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Restaurants are the Beating Heart of New York City.

Restaurants not only make New York City the most exciting culinary city in the world, they are also one of this city's most important economic engines. In 2019, NYC had 23,650 restaurant establishments, which provided 317,800 jobs, paid $10.7 billion in total wages citywide and delivered nearly $27 billion in taxable sales. That's why we are advocating for the people who make our restaurants so magnificent— the cooks, and dishwashers, waiters, and bussers, runners and chefs who cook and serve, every night. 

We're incredibly proud that in a year of crisis we've been able to accomplish so much! 

  • First ever vaccine bus for restaurant staff: In partnership with NYC, we set up the first vaccine bus to travel to communities hardest hit by COVID and have vaccinated over $50,000 New Yorkers to date! 

  • Support for more than 6500 restaurant workers through 3M+ in cash grants: In partnership with the Robin Hood Foundation, we raised over $3,000,000 dollars to support over 5,000 laid off NYC restaurant workers facing incredible economic hardship as a result of the pandemic. 

  • Influenced the passage of key pandemic-related legislation: With our lobbying firm Kasirer, we successfully advocated for to-go alcohol sales, extended outdoor dining, ensured that restaurants could not be held personally liable under provisions in commercial leases or rental agreements, and pushed for PPP and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. 

That’s an impressive start. But our work is just beginning.

Looking ahead, our team is already on the ground advocating for you, strategizing for transformative change to support the people who make the restaurant industry so magnificent. We are incredibly excited to share our plans and priorities for the future!

  • The Restaurant Equity Project: We have drafted and are advocating for a transformative legislative labor agenda called The Restaurant Equity Project, which will ensure worker equity and secure a more supported and sustainable future for independent New York City restaurants.

  • The Restaurant Health and Wellness Project: Our groundbreaking Restaurant Health and Wellness Project will provide a holistic suite of Health and Wellness Services to support New York City’s amazing community of restaurant workers. The vision is to offer deeply discounted (or free) health care, mental health care, financial planning services, and much more. 

  • Government Advocacy at City and State Levels: We are pushing for a legislative session in Albany this summer to extend to-go alcohol sales, and we are in talks with the Mayor’s office to rethink and restructure DOH health inspections and other administrative fines. 

  • Critical Conversations: We will be hosting a series of industry-related conversations at the ACE Hotel in the fall, and will be hosting quarterly “listening and learning” calls for membership to have an open forum for current concerns and for our leadership to share updates on our advocacy and programming. 

We know that this has been a year of hardship and grief, and that many of you have and still are suffering financially and personally. We want you to know this: we are in this together. We are on the ground fighting for this industry and its people every day.  We've got your back.