Independent Operators Demand To Make Restaurant Relief A Priority

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Thursday: New Data from Independent Restaurants to Demonstrate Urgent Need for Relief Ahead of Budget Markup

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House Small Business Committee Uniquely Positioned to Include Restaurant Grant Program in Budget Reconciliation Package in Thursday Morning Mark-up


Make Restaurant Relief A Priority

WHAT: Independent restaurant operators from across the country join a press conference hosted by the Independent Restaurant Coalition, urging members of the House Small Business Committee to make restaurant relief a priority during a Thursday Morning markup of the budget reconciliation package. The Independent Restaurant Coalition will also unveil new data demonstrating that the situation facing restaurants and bars is dire.

WHO: Speakers at the rally include:

  • Erika Polmar, Executive Director of the Independent Restaurant Coalition.
  • Tyler Akin, Chef-Owner of Stock in Philadelphia, PA; Chef-Partner of Le Cavelier in Wilmington, Delaware; IRC co-founder.
  • Rawlston Williams, Owner of The Food Sermon in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Lindsay Tusk, Co-owner of Cotogna, Quince, and Verjus in San Francisco, California.
  • Chris Shepherd, Chef/Owner of Underbelly Hospitality in Houston, Texas.

WHEN: THURSDAY, September 9, at 9:30 a.m. ET // 6:30 a.m PT.

WHERE: Click here to register and you will receive a custom link to join.

The House Small Business Committee will be marking up the budget reconciliation package, which currently does not include additional funding for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). The Small Business Administration closed the RRF application portal, leaving 177,000 restaurants and bars that applied for relief out in the cold. Restaurants and bars lost over $280 billion during the pandemic yet only received $28.6 billion in targeted relief. These businesses continue to deal with pandemic-induced headwinds — over the past year, the prices of beef and veal (40.3%), grains (87.0%), and shortening and cooking oil (39.5%) have surged. This relief will give many of the nation’s 500,000 independent restaurants and bars the support they need to survive the pandemic as well as the 16 million people they support to survive the pandemic.

The Delta variant now threatens to push more restaurants and bars into permanent closure. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 90,000 restaurants and bars have closed. There are now dining restrictions in roughly a third of the states in the country. Restaurant reservations have plummeted in states across the nation; for instance in New York (49%), Pennsylvania (49%), Maryland (47%), Alabama (12%), and North Carolina (18%) bookings are far below their 2019 levels. According to a recent survey, 60% of adults changed their dining habits due to the Delta variant.

Support for providing restaurants and bars the relief they need is continuing to grow. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) recently moved by unanimous consent to add $48 billion to the RRF, invoking fierce speeches on the Senate floor from Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). The Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act is gaining rapid bipartisan support as 214 members of the House of Representatives have come out in support of the bill, including most recently Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14), as well as 15 members of the Senate. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1) and Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) introduced the legislation in both chambers of Congress, which provides $60 billion in additional funding for the RRF.