Resort

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

Your Drink Menu Deserves an Ice Program

Your Drink Menu Deserves an Ice Program

by David Klemt

Cocktail with large king ice cube, overhead view

All ice is not created equal—there’s a reason behind their shapes and sizes.

Taking the time to consider your ice and build a dedicated program that includes it is crucial for your beverage program and the guest experience.

Remember that just like there are rules for building cocktails, there are rules for using ice:

  • Dilution is your friend. Water is a crucial component for cocktails.
  • Is your ice floating? Your build balance is off.
  • Store ice in plastic bags if it’s not being used right away.
  • Don’t use ice that’s two weeks old or older.

Types of Ice

Standard Cube (1 inch x 1 inch): These absolutely have a place in the cocktail glass. Just adhere to this standard when using standard ice cubes: Never use a water source you wouldn’t drink.

King Cubes (2 inches x 2 inches): Use these for spirit-forward drinks for consistent temperature and dilution. Examples: Manhattan, Negroni, Old Fashioned, Vieux Carré.

Collins Spear/Shard/Cylinder: For highballs. These make a Tom Collins or G&T look elegant and cool.

Ice Block: Use blocks in punches to keep large-format cocktails cold and control dilution over time.

Ice Slab: These are impressive blocks of ice bars and restaurants use to cut and shape their own cubes and spheres, often providing guests with entertainment (see below). Operators either form slabs in-house or retain the services of producers who drop them off. (In fact, there are services out there that will provide perfect and bespoke cubes, spheres and spheres.)

Sphere: Ice spheres are ideal for stirred cocktails and enjoying spirits straight. They melt very slowly in comparison to other shapes and deliver an impressive visual impact, so they often wind up in cocktails that call for king cubes.

Pebble/Crushed: Use in drinks that are heavy on syrup and/or juice, tiki drinks, and drinks served in hot climates. Examples: Frozen Daiquiri, Margarita, Mint Julep, Moscow Mule, Swizzle.

Hands-on Approach

According to many well-known bartenders, mixologists and operators, the best method for perfectly clear ice is “directional freezing.” Camper English outlined the process on the Alcademics site in 2009. But what do you do to turn a single slab into several cubes?

You’ll need an ice saw to get through the slab, a traditional single-prong ice pick to break off smaller cubes, a three-prong ice pick to break off smaller cubes and shape them into spheres if you prefer (be careful!), and an ice mallet to help the ice picks do their jobs.

Treat this process as a show for the guests. For a real-world example, the bars inside Zuma restaurants have ice stations dedicated to turning an ice slab into ice cubes. These stations are an experiential feature of the cocktail program.

Semi-hands-on Approach

An aluminum ice sphere mold is a type of “set it and forget it” device.

It may seem like these would be time-consuming to use and low-yield, but most take just a minute to form a ready-to-use sphere. Most manufacturers claim their molds can produce 30 to 40 spheres per hour.

While the mold is creating a perfect sphere of ice, the bartender grabs a glass and builds the cocktail. The guest, meanwhile, enjoys the “drama” of drink production versus ice sphere production: Will the drink and ice be ready at the same time?

Ice sphere molds range in price from under $200 to $800 (and beyond). The molds themselves are appealing to the eye, simple to use, and justify higher cocktail prices. Yes, there are bars that successfully charge more for large ice spheres, often offering different types of ice for at additional charge.

Molds make spheres in a range of diameters, normally from 1.2 inches to 2.8 inches. Higher-end models also offer shapes, such as perfect spheres, diamonds or snowflakes. Several bars that use these molds utilize custom versions that “brand” the ice with their logo.

Ice Machines

There are multiple manufacturers of commercial-grade icemakers. However, there are two that are considered top of the food chain.

Hoshizaki America’s headquarters is in Georgia and the company makes dozens of icemakers. People can choose from ice shape and the pounds of ice a machine produces in a day. We’re fans of Hoshizaki for their quality and the pandemic information they added to their FAQs last year.

Manitowoc operates out of Wisconsin and manufactures several models. There are cubers, flakers, nugget producers, and there are several solutions that work for an array of venue types, layouts and service volumes.

To learn even more about creating an epic beverage program, click here for our latest download.

Image: Moritz Mentges on Unsplash

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Bacardi Predicts How We’ll Drink in 2021

Bacardi Predicts How We’ll Drink in 2021

by David Klemt

Bartender making a cocktail

What will alcohol consumption look like this year? Bacardi has answers.

In association with the Future Laboratory, Bacardi’s second-annual cocktail trends report—a well-sourced 25-page document—is available.

As is the case when we begin a new year, we’re being deluged with trend predictions and reports. I’d say the Bacardi 2021 Cocktail Trends Report goes deeper than most.

The report is organized into five macro trends identified by Bacardi Limited. Let’s get to it!

Reinventing the Bar

I’m not presenting Bacardi’s macro trends in order. Instead, I’m starting with the trend arguably most relevant to operators: bar reinvention.

Industry experts have been pointing to the ease of access to knowledge along with consumer interest in learning more about spirits and cocktails as an important trends for years now. It’s no longer a trend—it’s standard that guests are better informed.

Like other sources, Bacardi predicts guests will seek out more personalized experiences. They also predict guests will want to connect more with bartenders. However, the brand goes deeper in their report.

Bacardi thinks to-go cocktails, cocktail and meal kits, and e-commerce will become standard. Going a step further, the report posits that some venues will create cocktail menus that will change according to weekly inventory; sommeliers will add spirits knowledge to their skillset; and that guests will be eager to try drinks they’ve never had before.

Perhaps most importantly, Bacardi predicts bar culture will become more positive and inclusive, resulting in gender stereotypes—including those inherent to bottle design—will fall to the wayside.

Purpose and Transparency

According to a study conducted by IBM and the National Retail Federation and cited in Bacardi’s report, a massive 70 percent of American and Canadian consumers think it’s important that brands are eco-friend or sustainable.

Bacardi predicts sustainability, transparency, and the authentic embrace of social causes will be crucial this year and beyond.

In response to climate change, sustainability, eco-friendliness, and the zero-waste movement, Bacardi plans to wipe out 80 million plastic bottles with their new biodegradable bottle design, rolling out in 2023.

Pointing to a statistic from ZypMedia—that 36 percent of consumers plan to keep buying from local businesses post-pandemic—Bacardi predicts hyperlocality will grow stronger in 2021. Operators who source more local items, including beverage alcohol, will likely find more support from consumers.

Mindful Drinking

Per a Bacardi survey, 22 percent of consumers across the globe are drinking alcohol less. More than half (55 percent) of “mindful drinkers” are drinking low-ABV options.

Bacardi predicts low- and no-ABV drinks to perform well this year. Spritzes, for example, is on the rise as a bar culture in its own right.

Per Bacardi, zero-proof spirits are getting the most attention of any other category, worldwide.

Mindful drinking is also affecting how spirits are made. Consumers, more conscious of their health because of the pandemic, are showing a preference for beverages free of artificial ingredients. Furthermore, Bacardi expects consumers to seek out drinks that have health-boosting benefits.

The report, as an example, cites a Global Wellness Institute finding that in 2019 alone, “U.S. sales of ginger rose by 94%, while turmeric and garlic sales were up by 68% and 62%.” Today’s consumer is seeking out functional cocktail ingredients.

Drinking by the Numbers

Bacardi’s report puts all the brand’s cards on the table. Operators looking to program or reprogram their menus will find this information helpful.

Consider the info below for delivery and to-go drinks since Nielsen finds that 40 percent of US consumers are interested in make-at-home cocktail kits, 37 percent are interested in pre-made bottled cocktails, and 37 percent are interested in grab-and-go cocktails.

Flavor and Experience: Extreme heat (chilies), Super-sweet, Sour, Bitter, Smoked

Experiences: Pleasure, Nostalgia, Escapism, Quality over quantity, Light-hearted drinks, Flavor-filled indulgences

Most Popular Cocktails, Globally (Descending Order): Low-ABV, Other spritzes, Negroni, Classic cocktails with a twist, G&T (including riffs), Non-alcohol, Whiskey Highball, Espresso Martini, Old Fashioned, Vermouth cocktails

Premiumization Opportunities: Gin, Rum, Tequila

Top 5 Spirits (by Interest): Gin, Mezcal, Tequila, Vermouth, Bitter/Amaro Liqueurs

Top 5 RTDs in North America: Vodka Soda and flavors, Margarita, Moscow Mule, Low-ABV, G&T

Click here to read the report in its entirety.

Image: Helena Lopes on Unsplash

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 David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Does the Margarita Still Reign Supreme?

Does the Margarita Still Reign Supreme?

by David Klemt

Whatever’s happening here, I’m in…

The Margarita has maintained the title of Most Popular Cocktail in the United States year after year.

But is the classic cocktail still wearing the crown and clutching the scepter?

Most Popular 2020 Cocktails

Midway through last year, Google revealed the top cocktail searches in each state:

  • Alabama: Hurricane
  • Alaska: Whiskey Sour
  • Arizona: Paloma
  • Arkansas: Frozen Daiquiri
  • California: Paloma
  • Colorado: Hurricane
  • Connecticut: Margarita
  • Delaware: Screwdriver
  • Washington, DC: Old Fashioned
  • Florida: Cuba Libre
  • Georgia: Sazerac
  • Hawaii: Lemon Drop Martini
  • Idaho: Kamikaze
  • Illinois: Manhattan
  • Indiana: French 75
  • Iowa: Kamikaze
  • Kansas: Screwdriver
  • Kentucky: Lily
  • Louisiana: Bushwacker
  • Maine: Margarita
  • Maryland: Kamikaze
  • Massachusetts: Old Fashioned
  • Michigan: Cosmo
  • Minnesota: Oliveto
  • Mississippi: Painkiller
  • Missouri: Gin and Tonic
  • Montana: Blue Hawaiian
  • Nebraska: Old Fashioned
  • Nevada: Grasshopper
  • New Hampshire: Old Fashioned
  • New Jersey: Manhattan
  • New Mexico: Old Fashioned
  • New York: Manhattan
  • North Carolina: Bushwacker
  • North Dakota: Kamikaze
  • Ohio: Boulevardier
  • Oklahoma: Black Russian
  • Oregon: Old Fashioned
  • Pennsylvania: Whiskey Sour
  • Rhode Island: Cosmo
  • South Carolina: Tequila Sunrise
  • South Dakota: Screwdriver
  • Tennessee: Buschwacker
  • Texas: Paloma
  • Utah: Cape Cod
  • Vermont: Cosmopolitan
  • Virginia: Old Fashioned
  • Washington: Old Fashioned
  • West Virginia: Kamikaze
  • Wisconsin: Grasshopper
  • Wyoming: White Russian

Margarita Slipping?

As you can see, the Margarita was only the top search in two states, Connecticut and Maine. Perhaps their access to the Atlantic Ocean coastline motivated residents of those states to enjoy the refreshing classic that invokes summer and escapism.

Regardless, the Margarita didn’t even make it into the top three. Third place went to the Cosmo, Manhattan and Screwdriver in a three-way tie, with each the most popular in three states.

Second place went to Kamikaze, the top cocktail search in Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, North Dakota and West Virginia.

Before I get to the first-place cocktail—according to a snapshot of time by Google—I have to address the clear winner of the Most Unique Search title. Minnesota’s top search was for the Oliveto cocktail, shaken and strained into a rocks glass:

  • 2 oz. Dry gin
  • 1 oz. fresh Lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. Simple syrup
  • 1/4 oz. Licor 43
  • 1/2 oz. full-bodied Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fresh Egg white
  • Ice cubes

New Number One?

The Old Fashioned, clinching seven states, was the number-one cocktail…for about 30 days in 2020.

Much has also been made about a supposed surge in interest for the Gin & Tonic.

However, scouring the Internet for data and articles, the Margarita is still sitting comfortably on the throne. According to multiple sources, the Margarita is a to-go cocktail mainstay, it’s succeeding in the RTD space (meaning it’s performing well on- and 0ff-premise), and home bartenders are driving up sales of tequila and cordials.

Trends are fun but classics are classics for a reason. So, make sure your Margs, G&Ts, Old Fashioneds, Manhattans and other staples are dialed in this year.

Image: Menú Acapulco on Unsplash

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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

Uncorked: 2021 Wine Trends to Watch

Uncorked: 2021 Wine Trends to Watch

by David Klemt

Glass of red wine

What’s up with wine in 2021? We reviewed multiple sources to find out.

One great thing about hunting for wine trends is that it’s easy—there’s no shortage of sources willing to make predictions.

Common Wine Trends

The IWSR, without a doubt a reputable source for information about all things beverage, expects wine consumption to “bounce back” this year.

Along with Forbes, Wine Intelligence, just-drinks, and bar inventory platform Backbar, the IWSR expects e-commerce to be crucial for wine sales. Continuing with tech influence, the IWSR and Wine Intelligence expect wine producers and sellers to engage more with consumers online. Forbes pointed to orange wine benefiting from Instagram posts as a specific example of digital engagement.

Forbes, the IWSR, and Wine Intelligence predict alternative packaging to really take off in 2021. Canned wines are well positioned but other options—wine-in-box and “letterbox” bottles, for example—will perform well this year.

Forbes, the IWSR, and WineMemoir expect sustainability to be even more important in 2021. The IWSR mentioned organic and low-intervention wine, and they pointed to biodynamic wine, as did WineMemoir. Zero-waste winemaking was mentioned by Forbes.

The IWSR and Forbes expect sparkling wine—Prosecco specifically—to have a moment this year. Drinking occasions, per the IWSR, have come to include Prosecco more often; sparkling is no longer just for celebrating.

Breakout Wine Trends

Speaking of moments, rosé Champagne will have on in 2021, according to Forbes. The publication also expects the wealthy to continue “drinking richly,” so operators with rare, exclusive and high-dollar bottles should consider promoting them.

With the explosive growth of hard seltzer that has taken place over the past few years, Wine Intelligence predicts 2021 to be the year the wine seltzer market is established.

People will choose “safe” wine options, meaning they’ll be less likely to experiment and move out of their comfort zones, according to just-drinks. The magazine is also more cautious about the category’s growth this year, pointing to slowed economies and rises in alcohol duty rates.

Backbar, explaining that wine dollar value slipped but sales volume rose in 2020, predicts restaurants will offer more affordable wines. Along with that trend, they predict restaurants will hold less inventory to reduce costs, meaning wine lists will shrink.

Specific varietals Backbar predicts will perform well due to a turn toward affordable wines: South American Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Malbec; South African Chenin Blanc; Portuguese reds; red blends; and American wines in general.

2021 will be the Year of Cabernet Franc, according to WineMemoir. Bordeaux will see a resurgence in popularity, and wines from Abruzzo and Jura will see a lift.

Image: Carson Masterson on Unsplash

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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

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Introducing KRG Momentum

Introducing KRG Momentum

by David Klemt

Seeking an alternative to complete start-up planning and project management? The solution you’re looking for is KRG Momentum.

Just like every operator is unique, each project brings with it distinct challenges that require individual approaches and plans.

Some projects are already under way but need help moving forward. KRG Momentum gives these projects the help needed to cross the finish line and achieve long-term success.

What is Momentum?

Owning a hospitality business may look great on paper, but starting a hospitality business can be really quite stressful:

  • There are what seem to be endless hours of planning.
  • There are numerous third-parties involved.
  • There are often hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake.
  • There are over 500 unique tasks to complete.

It doesn’t matter if this is your first, fifth, or twentieth project—it’s crucial that you be both prepared and organized when opening a new concept or expanding operations.

However, not every project requires our full suite of targeted solutions, which includes feasibility studies, conceptual planning, business planning, brand development, guest experience strategies, food & beverage programs, and operational assessments.

If you’re beyond the idea stage but find your project is struggling to reach the finish line, we’re here to help. And just like a project in its earliest days, you’ll receive the unique, fully customized KRG treatment.

Is Momentum the Solution for You?

KRG Momentum provides a unique, coaching-style program that helps your start-up make continual forward progress:

  • Receive a dedicated consultant who will be an approachable advisor for you and your project. They’ll review and navigate your start-up questions and challenges, and be your compass to provide you with a clear path towards a successful opening.
  • Weekly 1-on-1 video/phone sessions with access to a private calendar: a weekly session in which we evaluate the past week and define required actions for the next week with a focus on budgets, timelines, and industry-specific consulting.
  • Your dedicated consultant is also available for second opinions and the review of: key documents, location, concept, branding, layouts, equipment, menu, service, technology, labor and financial optimization, system development, operations, marketing, and overall strategic clarity.
  • Your consultant will help you see the blind spots throughout your project, positioning you to maintain your budget and desired opening date.
  • Your consultant will help you make strong, educated decisions throughout your start-up project that will have a positive impact on the successful start of your restaurant, bar or hospitality brand.
  • And finally, your advisor will coach you so you become more confident, energized, and motivated about your opening while holding you accountable and helping you become a better leader through the creation of new habits, communication methods, and decision-making processes.

Click here to schedule a call.

Or, if you’re looking for a more hands-on approach where we develop the winning plans and property for and with you, we invite you to learn more by choosing your preferred option: Restaurants & Cafes, Bars & Lounges, Boutique Hotel & Resorts, or Golf, Gaming & Entertainment.

Images: KRG Hospitality

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National Restaurant Association Opposes Elimination of Tip Credit

National Restaurant Association Opposes Elimination of Tip Credit

by David Klemt

Citing a 600-percent increase in labor costs, the National Restaurant Association opposes the elimination of the tip credit.

An email sent out yesterday by NRA executive vice president of public affairs, Sean Kennedy, stated that doing away with the credit would present “an impossible challenge to restaurant owners” to remain open.

The email also opposes boosting the national minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Not every operation would see labor costs potentially skyrocket to untenable levels but wage changes could see restaurants, bars and other businesses in some states hit the cited 600-percent increase. If the majority of restaurant operators saw sales decline last month, as a previous NRA report said operators predicted, and that trend continues, the association’s standpoint could be proven right.

While the NRA continues its support for making the RESTAURANTS Act part of any new stimulus relief bill, the association has made their positions on the matter of a minimum wage hike and elimination of the tip credit clear:

“But now is not the time to insert wage changes–a hike in the minimum wage and elimination of the tip credit–to a stimulus bill. Tipped servers generally earn between $19-$25 dollars per hour, and this plan would punish these workers who use restaurant jobs to make a better life for themselves.”

The NRA appears concerned that the Biden administration’s efforts to quickly get Congress to pass a Covid-19 relief bill are short-sighted and will end up hurting tipped workers and the hospitality industry overall.

According to the message sent out yesterday, the majority of tipped workers across the country have, historically, opposed efforts to eliminate the tip credit. Per the NRA, tipped workers earn between $19 to $25 per hour when the tip credit remains intact.

Instead, the NRA prefers the next stimulus relief bill–there are currently two competing bills, one for $1.9 trillion plan and a GOP counterplan with a price tag of around $600 billion–to go with the Senate version of the RESTAURANTS Act.

If you agree with the NRA’s concerns, click here to take action.

Image: Mathieu Turle on Unsplash

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