Rebuilding Better

Colorado Restaurant Association's Sonia Riggs looks ahead.

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Smiling white woman with brown hair wearing multicolored embroidered jacket standing in front of a barback.
Courtesy Sonia Riggs

After 15 painful months of pandemic restrictions and near-constant uncertainty, the sun is beginning to shine a bit brighter on the restaurant community in Colorado—and across the nation. Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants are being dispersed. Hospitality workers are getting vaccinated. Indoor dining capacity is back, and summer patio season promises even more al fresco dining. The energy and sense of community we’ve all been missing is being restored.

The next few years are primed for a restaurant renaissance, a revival of the industry into which you’ve poured your blood, sweat, tears, and, more recently, hand sanitizer. It’s time to rebuild restaurants the way they should be—as safe, equitable, and gratifying spaces for workers and guests alike, where communities are strengthened and connections are forged over food and drink. 

The Colorado restaurant industry banded together like never before during the pandemic crisis, feeding its furloughed workers and first responders, sharing information and resources, and speaking out on issues critical to its survival. The Colorado Restaurant Association was right there with you. We raised your collective voice to a fever pitch, advocating to legislators and officials at local, state, and federal levels on everything from to-go alcohol to sales tax holidays and securing crucial grants and funding for restaurants and their workers. 

It’s time to rebuild restaurants the way they should be—as safe, equitable, and gratifying spaces for workers and guests alike.

In the coming months, our Government Affairs team will continue to advocate for you on all of the above and more. Federally, replenishing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to ensure that flexible grant money continues to flow is at the top of the CRA’s docket. On the state level, we’ll continue to push legislators to reimagine the tip credit to create better wage equity between tipped and non-tipped workers. On a county and city level, we’re working to make expanded outdoor patios a seasonal allowance so you can count on the increased capacity those spaces provide. 

We’ve also heard from operators across the state that hiring and retention are enormous challenges right now—we’re here to help. We recently launched a dedicated restaurant jobs board that you can find at corestaurantjobs.com; go there to post your open positions and attract new talent. Our communication team is bolstering that site with a robust public relations campaign celebrating the myriad benefits of joining the hospitality industry, which we all know can be a vibrant and deeply rewarding career path for both front- and back-of-house professionals. 

We must continue to speak up—loudly and with a unified voice—to continue to build on the momentum of the past year. Please share your concerns, hopes, and feedback with us as we shape our initiatives; the best way to do that is to respond to our monthly impact surveys. (Sign up to receive our emails at corestaurant.org.) Working together, we can make it through to a full restaurant recovery, stronger and better than ever.

Talk to us! Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to askus@diningout.com

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