5 things: restaurant sales and customer sentiment improve in February
Each week Restaurant Hospitality brings together five stories that impact independent restaurant operations you may have missed. Here’s your list for the week of March 22:
- Untitled Union Square Hospitality Group restaurant closes its doors for good
Untitled, the ten-year-old Union Square Hospitality Group restaurant next to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City has closed its doors for good, according to a USHG spokesperson.
The Whitney Museum is opening the Whitney CafÃ©, a quick-service pop-up run by Union Square Events in the meantime. It’s unclear how long the pop-up will last, but Union Square Events will continue to be the catering agency for all The Whitney events.
âFor now, at least, we’ve concluded that what visitors to the museum and the broader Meatpacking district really want is a quick and relaxed dining experience,â said USHG CEO Danny Meyer, in a statement. “It’s bittersweet to say goodbye to Untitled, which has now been closed for a year, but I’m also encouraged by our continued partnership with The Whitney, working together to evolve our culinary offerings in a way that best serves the museum and its neighborhood. “
Read more: USHG Untitled Restaurant at the Whitney Closes for Good
- Governor of Virginia signs bill extending take-out cocktails
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam on Friday signed HB 1879 extending take-out cocktails until July 1, 2022. Restaurants will be able to legally sell mixed drinks and wine for off-premises consumption until that date in Virginia.
âWith the expansion of take-out cocktails, Virginia hotel businesses will continue to have a vital economic lifeline during the pandemic,â said David Wojnar, US senior vice president Distilled Spirits Council, in a statement. âRestaurants, bars and distilleries in Virginia were among the hardest hit during COVID-19, and take-out cocktails helped many of them survive. We thank Governor Northam for extending take-out cocktails and supporting local businesses as they struggle to cope with the harsh economic impacts of the pandemic. “
More than 30 states and the District of Columbia have allowed restaurants and bars to sell take-out cocktails. Iowa, Ohio and Kentucky, as well as DC, have so far made take-out cocktails permanent, while others are extending the rules of the COVID era, such as Virginia.
Read the invoice here.
- Charleston Restaurateur Sam Mustafa Expands Management Team For Growth
Sam Mustafa, CEO and Founder of Charleston Hospitality Group in Charleston, South Carolina, has announced the hiring of three new executives as he prepares for the growth of the Toast All Day concept. The future 17-unit brand announced nationwide franchising and a growth team made up of Joe Gillie, CFO; Rikki Vaughn, vice president of franchising; and Omar Caton, vice president of operations. These appointments mark the first expansion of the Charleston Hospitality Group board since 2016.
Charleston Hospitality Group is a multi-concept group made up of the Toast All Day breakfast concept; Mediterranean Concept Tabbuli (currently closed for renovation); American Concepts of Casual Dining John King Grill and Bar, Eli’s Table; Queology two-unit barbecue; and the HonkeyTonk Saloon country bar.
- New study of tip workers in upstate New York shows pay gap
One Fair Wage, a lobby group campaigning for a minimum wage increase, released a study highlighting the discrimination women face in the workplace, especially among tip waiters. The new report analyzes more than 300,000 service workers in upstate New York, showing that, on average, women earn 75% of what men earn in the service industry.
The report states: âBecause employees in tip restaurants are 63% female and employees in non-tip restaurants are 42% female, the lower pay for tip employees amounts to gender pay inequality in the workplace. the restaurant industry, perpetuating the gender pay gap and increasing poverty rates.
There is also data on the increase in sexual and maskal harassment affecting women and minorities in the industry and having an impact on tips below minimum wage.
âNew York State restaurant workers report experiencing higher rates of sexual harassment during the pandemic, including a widespread and potentially deadly new phenomenon of male customers asking women to remove their masks so that they can judge their appearance and subsequently their advice on that basis – forcing workers to risk their lives at a time when workers are reporting tips are already down 50-75%, âexplained Saru Jayaraman, president of One Fair Wage.
Read the Full Report: It’s Time to End the Lower Wage: Brief in Upstate New York on Advised Minimum Wage as a Gender Issue
- Restaurant sales in February continue to show signs of improvement
Restaurant data firm Black Box Intelligence released its monthly restaurant sales figures starting in February, and there’s reason to be hopeful. As winter begins to thaw across the country, restaurants are seeing improved indoor and outdoor sales, along with improved customer sentiment. While sales figures are still negative year over year, they are slowly returning to normal.
As a result of winter storms during the month, comparable store sales were down more than 40% year-on-year in Texas in the third week of the month; sales fell nearly 30% in the Southwest region that same week. But sales for the rest of the month reflect an improvement in performance over the last months of 2020.
Read more: Black Box Intelligence: Restaurants See Signs of Rebound in February