To-Go Booze Survives, RRF Needs an IV

To-go alcohol is good to go through 2025 and the campaign to re-up the RRF is in full swing. And, oh yeah, hiring's still a thing, right?

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Illustration of shiny silver syringe and needle with dollar bills rolled up inside.
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund isn't dead yet, but it does need a serious cash injection. / Copyright: Frank Peters

Colorado legislators came to their senses this week and finally compromised on a proposal that initially seemed like a shoo-in: Extending to-go booze from restaurants. You’ll be able to keep on sending six-packs out the door for four more years (down from the originally proposed five). Restaurants will be able to sell a liter of hard liquor, two bottles of wine, and two six-packs per order, so…enough to slake the thirst of two traumatized post-pandemic adults?

There’s also a virtual Denver-area job fair happening on June 16, so if (lolz) you’re looking for staff, sign up by June 14 so you can man your your (virtual) booth at the same time you’re prepping for lunch service. It’s job recruitment and shadowing in one easy step. The push is also on for a cash injection to the almost-immediately-upon-launch depleted Restaurant Revitalization Fund; the SBA says it needs at least $50 million just to fund already submitted applications.

And finally, you managed to hire staff who actually showed up more than few days in a row—and your longtime line cook hasn’t yet deserted the ship for an extra $1.50 per hour across the street. They’re the cream of the crop! Now, how to keep them? A webinar on mental health and psychological safety is slated for later this month. Even if you think it’s a bunch of hippie-dippie woo, consider it an investment in retaining those precious, precious employees your competition is intent on poaching.

The following information comes from the Colorado Restaurant Association’s June 8 and 9 newsletters. Sign up to receive the full versions here.

HB 1027 Extending Alcohol To Go For Four Years Passes Out of the Legislature, On Its Way to Governor Polis

On June 8, the last day of the 2021 Colorado legislative session, state officials passed and sent to Governor Polis House Bill 21-1027, which extends the ability for restaurants to serve alcohol via takeout and delivery until July 1, 2025. Over the last few weeks of the legislative session, there were several hurdles for the bill to overcome in the Senate, but in the end, we reached a deal with Senate leadership to extend this important allowance for four more years. The bill is not perfect, but restaurants will be able to take advantage of this revenue stream for at least four more years, which will greatly aid in post-pandemic recovery.

The bill includes the following:

  • Extends alcohol for takeout and delivery from a restaurant until July 1, 2025
  • Prohibits a restaurant from selling alcohol for takeout and delivery between the hours of midnight and 7 a.m.
  • After the pandemic State of Emergency Order issued by the Governor is lifted, the amount of alcohol restaurants can sell for takeout and delivery, per order, will be increased to:
    • One liter of spirits
    • Two 750-ml bottles of wine
    • Two six-packs of beer
  • Cities can create outdoor communal dining areas where two or more restaurants are allowed to attach their liquor licenses and then sell and serve alcohol in that outdoor dining area.

This bill still needs to be signed by Governor Polis to become law, but we expect the Governor to sign soon as his office helped lobby in support of the legislation.

Thank you to everyone who reached out to their elected officials during recent weeks asking them to support this legislation. CRA members, non-member Colorado restaurants, and members of the public sent 1,034 letters to members of the Colorado House of Representatives and Senate asking for House Bill 21-1027 to pass—a record turnout! Without those efforts communicating the importance of this legislation to the Colorado legislature, this bill would have been far diminished—if it passed at all.

Metro Denver Retail Partnership Virtual Career Fair: Register by June 14

Metro Denver Retail Partnership and the City of Englewood are hosting a virtual career fair on Wednesday, June 16, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., and all area restaurants are welcome to participate.

The first 30 minutes of the event is reserved for veteran attendees. The virtual doors will open to the general public promptly at 8:30 a.m.

Here are some of the benefits when you participate in this career fair:

  • Designed to bridge the gap between technology and human interaction
  • A user friendly interface that takes only minutes to create your booth
  • The communication platform allows video, chat, and resume uploads
  • Customize your own unique virtual booth with your logo once and be ready for future fairs
  • Provide a link to your open positions and job seekers can see opportunities and apply to them directly on your career page
  • If you have used this platform in the past, simply login and update your open positions
  • Short employer training video is attached

Help market your participation more effectively on our A/DWorks! Website,  LinkedIn, and Twitter pages by completing your booth set up by June 14, 2021!

Metro Denver Retail Partnership (Retail, Hospitality, Lodging, and Food & Beverage) brings employers, training providers, government, and not-for-profit entities together to work on issues and priorities that will address their pain points and promote talent development.

For more information, please contact Co-Chair, Tina Castro, Concessions International, 303-342-6736 (tcastro@cintl.com) or Associate Co-Chair, Kim Tranter, CHLA University, 720.369.8709 (kim@chla.com).

$60 Billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act Introduced: Help Us Get it Passed!

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) has been an effective recovery tool for the restaurant industry, but the Small Business Administration (SBA) estimates that they need at least an additional $50 billion just to fund the RRF applications submitted before the application portal was closed.

The National Restaurant Association has been in close contact with the sponsors of the RESTAURANTS Act, and we are pleased to announce that tomorrow, the RRF Replenishment Act will be introduced. This new legislation will direct $60 billion in funding to the SBA, allowing them to complete the mission and provide sorely needed recovery dollars for the restaurant industry. 

The work of these sponsors, Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), has been critical, but they need our help. This bill will not be brought to the floor for debate unless there is broad bipartisan support. Congress heard our voice when they created the RRF—they need to hear from us again to ensure it receives more funding. Many here in Washington think that the return to indoor dining means that the restaurants will be fully back to normal within a few months. The truth is that this industry is incredibly vulnerable and faces a long path to recovery. We need this bill.

If you care about the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and agree that the struggles of the restaurant industry warrant continued federal support, we urge you to weigh in with your representatives in Washington. Add your voice, share your perspective, and together we can move Congress to support our favorite local restaurants.

Webinar From Ad Cucina: A Full Plate: Workplace Mental Health & Psychological Safety in Restaurants

It is industry standard to have a first-aid kit and fire extinguisher in kitchens and restaurants to protect everyone’s physical health and safety. But what about mental health and psychological safety?

Neglecting workplace mental health in restaurants leads to high turnover costs and staff burnout. Psychologically safe restaurants have high-performing teams with increased employee retention, productivity, creativity, and innovation.

Learn more about what psychological safety is, why it is important in restaurants, and how to foster it. Co-host Hassel Aviles, Executive Director of Not 9 to 5 and Principal at Reunion Inc., will moderate with a guest therapist and industry veteran, Laura Green, LPC and Founder of Healthy Pour.

Thursday, June 24 | 1 p.m. | Register here.

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

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