Battle Plan

By David Helbraun
on May 15, 2020 in

READER’S BATTLE PLAN

Today’s Q of the D was for you to send me your ideas for how the City, State, and Federal governments can help us out. 

Here are your thoughts:
 In the food industry we are facing a crisis of distribution. Farmers are dumping milk and ranchers are euthanizing pigs because they are set up to service restaurants and institutional foodservice, not grocery stores. Most restaurants are not going to be able to afford opening at 25% or even 50% capacity, without financial support. Meanwhile, millions of people are going without enough food to eat.

On Fresh Air on NPR last weekend Chef Tom Colicchio proposed a simple solution: just give restaurants 75% of their revenue for the rest of the year. It’s so straightforward. Just give us 75% of what would have been our revenue and restaurants retain their employees and pay their rent and utilities. Landlords can then pay their mortgages and property taxesRestaurants buy from their vendors, saving those businesses and those jobs – farmers, cheese makers, fishermen, truck drivers – then restaurants make food for their few customers and food for those in need and the on front lines

Just pay out something like $385 billion – that’s nationally – and the unemployment rate falls by 25%, thousands of small businesses and farms are saved and millions of people are fed. For the entirety of New York State the total cost for the rest of 2020 would be about $30 billion. Not nothing, but compared to the trillions that are getting thrown around these days it sounds like a bargain. And we’re not propping up one industry; we’re propping up the entire food supply chain, plus real estate, government and banking. And so much less red tape than the PPP and other nightmarish “solutions” that have come from D.C.

– Brian Keyser, Casellula


#1 is the stabilization fund being put forth by the IRC. This industry needs a bailout. Period. (Federal level)

Get rid of open container laws. It’s all fine and good to have sidewalks and streets open but if someone is caught drinking one of my to go cocktails on the street, that’s technically bye bye liquor license.

86 processing fees for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021. I mean COME ON.

Have the city bailout the United postal service by having them be our delivery people. Free delivery! Think of it!

Have the city pay our kitchens to serve food for hospitals and other front line workers 

-Ivy Mix, Leyenda


It would be HUGE if the city would close off the streets to cars and let us put tables on the street!  

– Jeffrey LaPadula, P.S. Kitchen


While it’s not a game changer for everyone, it would help some of us a lot if they simplified and expedited the outdoor seating permitting; if you could just fill out a simple one-page application online for emergency outdoor cafe seating, appropriate to the size of your business and sidewalk, and be approved by checking all the right boxes, it would make reopening this summer/fall much smoother in the face of likely hyper-limited seating. I looked at the sidewalk permitting requirements today and by what felt like the 30th thing i needed to obtain i got to the part about needing architects plans——I’m trying to put two or three two-top tables outside a coffee shop, we don’t need an architect to draw up plans for this. No lengthy waiting periods, no fees, no architects, just the OK to put tables outside your store that don’t block the pedestrian traffic is a fair response to having to cut indoor seating in half. 

– Matt Winn, Molasses Books


Utilize police barricades to divert pedestrians to the street in front of a restaurant. Should be a quick online application with an indication of the restaurant address and the width of your storefront. You wouldn’t block the building entrance of course, and I’m sure there could be more requirements like the hour you’d have to shut that section down and the hours you could operate it. The Permit could be posted on the barricade itself from both sides, indicating the entity name, and hours of operation. Pretty similar to the one they have now.

-Yaniv Cohen, Westville


The government should give banks, who give landlords mortgage relief upon proof of giving their tenants relief of any rent due during the outbreak, some sort of bailout. A pure domino effect of relief. 

– John Pilatos, Johny’s Luncheonette NYC  


List to save restaurants:

1. Minimum 50% off rent or rent based on percentage of net sales. 8% cap ? 10% cap
2. Restaurant owners keep 50% of sales tax
3. Eliminate all city fees until we are back to normal. 
Ex: NYC liquor license tax return, Fire Department Permit Fees etc
4.  Eliminate fees and automatically renewal the next expiring  liquor license 
5. The first DOH inspection will not incur fees just recommendations that need to be corrected in 30 days. Fees can resume after initial inspection 
6. Clear uniform guidelines for PPP
7.  100% forgiveness of PPP if used for labor, rent and utilities
8. Eliminate all taxes and fees from utilities
9. Outdoor seating for every restaurant with all permits and fees waived
10. Restaurants with narrow sidewalks  to automatically have streets closed to auto traffic and have tables set on the street
11. City/State to provide free masks 
12. Free hand sanitizer to all restaurants thats being produced by NY State
13. Free gloves for restaurant employees
14. To go liquor in closed container without food purchase
15. 50% off water bills
16. Insurance to pay business interruption
17. 50% off workers comp

– Dennis Chrysanthopoulos, Snack Taverna


The city wide cap on fees from 3rd party delivery operators needs to be mandated by the governor to include the entire state of New York. 

Relief for commercial landlords with the caveat that they renegotiate leases with their tenants and make allowances for the “new normal” we face in the age of decreased cover counts and table turns. The amount of relief they receive being contingent to what concessions they make with their tenants.

A bailout specific to the industry that employs the most amount of private sector jobs lost due to COVID 19 – hospitality.

Is it impossible to ask Congress to pass a clean bill that addresses our specific needs, not another 1,100 page bill rife with pork to pay for everything other than what the bill is supposed to address??? We are asking for a fighting chance NOT changing the country to become a Socialist Utopia dependent on the government for our livelihood!

– John Conrad, Sawasdee Thai Elevated


1. RENT needs to be 50% (or less depends by capacity of operations) until December at least.
2. Sales taxes 50% from march 2020
3. Insurance costs 25% (they actually should be sued)
4. Tips have to go to the owners or at least give us the possibility to share equally with kitchen staff and with everyone in the right percentage of duties.
-customers now are leaving a very big tips because they love their restaurant and want to help them so that money should also be for the RESTAURANT and not just for employees.

– Emiliano Cammardella, Flora
 
If Starbucks needs the re-leveling then how can we have-nots ever become viable without some kind better understanding from our up tops?

-insert link to “S” words for four hundred please Trebek

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/starbucks-demands-landlords-lower-its-rent-for-the-next-year-citing-staggering-economic-crisis-of-coronavirus/

– Wilson Johnson, Le bonheur est dans la cuisine


Rant Department:

Stop sending me f&*!ing emails entitled ‘as you start to re-open, here’s how we can help’ like you’re addressing a business on the verge of normalcy. It’s the most tone deaf and unaware email targeting ever. Just say what you mean – I’m trying to capitalize on this coronavirus by pretending to help small businesses, while sending out a generic blanket email to everyone. Bastards.

– Jaime Felber, Paradise Hospitality


I am tired of getting email after email from 3rd party tech companies wanting us to “participate” or my personal favorite “partner up with them” to offer 10%, 20%, 30% off the price of orders so they can bring us new customers. Or these ridiculous delivery or advertising percentages that new and current tech delivery companies want to charge. It is just getting to a point where this is getting ridiculous, there is NO EXTRA MONEY ANYMORE! The goal is to lose as little money as possible each month and these assholes are still trying to get money out of us. We do ALL the work, expose ourselves to all the health risks and they have the audacity to ask for something for doing nothing. If we all go belly up those tech companies are done too, because they are NOT NECESSARY!

– Stephanie Lempert, Meadowsweet


Ray of Hope Department:

Finally spoke to my landy today. Hoping for the best, but really expecting the worst. I had paid half the rent for March, and nothing else, since we closed on March 16 like everyone else. Well to cut to the chase, he surprised me by saying that if I was intending to stay in the space he would waive all rent until I got reopened again, whenever that was, just pay the water bill. Once i was up and running, we would continue as we were prior, with no back rent or money owed. Truly one of the good guys.

 -Nicki Camp, Blackthorn 51


As Jerry and the boys would sing: “One way or another, this darkness got to give”.


Good night and good weekend,

David
Written By David Helbraun
David Helbraun is the Founding Partner and Chairman of the firm. He is a lifelong entrepreneur who has been running successful businesses in New York City for years.

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