Activists urge congress to pass bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act

Over 215 Farmers, Butchers, Winemakers, Restaurant Suppliers and Trade Groups Urge Congress to Pass Bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act for Independent Restaurants; Say Disappearing Restaurants “Will Take Us With Them” Without $120 Billion Lifeline  

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Q1 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

As Restaurants in Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas Forced to Close Doors, Suppliers Urge Members of Congress to Support RESTAURANTS Act and Protect Up to 16 Million Jobs

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Bacardi, Brown-Forman, Pat LaFrieda, and Niman Ranch Among Businesses Supporting the Bipartisan Legislation

Suppliers And Trade Groups Urge Congress To Pass The Bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Over 215 suppliers and trade groups across 26 states and D.C. urged Congress to pass the bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act and establish a $120 billion revitalization fund for independent bars and restaurants. The suppliers, and various trade associations representing them, asserted that providing direct aid to the beleaguered food and beverage industry would give supply chain businesses confidence that they can continue to invest in restaurants and build the relationships that power their livelihoods.

Organized by the recently-formed Independent Restaurant Coalition, signers included well-known names like Bacardi (Florida), Brown-Forman (Kentucky), Niman Ranch (Colorado), Matthiasson Vineyards (California), and Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors (New Jersey). Trade associations that joined include:

  • United States Cattlemen’s Association
  • Distilled Spirits Council of the United States
  • Organic Trade Association
  • Rural and Agriculture Council of America
  • Seafood Harvesters of America

The group writes, “We strongly encourage you to support the Independent Restaurant Revitalization request. The creation of this fund is a vital step to restart our national economic engine. We need restaurants to survive so we can help the millions of Americans in the extensive supply chain survive too.” The full letter is available below.

Forced closures of restaurants across the country have had devastating effects on the businesses that supply them:

  • $1 billion in perishable goods were left sitting in the stagnant supply chain within one week of dining rooms closing
  • Premium seafood product sales decreased by 80%.
  • Wine sales decreased by 67%.
  • Sales of spirits dropped by 75%.
  • Meat processors were forced to euthanize animals for lack of market demand for processed goods– at one poultry processor alone, two million chickens were slaughtered, and staffing was reduced by 50%.
  • Another chicken processor has decided to invest in a complete pivot to wholesale due to the fact that they expect restaurants to permanently close at an alarming rate nationwide.

Financial Setbacks In The Wake Of The COVID-19 Pandemic

The RESTAURANTS Act was introduced on June 18 by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR 3), and proposes a $120 billion Independent Restaurant Revitalization Fund for small food and beverage establishments facing devastating financial setbacks in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The RESTAURANTS Act has bipartisan support within each chamber, with Sens. Doug Jones (D-AL), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) joining the Senate bill. The House proposal has over 25 co-sponsors, 9 of whom signed on this week.

The revitalization fund has been a long sought-after goal for the IRC – the Coalition wrote a letter to Congress on April 29 outlining their request for a bill. Weeks later, at a restaurant industry roundtable at the White House, the IRC took their proposal directly to the president. The IRC has consistently argued that the fund would be pivotal to guaranteeing that the restaurants now reopening will be able to stay open.

The Independent Restaurant Coalition was formed by chefs and independent restaurant owners across the country who have built a grassroots movement to secure vital protections for the nation’s 500,000 independent restaurants and the more than 11 million restaurant workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The Coalition’s leadership team includes Tyler Akin, José Andrés, Kevin Boehm, Sean Brock, Katie Button, Andrew Carmellini, Ashley Christensen, Jeanie Chunn, Amanda Cohen, Tom Colicchio, Nina Compton, Rosa Garcia, Suzanne Goin, Gregory Gourdet, Will Guidara, Mason Hereford, Sam Kass, Max Katzenberg, Mike Lata, Camilla Marcus, Ivy Mix, Kwame Onwuachi, Patrick Phelan, Erika Polmar, Naomi Pomeroy, Steven Satterfield, Michael Shemtov, Nancy Silverton, Frank Stitt, Bobby Stuckey, Robert St. John, Caroline Styne, Jill Tyler, and Andrew Zimmern. 


Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer and Leader McCarthy,

The success of independent restaurants directly affects hundreds of thousands of businesses both large and small, including ours. We are grateful for the Paycheck Protection Program and your efforts to make the program more workable for restaurants. In the long term, there remain seemingly insurmountable challenges to restaurants that a two- or six-month relief program will not account for. We urge you to join us in supporting the Independent Restaurant Coalition’s request for a revitalization fund, which in turn would help our own businesses to survive after the current COVID-19 crisis and provide a much-needed boost for our country’s uphill economic recovery. Suppliers, particularly farmers, are making decisions now about how to run our businesses for the next several months amid a time of unprecedented uncertainty. A revitalization fund from Congress would give us confidence that restaurants will have the resources they need to continue purchasing our goods and services.

Our organizations represent businesses which, in part, make up our nation’s vital restaurant supply chain. 5 million of us work in the local industries that directly support the food and beverage industry. Though our work may take place hundreds of miles away from the restaurants and diners where our products are enjoyed, our fates are inextricably linked. Within one week of dining rooms closing, $1 billion in perishable goods were left sitting in the stagnant supply chain. Premium seafood product sales decreased by 80%. Wine sales decreased by 67%. Sales of spirits dropped by 75%. Within weeks, meat processors were forced to euthanize animals for lack of market demand for processed goods. At one poultry processor alone, two million chickens were slaughtered, and staffing was reduced by 50%. Another chicken processor has decided to invest in a complete pivot to wholesale due to the fact that they expect restaurants to close at an alarming rate nationwide.

Without assistance, our country will not only permanently lose 11 million jobs, but we will lose the restaurants that have become the cornerstones of our communities, and with it, the vibrant agricultural community that brings food and drink to tables nationwide.

Since the mandatory closure of restaurants across the United States, we have experienced a near total market collapse for our goods. We were forced to lay off thousands of workers -- ranch hands, chemists, lobstermen, farmers, from every state in the country. And because most restaurants pay on terms, we are now owed billions of dollars in back invoices. Today there is little hope of these bills being paid without a federal plan to help the restaurant industry get back on its feet. If small restaurants are not given direct relief, they will close in debt, and related industries will fail – permanently.

We strongly encourage you to support the Independent Restaurant Revitalization request. The creation of this fund is a vital step to restart our national economic engine. We need restaurants to survive so we can help the millions of Americans in the extensive supply chain survive too.

Absent Congressional action, these restaurants will disappear – and they will take us with them.

Two weeks ago, we were pleased to see Sens. Roger Wicker and Kyrsten Sinema introduce the bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act of 2020 (S. 4012). This legislation, which reflects a similar proposal (H.R. 7197) from Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, and several other House members, would provide a much-needed $120 billion Revitalization Fund for restaurants. Such a lifeline would allow us to continue our work with independent restaurants across the country, giving us certainty for the security of our own businesses.

The closing of a restaurant means a massive ripple effect in our economy. We feel that in supporting independent restaurants, you are giving us the chance to survive as well. If you take bold decisive action, and support this Revitalization Fund for independent restaurants, we will be back. When restaurants are given the lifeline they need to survive, so will we.

Sincerely,

Arizona

  • ALBOS Foods LLC
  • Alpha & Omega Restaurant Repair
  • Arcadia Meat Market
  • Arizona Craft Beverage
  • Arizona Distilling Co.
  • Arizona Vignerons Alliance
  • Arizona Winegrowers Association
  • AZ Bitters Lab
  • Baron Studio
  • Benny Blanco Tortillas
  • Cactus Kelly
  • Callaghan Vineyards
  • Cartel Coffee Lab
  • Chromis Technology
  • Clear Creek Vineyard
  • Crow’s Dairy
  • Dos Cabezas Wineworks
  • Elgin Winery and Distillery
  • Fiori Floral Design
  • Fred Ulrich Photography
  • Gigaphase IT Consulting
  • Green Living Magazine
  • J&N Administrative Services
  • JC Printing
  • Jet-Fresh Inc.
  • Los Milics Vineyard
  • Maya’s Farm
  • McClendon’s Select
  • Nathan Claiborn PLLC
  • Nelson’s Meat + Fish
  • Page Spring Cellars
  • Sonoita Vineyards
  • Sonoran Pasta Co.
  • Steadfast Farm
  • Superstition Meadery
  • The Independent Distillery
  • Tracy Dempsey Originals
  • True Salt Co.
  • Two Wash Ranch
  • Zarpara Vineyard

California

  • Ataraxis Biosciences
  • Bassian
  • BiRite
  • Cellar Master Inc
  • Chambers and Chambers Wine Merchants
  • Cruise Wine Co
  • Del Monte Meat Co
  • Devil's Gulch Ranch
  • Dirty and Rowdy Wine Co LLC
  • Frog's Leap Winery
  • Geolo Capital
  • Hirsch Vineyards
  • Holus Bolus Winery and Joy Fantastic Vineyard
  • ItalFoods
  • Joseph Phelps
  • La Grenouille Selections
  • Lyra Fine Wine Imports
  • Martines Wines
  • Matthiasson Family Vineyards
  • Mayacamas Vineyards
  • Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust
  • Oliver McCrum Wines & Spirits
  • Park Wine Company
  • Passamore Ranch
  • Ports Seafood
  • Pray Vineyards
  • Scribe Winery
  • Shiverick Imports
  • St. George Spirits
  • The Source Imports
  • Treasury Wine Estates
  • Valkyrie Selections
  • Vesta Foodservice
  • Villa Creek Cellars

Colorado

  • European Cellars
  • Niman Ranch
  • Odell Brewing

Connecticut

  • Chefs Warehouse
  • Mary Taylor Wine

Delaware

  • Produce Marketing Association

Florida

  • Bacardi
  • Cheney Brothers Food Distribution
  • Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits

Georgia

  • Inland Seafood Corporation
  • Springer Mountain Farms

Idaho

  • Idaho Potato Commission

Illinois

  • Cosmopolitan Linen
  • Fortune International, LLC
  • H2Vino
  • Lakeshore Recycling Systems
  • Purely Meat Co

Kentucky

  • Brown-Forman

Louisiana

  • Louisiana Fresh
  • Natco Food Service

Maryland

  • The Vineyards at Dodson

Massachusetts

  • Bully Boy Distillers
  • Dole and Bailey
  • Ioka Valley Farm
  • Island Creek Oysters
  • M.S. Walker
  • Martignetti Companies
  • Mucci Wine Imports
  • Notch Brewery
  • Olmstead Wine Co.
  • Oz Wine Company
  • Ruby Wines Inc
  • Sid Wainer & Son
  • Toast
  • Wulfs Seafood

Michigan

  • Fisher and Paykel
  • Gordon Food Service

Minnesota

  • Bang Brewing
  • Bergin Fruit & Nut Company
  • Capital Beverage Sales
  • Cargill
  • Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy
  • Cook of Crocus Hill
  • Ferndale Farm & Market
  • Fresh Energy
  • Green Lands Blue Waters
  • Growing Edge Facilitation
  • Land Stewardship Project
  • Libation Project
  • Main Street Alliance
  • Mainstreet Project
  • Mill City Farmers Market
  • Minnesota Cooks
  • Minnesota Farmers Union
  • Minnesota Farmers Union/Birchwood Cafe Alliance
  • Nice Ride Minnesota
  • Nice Ride MN; a nonprofit mobility manager
  • Northwestern Fruit Company
  • Peace Coffee
  • Peterson Craft Meats
  • Redesign
  • Renewing the Countryside
  • Riverbend Farm
  • Summit Brewing Co
  • The Food Building
  • The Food Group (formerly Emergency Food Shelf Network)
  • The Good Acre
  • The Wine Company
  • The Women's Environmental Institute
  • University of Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture

Mississippi

  • Middleton Farms
  • Sanderson Farms

New Jersey

  • Bodegas Riojanas USA Corp
  • D’Artagnan
  • Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors

New York

  • Bieler Pere et Fils
  • Bowler Wine
  • Dreyfus Ashby & Co
  • Elenteny Imports
  • ForkLift Foods
  • Four Fat Fowl
  • Hilltown Country Smokehouse
  • Jenny & Francois Selections
  • Jetro - Restaurant Depot
  • New York Distillery
  • Ora king salmon
  • Polaner Selections
  • Rosenthal Wine Merchant
  • Schatzi Wines
  • Skurnik Wines
  • Snuk Foods
  • The Vine CollectiveNorth Carolina
  • JP Bourgeois
  • Regal Wine Imports

North Dakota

  • Agraria Restaurants
  • North Dakota Farmers Union

Ohio

  • Cutting Edge SelectionsOregon
  • Andrew Rich Wines
  • Brandborg Vineyard and Winery
  • Day Wines
  • Friends of Family Farmers
  • Good Coffee
  • Hope Well Wine
  • J.K. Carriere Wines
  • Jackalope Wines
  • Nasty Woman Wines
  • Oregon Tilth
  • Portland Wine Co
  • Project M Wines
  • Smith Berry Barn
  • Star Mooring Farm
  • Tillamook
  • Travel Oregon
  • Walter Scott Wines
  • Willamette Valley Wineries Association

Rhode Island

  • PaCa Imports LLC

South Carolina

  • Abundant Seafood
  • Anson Mills
  • Grassroots Wine
  • High Wire Distilling Co.
  • Limehouse Produce
  • Manchester Farms
  • Pharaoh LLC
  • Storey Farms
  • Vertical RootsWashington
  • Drifters Fish
  • Winebow

Washington, D.C.

  • Distilled Spirits Council of the United States
  • Organic Trade Association
  • Rural & Agriculture Council of America.
  • Seafood Harvesters of America
  • United States Cattlemen’s Association
  • Wine & Wholesale Spirits of America

Wisconsin

  • ULINE