Originally Published : July 15, 2021

Dear HL Clients and Friends,

Yoohoo!  Hello Dearly Elected? Have you forgotten about us?  The restaurant industry that you were supposed to “save” with all that federal money?  Yeah, the RRF, the very same program that you were so eager to take credit for as a shining example of how you fight for small businesses and the little guys and gals and that you reference to brand yourself a person of the people.

Well, you’ve screwed us again.  D’s and R’s and Joey B. and all of you.  You teased us to appease us but you came up waaaay short and we are not pleased.  You bungled the first round of funding and left us hanging like a rotting prosciutto as we continue to suffer and worry about the same damn problems that have built up and compounded over a year and a half of hospitality hell.  And where are you now you CPAC kooks and you soft-boiled Dems?  Are you anything more than 80’s ill-fitting suits and bad haircuts and bullshit focus group talking points?  Do any of you actually give a crap about the people that you are supposed to represent?

Well, lovely legislators, here’s how you can turn this whole thing around and redeem yourselves. Take a break from your prime time appearances on Rachel and Tucker and Don and Sean and do the real work of legislating for a change. Focus people, focus.  Restaurants and bars are dying over here and just because we may seem busy because we are fuller, we are running on fumes and we are falling apart, and you have no idea what’s under the hood of this collective jalopy.  Go ahead, show you care and take a peek.

You will find decimated, overworked and stressed out FOH and BOH staffs and management.  No, we can’t fix that by offering more money or signing bonuses because NOBODY is responding to job postings. And this is not unskilled labor after all. You can’t just hire someone off the street to cook your overpriced stupid surf and turf or Cobb salad that you like to nibble on at your favorite beltway bistro. You have to hire people who know what they are doing, and they flat out don’t want the jobs anymore. Maybe they will come back when unemployment benefits run out or maybe not but you in DC created this situation and y’all need to fix it.

Dig a little deeper into the guts of the engine and you will find crushing debt that bogs us down and keeps us awake at night and makes us wonder why we ever thought the American Dream of small business ownership that you all love to conjure and exploit was ever a worthwhile pursuit.  Restaurant owners are going broke. Margins are slim to non-existent at this point and most restaurants are open and running just to stay in business. It’s mentally, physically and financially unhealthy for all involved and its unsustainable unless we get the money you promised us. 

So, what can you do to fix it our Dearly Elected?  My goodness, the solution is so easy. Get off your asses and get behind the bipartisan bill in the House that proposes an additional $60 Billion to be added to the RRF.  Is that so controversial?  What exactly is the goddamn hold up? We need the money and we need it now.  Without it, there will be a reckoning and it won’t be pretty and it will have a devastating effect on the entire industry and the country and you will have nobody to blame but you.

And what can we in the industry do to wake our DC dolts out of their martini malaise?  Speak up. Get loud. Apply pressure. It’s the only way.  Join the Independent Restaurant Coalition this Monday as they kick off a week of action to get some movement on this issue.  Here is a link to their webinar “Rally to Replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund” taking place on Monday, July 19th at 12:00:  IRC Rally

It’s now or never folks.  See you all there and let’s get this done!

Good night,