Back of House Staff | January 19, 2021, 02:32 PM CST
A version of this article appeared on 12/8/20 in the Back of House Newsletter, a free weekly newsletter from Back of House with news, resources, and more curated by our team. It goes out to thousands of restaurant operators each Tuesday morning. Subscribe today to get our coverage of the restaurant technology space directly to your inbox!
The Industry Appetizer
A quick snack on some headlines that caught our editors' eyes this week.
PPP rolls out this week: On Monday, the U.S. Small Business Administration began doling out $284 billion in new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding to restaurants and small businesses. The second-wave includes major updates like allowing borrowers to spend the money over an eight-to-24-week period of their choosing (rather upon receipt like before.) That makes it more flexible than before, when funds were stipulated for specific items like payroll, rent, utilities. Eater's Ryan Sutton has a great breakdown of what restaurants need to know. (WSJ / Eater)
Restaurant & bar employment plummets: The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a new employment report Friday stating 372,000 bar & restaurant jobs were lost in December 2020—a staggering fall from the month prior. "The bottom fell out in December," wrote Restaurant.org. The industry finished the year nearly 2.5M jobs below its pre-pandemic levels, per Bureau of Labor Statistics data. (National Restaurant Association)
Biden backs $15 minimum wage, more F&B relief: President-elect Joe Biden announced Friday he is pushing to expand pandemic relief efforts for restaurants and bars including additional stimulus money and minimum wage increases for employees. According to his statement, "Restaurants, bars and the hospitality industry have been slammed by the virus. We will direct relief to these businesses and others that have been hit hardest. We owe them that support to help them get through the other side of this crisis." (Food & Wine)
The restaurant software, hardware, and solutions stories we've been chewing on lately.
DoorDash fee frustrations: Last year in an effort to help restaurants during the pandemic, DoorDash capped its fees at 15% for several of its major delivery cities including Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, Cleveland; Seattle, and Oakland among others. However, those fees were ultimately passed to the consumers, increasing them from $1-2 per order, and are now labeled according to the city (i.e. "Chicago Fee" or "Philadelphia Fee"). While according to DoorDash this fee addition is imperative to maintain the quality of service and compensate their team accordingly, diners ain't happy. (Restaurant Business)
NY takes aim at delivery apps: Also in delivery app news, New York is cracking down on when they add restaurants without written permission. The new bill, introduced by the New York state legislature last week, states a $500 fine will be issued for every day a restaurant remains listed on a third-party app after requesting removal. This follows the implementation of a similar rule in California, where thousands of unauthorized listings were "raptured" from 3PD platforms at the top of the year. (Gothamist / Eater SF)
Fees in "Focus": Focus Brands—the parent company of several quick-service restaurants including Jamba and McAlister’s Deli—quietly instituted a 35-cent surcharge to all digital orders last week. The new “digital transaction fee” will apply to all pickup and delivery orders made online. Consumers took to social media to express their displeasure, but expect more firms with scale to try moves like this to drive revenue through digital channels as the pandemic winds on. (Restaurant Business)
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