS Act finally being signed into law this month.

On February 5, Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) formally (re)introduced the RESTAURANTS Act to the 117th Congress.

What’s in the Bill?

In its current form, the RESTAURANTS Act:

  • establishes a $120 billion relief fund for foodservice and drinking establishments;
  • makes groups that operate up to 20 units eligible for relief from that fund;
  • provides operators access to grants of up to $10 million for eligible expenses; and
  • makes the grants retroactive to February 15, 2020 and ends them eight months after the legislation is signed into law.

New provisions in the February 2021 RESTAURANTS Act include:

  • updates to the award calculation based on annual loss from calendar year 2020 instead of quarterly;
  • grant eligibility for new restaurants that opened after January 1, 2020;
  • paid sick leave as an eligible expense for employees, with a bonus amount to cover the cost of voluntarily providing ten days of sick leave to employees;
  • providing the Department of the Treasury the discretion to help reduce waste, fraud, and abuse;
  • imposing reporting obligations on the Department of the Treasury to share who gets loans and demographic information about recipients; and
  • ensuring that restaurants can use both the Employee Retention Tax Credit and the RESTAURANTS Act grant program, provided they are not used for the same expenses.

What’s Next?

We must all act to give the RESTAURANTS Act the best chance of becoming law. We have been patient for long enough.

We must let our representatives know we expect them to pledge their support for this bill formally.

The IRC provides several methods for ensuring our representatives understand they need to co-sponsor and pass the RESTAURANTS Act:

  1. Email your representatives and ask them for their co-sponsorship.
  2. Call your representatives directly and tell them why restaurants and bars need the RESTAURANTS Act to be voted on, passed, and signed into law. This is the number to dial: (202) 224-3121. The IRC has provided talking points here.
  3. Share the graphic below on your social channels and encourage your followers to also contact their representatives and ask them to co-sponsor the RESTAURANTS Act. Use the following caption when posting: It’s official: the RESTAURANTS Act of 2021 is on the menu in both chambers of Congress. Call your representatives today and tell them that independent restaurants, bars, and workers can’t wait any longer for direct relief: 202-224-3121 #SaveRestaurants

All of that will take less than 20 minutes. That’s not a lot of time to help finally get this industry the support and relief it needs.

The RESTAURANTS Act is needed to prevent more permanent restaurant and bar closures, and to revitalize the industry. The road to recovery is a long one and getting this bill signed into law is a major step forward.

Please email and call your representatives. Please share the post and caption above on your social media. Please help save the restaurants, bars, and millions of people they employ.

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