Chefs Push Congress To Support Neighborhood Restaurants

Posted: Apr 29, 2020

If this initiative works, it may be one of the most important bridges to help the food and beverage industry.

Thousands of independent restaurant owners from across the country will join a Zoom press conference today to push Congress to create a "restaurant stabilization fund" to save small eateries that are on the brink of insolvency.

Why it matters: The federal PPP loan program doesn't work for these restaurants because of requirements to hire back employees. These establishments are closed and not generating revenue.

And even when restaurants reopen, they may have to cut the number of tables in half to allow for social distancing.
The new Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) is pushing for a $120 billion fund to provide direct relief to independent bars, wine bars and restaurants.

An IRC official tells me these businesses expect at least a 50% revenue loss this year. With profit margins around 5%, many won't survive. So millions of people won't have jobs to go back to when this crisis is over.
Among the big-name chefs expected on today's call are José Andrés, Nina Compton, Rosa Garcia, Naomi Pomeroy and Andrew Zimmern.

"The restaurants we love are hurting,” Andrés, part of the IRC leadership team, said in a statement.
“Restaurateurs are some of the most creative, inspiring, entrepreneurial people I know and right now they need a little hope."
Naomi Pomeroy, owner of Beast in Portland, Ore., and an IRC founding member, said: "Even with the Paycheck Protection Program, I have serious doubts I’ll be able to reopen my business."

By Mike Allen
April 29, 2020
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