We're happy to announce that Mayor de Blasio's administration created the NYC Food and Beverage Council. The Alliance's executive director, Andrew Rigie, and many of the organization's members were appointed to the council.
The council's mission is to "Cultivate continued growth for robust business operations and fulfilling careers throughout NYC's food service industry."
On September 13th, the council held it's first meeting at City Hall. The meeting was well attended by leaders of the de Blasio administration and the restaurant industry.
Two major topics of discussion were:
1. Developing a restaurant industry training and job placement program to address the labor shortage that many businesses struggle with.
2. Regulatory reforms with a focus on ways to address increased labor, rents and other operating costs. We suggested many reforms and much of the conversation focused on Food & Beverage Council members explaining to city representatives why it is important for the Department of Consumer Affairs to change their position and allow restaurants the option of adding a clearly disclosed surcharge (administrative fee) to menus. As you know, this has been a priority for members of The Alliance as we explained in this op-ed that ran in Crain's NY.
Overall the meeting was very positive and we are pleased that the de Blasio administration is focusing their attention on issues important to the NYC hospitality industry. Addressing workforce challenges and regulatory reforms - such as the surcharge issue - are priorities for The Alliance, so we appreciate that the city is taking extra effort to work collaboratively with the industry to address them. While it's still too early to know what will result from this council, we are optimistic and look forward to bringing you updates...hopefully exciting ones!
A message from Michel Mroue, Founding Director of the NYC Food & Beverage Council:
"My hope [for the NYC Food and Beverage Council] is to be a supportive soundboard for the changing landscape and demands of NYC restaurants and businesses, as well as their respective employees. Our roster of restaurateurs, chefs, and operators are here to support the industry through their expertise in the industry and business leadership."