What we're prioritizing right now:
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.
- Worker safety and livelihood protection
- Restaurants were the top employer of New Yorkers, ahead of schools, general medicine and surgical hospitals, with an estimated 1 employee per 200 sq ft. One half of all NYC restaurant workers are women; 55% of NYC restaurant workers are minorities; NYC restaurants employ the city’s youngest employees. The recovery of New York’s restaurants needs to be focused on keeping our people safe and protected. That means rewriting the rules of our industry in a way that recognizes the efforts of all workers equally, which is contrary to how the legislation around pay is currently written.
- Through adjustments to payment structures, regulations which allocate tips per position, ensuring accessible and cost efficient covid19 testing for our teams, we'll be able to actualize this goal of ensuring worker safety and protecting the livelihoods of our teams.
- Improving financial health and business longevity
- We must provide restaurants protection and support to withstand significant decreases in sales for what could be a long period of time. The solutions we must implement will come in the form of industry-specific relief, rebates, and regulations targeting our largest costs: labor and real estate, which will make the restaurant businesses much healthier in the long run.
- Creatively thinking about how to reduce restaurant upfront and overhead costs and protecting owners appropriately from private legal action, we'll be able to secure a financial runway for New York restaurants that makes a future for these businesses possible.
- Restoring consumer confidence
- We must restore the confidence of all New Yorkers: for owners to reopen their doors, for employees to come to work, for diners to eat out.
- Working with relevant government agencies and offices, we will develop a safety plan and messaging to accompany, that is clear, fool proof and effective, and backed by independent, scientific data.
- STATE LIQUOR AUTHORITY
- ROAR has helped secure the extension of SLA provisions which have allowed restaurants with specific, on-premise licenses adapt to sell liquor, beer + wine off-premise in order to develop another revenue stream, keeping them afloat while outdoor/indoor dining revenues remain extremely low
- We’ve also been working with New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, who has proposed a bill which would extend the off-premise sale of liquor, beer and wine for restaurants two years beyond the end of New York’s state of emergency, which would give restaurants a much needed road back to stability after COVID19 gets under control.
- OUTDOOR DINING
- Originally, outdoor dining was slated to be part of NYCs Phase 3 of reopening. With our lobbyist Kasirer, the help of key City agencies (Department of Transportation, Department of Consumer Affairs and the Department of Small Business Services) and the support of Council Member Antonio Reynoso of District 34, who focuses on land use and transportation in NYC, we successfully secured outdoor dining to be part of Phase 2 reopening.
- We’re continuing to work with the aforementioned groups and lawmakers to remedy any issues related to enforcement and implementation.
- WAGE REFORM
- Using this watershed moment, brought on by COVID19 and other key conversations happening right now, ROAR is looking forward to writing and advocating for labor reforms that make our industry more equitable and just.
- Many labor reforms being discussed at the state and city levels currently are being proposed under the assumption that surcharges would cover all costs. The issue is, at this moment surcharges are illegal in NYC; we’re one of the last cities in the country where this is the case. That’s why ROAR is focusing on the legalization of surcharges at the city level so that the subsequent labor reform is actually economically feasible.
- SAFETY GUIDELINES AND PPE
- Laser focused on the health and safety of our teams and guests, we’ve been in conversations with the City Council Health Committee Chair, Mark Levine, to discuss what our industry needs by way of safety guidelines, access to rapid testing, and adequate, affordable PPE for all restaurant employees. We’ve been able to secure free distribution of PPE by NYC Emergency Management for our teams, which is a notable first step; but there is much work to be done here.
- PERSONAL LIABILITY
- After the Council passed Intro. 1932 to temporarily prohibit the enforcement of personal liability provisions in commercial leases or rental agreements involving a COVID-19 impacted tenant, ROAR testified at the Mayor’s bill-signing. ROAR was one of only two organizations personally invited by the Mayor’s office to join.