The NYC Hospitality Alliance was proud that our executive director, Andrew Rigie mc'ed the Save Small Businesses Rally yesterday on the steps of City Hall.
A massive crowd of small business owners, chambers of commerce, association representatives, and nearly a dozen elected officials from across the five boroughs called on Mayor de Blasio and all elected officials to cut the red tape. They chanted "Enough is Enough!" They demanded a reduction in regulatory burdens, fines and lawsuits. They expressed legitimate concerns about the mayor's proposed, two-week paid vacation bill, an unfunded mandate that would require nearly all small businesses to provide up to two-weeks paid vacation to their workers, in addition to the week of paid sick leave they're already required to receive.
Our President Melba Wilson of Melba's Restaurant, and Board Member Tren'ness Woods-Black of Sylvia's Harlem Restaurant both gave powerful speeches, and our counsel Rob Bookman rallied the crowd. Many members were in attendance.
Then, today the NYC Hospitality Alliance was back at City Hall testifying on two different issues impacting restaurants and nightlife establishments.
The first hearing was on legislation that would completely overhaul the commercial carting (garbage) system by assigning one carter to one of multiple zones around the city. The purpose of the proposal is to reduce congestion and truck pollution - both laudable goals. We testified that a single carter, monopoly zone system eliminates competition, lowers service standards, provides little protection for small businesses. A monopoly zone also invites a scenario where a restaurants’ trash piles up on the sidewalk due to poor service and ultimately create issues with community boards when businesses go in front of them to renew their liquor licenses and sidewalk cafes. The city can reduce congestion and pollution by allowing 3 – 5 carters per zone, establishing service standards, and implementing a rate cap to protect small businesses and communities.
The second hearing focused on restaurant delivery platform oversight. In addition to the NYC Hospitality Alliance, restaurant owners and other organizations expressed concerns about their experiences with delivery companies, and executives fromGrubHub and Uber testified too. Council Member Mark Gjonaj explained the hearing as follows:
“Estimated to be upwards of a $200 billion market in the U.S., food delivery apps have dramatically changed the way customers place food delivery orders and interact with local restaurants. As the market has grown, stakeholders are starting to grapple with major issues such as significant fee/commission rates charged to restaurants, the method used to collect and store private customer data and order history and, the possibility of undocumented workers being exploited. The Committee will review these issues and others during the hearing.”
The NYC Hospitality Alliance is fighting around the clock to ensure the restaurant and nightlife industry has a strong voice in the halls of government!