Restaurant Industry Fighting For Survival

27September 2020

https://youtu.be/C_-ZBExG8ig

00:00:02
this morning as lawmakers negotiate their next move some businesses well they can’t afford to wait bloomberg reporting that nearly one-third of u.s restaurants could close permanently by the end of the year hitting every state every city and every neighborhood zoom in on new york city where more than 2 800 small businesses have already done so with more than 80 percent of restaurants and bars not paying their full rent in the month of june this comes along with a new plea from the independent restaurant coalition urging congress to pass the restaurant act which would create a 120 billion dollar grant to help keep independent restaurants alive joining us now to discuss two individuals who have felt this impact firsthand and are trying to lead the effort to change things tom colicchio chef and owner of crafted hospitality and a founding member of the independent restaurant coalition and gabriel stuhlman ceo of happy cooking hospitality tom you warned us of this four months ago and ppp didn’t serve the restaurant and bar industry and here we are just personally as the owner of six restaurants how are you doing um well you know not great uh two of those restaurants are open one has 17 seats out front outside and the other we are operating at half capacity indoors and with some additional seating outside uh all in all we’re probably at about 17 of our of our business right now 17 1-7 yeah gabriel when we spoke back in may when everything was shut down you were worried you owned nine restaurants in new york city where do you stand now um for one stephanie thank you for having me back on the program it’s good to be here with you uh from when we last spoke things were pretty horrible where they stand today is unfortunately not much better we currently have five of our nine restaurants barely operating they are operating not much better than what tom reported we’re looking at about 20 percent of the revenue that we used to make before aside from that i would say the reality of that bloomberg report that you just shared with everybody is a hundred percent accurate i think the probability of us likely permanently closing multiple restaurants in our company still remains extremely high operating at 17 or 20 percent you you just can’t afford to stay open tom you believe the restaurants act could save thousands of independent restaurants how sure it can well it’s 120 billion dollars spread over all independent restaurants um essentially it’s income replacement um it will cover the period from february 15th to january 1 2021. um it’ll enable us to uh pay uh not only staff which ppp didn’t rent uh but also pay suppliers uh also to pay for supplies to uh like like pte for for the staff um any kind of uh structure that you need to build uh to make your restaurant safe and so it’s the best shot that we have at uh at getting restaurants open um and you know i think the reports are correct i mean the genus beer foundation did a survey where 85 of the respondents said they probably wouldn’t reopen um and so we’re looking at millions and millions of jobs disappearing and so we believe that that restaurants are uh perfectly situated to actually take those stimulus dollars and get them back out because 95 cents to 90 cents of every dollar we take in goes out so if you’re talking stimulus restaurants are a great place to put that um also restaurant industry has been specifically one of the hardest hit industries i think 25 of all unemployment is from the restaurant industry and after they were forced to shut down and not only were forced to shut down opening up into a a market where the pandemic is still raging um is it doesn’t make for uh uh you know a great business outlook and so we’re looking at problems for a long time and quite frankly all we’re looking for is to make sure that we actually have capital to get restaurants back open so we can hire all our staff back and get through this period and and and be there once we’re on the other side of this gabriel there’s a narrative out there that restaurant owners like yourselves could be up and running in a big way and making all sorts of money but you can’t hire your employees back because they’re making too much money on unemployment is that an actual challenge that you face the no that is not an actual challenge that we face i would say uh are there some sure is that a massive minority yes i would say some of the real challenges that i’m actually facing as i have personally been making calls to reach out to people is people are still concerned about coming to work there are people that still have health concerns about what is it like to work in a restaurant there are also a lot of people that i think a narrative that’s not accurately being reported on that have permanently left new york uh it has come to my surprise how often we made calls out and people said no i left i’m gone new york’s not for me anymore and i think that this is something that’s a reality you know uh i i think one of the largest issues that i think the government has been absolutely inept and failed at addressing over the last four and a half months this pandemic is this existential question about rent owed versus not owed and the reality is how can you sit there in one hand and say that we are not allowed and we are not permitted to be open and then on the other hand still say that we owe rent the reality that the purpose of our leases is absolutely been frustrated to me is black and white and clear but yet our government still fails to address this situation and we’re four and a half months in and these kind of conversations are what are forcing me as a small business owner in very tough predicaments with property owners and landlords that i have where they’re pushing me up against the wall and saying either pay me or we’re terminating this lease hey there i’m chris hayes from msnbc thanks for watching msnbc on youtube if you want to keep up to date with the videos we’re putting out you can click subscribe just below me or click over on this list to see lots of other great videos >>> THIS MORNING, AS LAWMAKERS >>> THIS MORNING, AS LAWMAKERS NEGOTIATE THEIR NEXT MOVE, SOME BUSINESSES, THEY CAN’T AFFORD TO WAIT. BLOOMBERG REPORTING THAT NEARLY ONE-THIRD OF U.S. RESTAURANTS COULD CLOSE PERMANENTLY BY THE END OF THE YEAR HITTING EVERY STATE, EVERY CITY AND EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD. ZOOM IN ON NEW YORK CITY. MORE THAN 2,800 SMALL BUSINESSES HAVE ALREADY DONE SO WITH MORE THAN 80% OF RESTAURANTS AND BARS NOT PAYING THEIR FULL RENT IN THE MONTH OF JUNE. THIS COMES WITH A NEWBLY FROM THE INDEPENDENT RESTAURANT COALITION URGING CONGRESS TO PASS THE RESTAURANT ACT WHICH WOULD CREATE $120 BILLION GRANT TO HELP KEEP INDEPENDENT RESTAURANTS ALIVE. JOINING US TO DISCUSS, TWO INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE FELT THIS IMPACT FIRSTHAND AND ARE TRYING TO LEAD THE EFFORT TO CHANGE THINGS. TOM KALIKIO AND FOUNDING MEMBER OF THE INDEPENDENT RESTAURANT COALITION AND GABRIELLE STOOLMAN, CEO OF HAPPY COOKING HOSPITALITY.
00:01:08
TOM, YOU WARNED US OF THIS FOUR MONTHS AGO AND PPP DIDN’T SERVE THE RESTAURANT AND BAR INDUSTRY, AND HERE WE ARE. JUST PERSONALLY, AS THE OWNER OF SIX RESTAURANTS, HOW ARE YOU DOING? >> WELL, YOU KNOW, NOT GREAT. TWO OF THOSE RESTAURANTS ARE OPEN. ONE HAS 17 SEATS OUT FRONT, OUTSIDE.
00:01:28
AND THE OTHER WE ARE OPERATING AT HALF CAPACITY INDOORS WITH SOME ADDITIONAL SEATING OUTSIDE.
00:01:36
ALL IN ALL WE’RE PROBABLY AT ABOUT 17% OF OUR BUSINESS RIGHT NOW. >> 17? 1-7? >> YEP. 1-7, UH-HUH. >> GABRIEL, WHEN WE SPOKE BACK IN MAY WHEN EVERYTHING WAS SHUT DOWN, YOU WERE WORRIED. YOU OWN NINE RESTAURANTS IN NEW YORK CITY. WHERE DO YOU STAND NOW? >> FOR ONE, STEPHANIE, THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME BACK ON THE PROGRAM.
00:02:01
GOOD TO BE HERE WITH YOU. FROM WHEN WE LAST SPOKE, THINGS WERE PRETTY HORRIBLE. WHERE THEY STAND TODAY IS, UNFORTUNATELY, NOT MUCH BETTER. WE CURRENTLY HAVE FIVE OF OUR NINE RESTAURANTS BARELY OPERATING. THEY ARE OPERATING, NOT MUCH BETTER THAN WHAT TOM REPORTED. WE ARE LOOKING AT ABOUT 20% OF THE REVENUE THAT WE USED TO MAKE BEFORE.
00:02:24
ASIDE FROM THAT, I WOULD SAY THE REALITY OF THAT BLOOMBERG REPORT YOU SHARED WITH EVERYBODY IS 100% ACCURATE. I THINK THE PROBABILITY OF US LIKELY PERMANENTLY CLOSING MULT PELL RESTAURANTS IN OUR COMPANY STILL REMAINS EXTREMELY HIGH. >> OPERATING AT 17% OR 20%, YOU JUST CAN’T AFFORD TO STAY OPEN. TOM, YOU BELIEVE THE RESTAURANTS ACT COULD SAVE THOUSANDS OF INDEPENDENT RESTAURANTS. HOW? >> IT CAN.
00:02:55
IT’S $120 BILLION SPREAD OVER ALL INDEPENDENT RESTAURANTS. ESSENTIALLY IT’S INCOME REPLACEMENT.
00:03:01
IT WILL COVER THE PERIOD FROM FEBRUARY 15th TO JANUARY 1, 2021.
00:03:07
IT WILL ENABLE US TO PAY, NOT ONLY STAFF, WHICH PPP DIDN’T BUT ALSO TO PAY FOR SUPPLIES TO — LIKE PPE FOR THE STAFF AND ANY KIND OF STRUCTURES THAT YOU NEED TO BUILD TO MAKE YOUR RESTAURANT SAFE.
00:03:24
SO IT’S THE BEST SHOT THAT WE HAVE AT GETTING RESTAURANTS OPEN.
00:03:32
I THINK THE REPORTS ARE CORRECT. THEY DID A SURVEY WHERE 85% OF RESPONDENTS SAID THEY PROBABLY WOULDN’T REOPEN. SO WE’RE LOOKING AT MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF JOBS DISAPPEARING. AND SO WE BELIEVE THAT RESTAURANTS ARE PERFECTLY SITUATED TO ACTUALLY TAKE THE STIMULUS DOLLARS AND GET THEM BACK OUT BECAUSE 95 CENTS AND 90 CENTS OF EVERY DOLLAR WE TAKE IN GOES OUT. IF YOU’RE TALKING STIMULUS, RESTAURANTS ARE A GREAT PLACE TO PUT THAT. ALSO, THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY HAS BEEN SPECIFICALLY ONE OF THE HARDEST HIT INDUSTRIES. 25% OF UNEMPLOYMENT IS FROM THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY. THEY WERE FORCED TO SHUT DOWN. NOT ONLY FORCED TO SHUT DOWN BUT OPENING UP INTO A MARKET WHERE THE PANDEMIC IS STILL RAGING IS — DOESN’T MAKE FOR, YOU KNOW, A GREAT BUSINESS OUTLOOK. AND SO WE’RE LOOKING AT PROBLEMS FOR A LONG TIME AND, QUITE FRANKLY, ALL WE’RE LOOKING FOR IS TO MAKE SURE WE ACTUALLY HAVE CAPITAL TO GET RESTAURANTS BACK OPEN SO WE CAN HIRE ALL OUR STAFF BACK AND GET THROUGH THE PERIOD AND BE THERE ONCE WE’RE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS. >> GABRIEL, THERE’S A NARRATIVE OUT THERE THAT RESTAURANT OWNERS LIKE YOURSELVES COULD BE UP AND RUNNING IN A BIG WAY AND MAKING ALL SORTS OF MONEY, BUT YOU CAN’T HIRE YOUR EMPLOYEES BACK BECAUSE THEY’RE MAKING TOO MUCH MONEY ON UNEMPLOYMENT.
00:04:47
IS THAT AN ACTUAL CHALLENGE THAT YOU FACE? >> NO. THAT IS NOT AN ACTUAL CHALLENGE THAT WE FACE. I WOULD SAY ARE THERE SOME? SURE. IS THAT A MASSIVE MINORITY? YES. I WOULD SAY SOME OF THE REAL CHALLENGES THAT I’M ACTUALLY FACING AS I HAVE PERSONALLY BEEN MAKING CALLS TO REACH OUT TO PEOPLE IS PEOPLE ARE STILL CONCERNED ABOUT COMING TO WORK. THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT STILL HAVE HEALTH CONCERNS ABOUT WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WORK IN A RESTAURANT? THERE ARE ALSO A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT I THINK A NARRATIVE THAT’S NOT ACCURATELY BEING REPORTED ON THAT HAVE PERMANENTLY LEFT NEW YORK. IT HAS COME TO MY SURPRISE HOW OFTEN WE MADE CALLS OUT AND PEOPLE SAID, NO, I LEFT. I’M GONE. NEW YORK IS NOT FOR ME ANYMORE. AND I THINK THAT THIS IS SOMETHING THAT’S A REALITY.
00:05:35
YOU KNOW, I THINK ONE OF THE LARGEST ISSUES THAT I THINK THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN ABSOLUTELY INEPT AND FAILED AT ADDRESSING OVER THE LAST 4 1/2 MONTHS OF THIS PANDEMIC IS THIS EXISTENTIAL QUESTION ABOUT RENT OWED VERSUS NOT OWED. AND THE REALITY IS, HOW CAN YOU SIT THERE ON ONE HAND AND SAY THAT WE ARE NOT ALLOWED, AND WE ARE NOT PERMITTED TO BE OPEN AND THEN ON THE OTHER HAND STILL SAY THAT WE OWE RENT? THE REALITY THAT THE PURPOSE OF OUR LEASES HAS ABSOLUTELY BEEN FRUSTRATING TO ME IS CLEAR BUT WE ARE 4 1/2 MONTHS IN AND THESE KIND OF CONVERSATIONS ARE WHAT ARE FORCING ME AS A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER IN VERY TOUGH PREDICAMENTS WITH PROPERTY OWNERS AND LANDLORDS THAT I

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