Inflation, labor and delta variant hit restaurant homeowners, Goldman Sachs information finds

Restaurants across the county have been looking forward to the economy reopening in recent months as Covid vaccines continued to spread and pent-up consumer demand was felt.

But headwinds from supply chain interruptions to labor shortages and rising costs hit the industry as the contagious Delta variant tarnishes hopes of a return to normal.

Small business owners in the food, restaurant and hospitality sectors are more concerned than most about the ongoing disruption of the pandemic, according to new data from Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Business Voices program. The data shows that 84% of owners in these sectors are concerned about the impact of rising Covid-19 infection rates on businesses, compared to 75% of the entire small business population.

Almost all of them saw an increase in operating costs, with 93% believing that inflationary pressures have increased since June, negatively affecting finances.

The data subset of 117 food, restaurant and hospitality owners came from a broader survey of 1,145 participants in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program earlier this month.

The numbers underscore the continuing pressures restaurants face even in an economy recovering from the worst of the damage caused by the coronavirus. While the introduction of vaccines and looser public health restrictions have brought the industry closer to normal, challenges remain as restaurant owners look to fall.

Ruby Bugarin, who runs Margaritas and Pepe restaurants in the greater Los Angeles area, said both the availability of goods and the higher cost hit her business. Products like crabs are harder to find, the cost of chicken and pork has increased by more than $ 1 a pound, and the prices of other goods have increased.

“In the past two or three weeks, the price of avocados has gone from about $ 40 a box to $ 85 a box. So that’s more than double, ”said Bugarin, a member of the Small Business Voices program. “We can’t do the same to our customers – we raise prices once or twice a year.”

Labor costs are also rising in her two restaurants with a total of 63 employees. Bugarin said she would like to add a chef or two at each location, but instead pays overtime weekly to her current staff.

Restaurant, hospitality and hospitality owners like Bugarin are also more affected by work problems than in the wider small business community. The data shows that 79% of these business owners say the challenges for employees have worsened since the pandemic, compared with 64% overall.

Recent data from the National Federation of Independent Business underscores the labor law issues that weigh on the optimism of small businesses. The vacancies in August were above the historic 48-year average for the second month in a row.

“In June, despite inflation and despite labor challenges, 67% of small businesses said they believed the US is on the right track,” said Joe Wall, national director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices. “That number is now 38%. The delta variant is sure to be the # 1 issue in terms of sentiment change, and then you pile on it, inflation dynamics and the challenges facing the workforce.”

With the pandemic taxing restaurant operators, Goldman’s data shows that nearly 40% of food and hospitality companies say they expect they’ll need to take out a loan or line of credit for their business this fall or winter. This corresponds to 29% of the companies as a whole.

The Small Business Administration recently announced a revision of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program for businesses. The credit limit will be increased to $ 2 million and recipients will be allowed to use the funds to prepay business debts, which allows restaurants to use the money on business debts and more.

“At a time when small business restaurants still have extreme working capital needs, these changes will improve the prospects for thousands of operators and improve the economic prospects for communities large and small,” said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public policy at the National Restaurant Association said in a statement. The group worked with the SBA on the new small business terms.

Beyond these changes, small business and restaurant owners and advocates have urged lawmakers to top up the $ 28.6 billion restaurant revitalization fund. It granted grants to the industry but was quickly exhausted due to high demand.

“We were able to distribute it to over 100,000 companies across the country, but demand was 2.5 times as much,” SBA administrator Isabel Guzman told CNBC about the RRF last month. “There are still restaurants, food and beverage companies that need support. We know they have been hardest hit, and will often be the last to reopen in communities, but they define so many of our main streets.I can’t say exactly what the actions of Congress will be, but the SBA would be ready to take these Manage programs quickly, efficiently and fairly. “

Girls, veteran and minority restaurant house owners lose COVID reduction cash after lawsuit

Money intended for women, minority and veteran restaurants was taken away after a group of white men filed charges of discrimination.

SEATTLE – A federal aid program designed to help women, minorities and experienced restaurant owners survive the pandemic backfired on them.

It was all Chelley Bassett could do to keep the doors of her beloved Murphy’s pub open during the pandemic.

“It was really tough,” she said. “We did everything to stay open. We reduced the staff to myself, my business partner, the chef and a cook.”

With her money from the paycheck protection program, Bassett petitioned the federal agency Restaurant Revitalization Fund and received $ 89,000.

She thought it was a godsend that would help keep the drinks flowing at the Seattle pub like they have for the past 40 years.

“I was so happy because it was the last little boost we needed to keep things going,” said Bassett.

But that hope soon turned into fear. As quickly as the federal government approved this money, it took it away again.

The funds gave priority to restaurants owned by women, minorities and veterans in the application process. Some white male-run businesses in Tennessee and Texas alleged discrimination. You sued and won.

Now Bassett and about 3,000 other restaurants have nothing.

“I wanted to advertise. I don’t have the money to do it now,” said Bassett. “We want to give people a raise. We can’t give a raise. What should I do?”

CONNECTED: Some restaurants are struggling to find staff as Washington allows the return to full capacity

Anthony Anton, who heads the Washington Hospitality Association, says the pandemic left the average restaurant $ 150,000 in debt.

Anton urges people to get Congress to redeem all of these grants.

“The court’s decision is the court’s decision,” he said. “There’s nothing we can do about it. Without the return of the Restaurant Relief Fund, we’ll see more restaurants close. That’s just the truth. Debt is pretty high for many small businesses and there is only a limited amount that you can do keep it up.”

A bipartisan law has been introduced in the country’s capital to fund any restaurants that have asked for help. It remains unclear whether this is possible.

Back at Murphy’s, Bassett and all these other women, minorities, and veterans find themselves at the bottom of the line if Congress decides to run another round of funding.

“We are the industry that is hurting the most and we survived through fighting and now this is happening,” she says. “That is not right.”

Leisure trade enterprise house owners regulate to lifted COVID-19 precautions

MARQUETTE, Michigan (WLUC) – The entertainment industry has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but business owners in the industry are already seeing the effects of the end of Michigan’s indoor capacity limitation and mask mandate.

Edge of Reality VR Arcade Owner Robert Shirlin said the past year has been difficult.

“We’re still not quite down to our 2019 numbers, but we’re seeing an upward trend. We’re starting to see people come in now. They’re still worried about masks and safety, ”he said.

No masks are required in the arcade, but Shirlin said additional precautions are still being taken.

“Not only do we clean everything with Clorox disinfectant, we also use UVC light to ensure that all of our equipment is clean and ready for the next customer.”

Reservations for individuals and groups are still being accepted, but walk-ins are allowed if space is available.

In the parish of Marquette, Superior entertainment center Manager and mechanic Terry Kirkum said summer is the bowling alley’s slow season, but visitor numbers have been increasing throughout the week and safety is still the center’s top priority.

“We don’t need masks anymore. It is up to the customer whether they want to wear one or not. We still sanitize every single bowling ball, all video games. We disinfect everything we can to keep our customers as safe as possible, ”said Kirkum.

The bowling alley is currently understaffed, so limited opening times still apply.

“We are currently only open from Tuesday to Friday. We can make exceptions for the weekend if it rains and has bad weather or if we have enough lead time for a larger group, ”said Kirkum.

Both the bowling alley and Edge of Reality recommend reserving or calling in advance if possible.

Copyright 2021 WLUC. All rights reserved.

House owners of Underground, Worldwide Monetary Establishments Sentenced for Working Unlicensed Cash Transmitting Enterprise | USAO-SDCA

U.S. Assistant Attorneys Daniel Silva (619) 546-9713 and Mark W. Pletcher (619) 546-9714


SAN DIEGO – Lei Zhang, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was sentenced yesterday by federal court to 15 months in prison and forfeited $ 150,000 for running an unlicensed money transfer business.

Zhang is believed to be the first person in the United States to be convicted of his role in developing a new form of illegal underground financial institution that transfers money between the United States and China, thereby enforcing domestic and foreign money transfer laws and reporting evades, including United including State Anti-Money Laundering Controls and Chinese Capital Flight Controls.

As stated in court documents, Zhang collected US dollars (in cash) from various third parties in the United States and delivered that money to a customer, usually a high roller player from China, who had no easy access to cash in the US States due to capital controls that limit the amount of Chinese currency that a person can convert into foreign currency to $ 50,000 per year. After receiving the US dollars, the player transfers the equivalent of the Chinese yuan (using a banking app) from the customer’s Chinese bank account to a Chinese bank account named by Defendant Zhang. In order to facilitate these transactions, Zhang was paid a commission based on the illegally transferred monetary value.

Zhang also admitted that he was regularly introduced to customers by casino hosts who were trying to improve casino customers’ gambling. By connecting money hungry gamblers in the United States to Zhang’s illegal money transfer businesses, the casinos increased the domestic cash game of their China-based high-roller customers. All a player needed was a mobile device with remote access to a China-based bank account. As a result, Zhang managed to transfer and convert electronic funds in China into hard currencies in the United States while bypassing the obstacles imposed by both China’s capital controls and anti-money laundering controls imposed on all US financial institutions. were imposed. Casino hosts often received a cut on Zhang’s commission for their efforts.

“The pioneering work these investigators have done in identifying and tracking down this new form of illicit money transfer cannot be overstated,” said acting US Attorney Randy Grossman. “Prosecuting global money laundering is a priority for US attorneys.”

Special agents from Homeland Security Investigations, the IRS Criminal Investigation Las Vegas Financial Crime Task Force, and the Drug Enforcement Administration led the investigation into Zhang’s operations.

ACCUSED file number 20-CR-370-WQH

Lei Zhang Las Vegas, NV Age: 41


Operating an Unlicensed Money Transfer Business – Title 18, USC, Section 1960

Maximum sentence: Five years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000


Homeland Security Investigations

IRS Criminal Investigation Las Vegas Financial Crime Task Force

Drug Enforcement Administration

Prohibition-style cocktails and stay music: Moody’s Lounge house owners wish to deliver one thing new | Enterprise

You can find Prohibition-era Moody’s Lounge, a cocktail lounge, and music club at 546 Main St. by looking for the neon orange Dal Segno sign – it looks like a percent sign overlapped by a slanted letter “S” .

If you get a dal segno while playing music, you should circle back and play the section again.

“And that’s exactly what we want people to do when they see us,” said co-founder Logan Moody. “Come back and play with us again.”

Moody’s Lounge has been brewing in the minds of Moody and Jim Simons for years. The two met around the age of 5 when their fathers were in the same band – JT and The Big Dogs. Moody and Simons have reconnected and have been close friends for about 12 years.

Moody has always had a vision for this restaurant. An upscale place that reminds you of Prohibition-era speakeasies in both aesthetic and beverage forms – an old fashioned, a Manhattan – and a comfortable place to listen to live music.

But they kicked the can down the street for a couple of years, waiting for the right time.

“Logan and I always talked about opening a high-end cocktail bar, and we finally made it. It was his vision and I was able to use my experience to help cut the red tape, ”said Simons, who is also Vice President of Sales at Enstrom’s Candies. “Logan’s like a brother to me and it’s great to be able to do this together.”

Then in the winter a square opened on Main Street and apparently on a whim they approached 546 Main.

The lounge is elegant and elegant. They have modern black chairs around small tables to sit and listen to music. If you want more space, you can relax on the orange sofa.

“It sounds selfish, but I wanted to open up a place to hang out,” said Moody. “This won’t be a noisy place with sports and it won’t be a dance club. These companies definitely have their place, but it’s not us. We are something that Grand Junction wants but doesn’t have. “

The endeavor also has an additional meaning between the two friends.

Moody’s Lounge combines their shared experience in the food industry and their love of music. Simons is also a co-owner of Enstrom’s. Meanwhile, Moody has worked in the local restaurant scene for years, often as a bartender, in places like Enzo’s Ristorante Italiano, Kannah Creek, and Ella’s Blues Room.

They also learned music from their fathers. Simons plays the saxophone and Moody, who loves everything from the nu metal band Tool to jazz, is a drummer.

They hope to get JT and the Big Dogs on stage as soon as possible after it opens. Simons and Moody were hoping to get the lounge off to a smooth start this past weekend and are hoping it can open sometime in June.

“It’s a small room so we can’t put a rock band up there. And we won’t have a tool up there either – although I wouldn’t say no if asked, ”said Moody. “It won’t just be a jazz club. We’ll have a lot of chill music there. “

People really want to experience something new, said Simons, and he thinks they can do it.

“This will be a place for anyone looking for a place with good cocktails and good music,” said Moody. “I like to be up there and play with people, but I look forward to serving drinks to everyone. It sounds cheesy, but I love doing it for people. “

“Cash Fest” to demystify funding choices for small enterprise house owners

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – Mobile small business owners looking to boost their efforts have a chance at Money Fest. Often the biggest challenge for small business owners is financing. The Money Festival takes place this Thursday, a free, all-day symposium dedicated to demystifying money.

“Money is intimidating to anyone who nobody likes to talk about. We’re not going to go into your specific finances at this event, but it will help you know how to look at your finances and prepare for where you are going to go, ”said Jessica Wofford, program coordinator for the innovation portal. A common question among small business owners is how to get funding.

“Many are unsure of what type of funding is right for what they’re doing, so we wanted to spend a day educating the business community about the funding that is out there and what is appropriate for them,” said Wofford . Some startups are eager to move up to the next level.

“They’re funded initially by family members, friends, or founders. After that, they need to find a way to free up their assets and funding,” said Darrell Randle, vice president of small business development for the Chamber of Commerce for Mobile. The event is a partnership between Mobile’s innovation portal, Fairhope Hatch, and Mobile Area’s Chamber of Commerce – an opportunity to learn about next steps. While growth is on the agenda, there is a visitor limit and space is limited. For more information and registration, click here.

Bar house owners, Metropolis Corridor in talks over Tuscaloosa leisure areas

With the A-Day weekend crowds more than two weeks in the past, a cooler approach is taken to minimize violence while keeping the cash deals alive.

From town hall to bartenders, almost everyone has recently said that productive discussions are taking place that would lead to appropriate crime-fighting solutions while maintaining thriving entertainment areas.

However, it is not known where to go from here.

“If you have any good ideas, bring them to us,” District 4 city councilor Lee Busby told local bar and shop owners last week. “I lay awake about it at night and don’t know the answer.

“In fact, I’m not even entirely sure I know the problem as I suspect the problem has multiple dimensions.”

In a conversation that is expected to continue during Tuesday’s meeting of the City Council’s Administrative and Policy Committee, local bar and restaurant owners have said that this problem has multiple dimensions, some of which may never arise again.

And here, less than a month away from an A-Day weekend The police responded to 271 calls across the cityis too early to know what the best solutions are.

“Everyone is still learning what happened that night,” said Brandon Owens, executive director of the Alabama Beverage Licensees Association. “It was just a perfect storm of things to get the Strip to pack.

“I don’t think we’ll ever see a Magic City Classic again in our lives during a COVID on A-Day weekend.”

A couple of wild nights

Concerns arose after the A-Day weekend, which began for the Tuscaloosa Police Department long before the annual battle began.

The Thursday before the A-Day game brought one Gunfire from officers on Skyland Boulevard East and delivered on Friday an ax attack on McFarland Boulevard.

But on the evening of April 17th, after the crowds gathered for the University of Alabama’s annual A-Day Intra-Squad scrimmage hit the Strip, there were scores of visitors coming after attending the annual Magic came from Birmingham City Classic match between Alabama State University and Alabama A&M University.

Those crowds got big – so big that Tuscaloosa Police Chief Brent Blankley ordered several patrol cars to be brought in to disperse the crowds, which had grown to overwhelming and potentially dangerous sizes – but in the end no one was injured.

“Fortunately, we haven’t had any (violent) incidents on the Strip,” Blankley said last month, “but it could have ended very differently.”

But when these incidents occurred within weeks of a shooting in a Temerson Square bar, injuring five people and arresting two for attempted murder, city officials are now trying to act.

CONNECTED::After arrests on A-Day weekend, those responsible at Tuscaloosa are considering limiting bar hours and alcohol sales

A week after the passionate talk about limiting bar hours, reducing alcohol-serving times, and the idea of ​​shutting down businesses not worth the tax dollars spent on protecting them, the conversations take on a more productive tone.

“We want to take a holistic approach – not an approach between us and them – to solve this problem because we are all together,” said Walt Maddox, Mayor of Tuscaloosa.

A recent meeting between City Hall and the business owners along the Strip created some consensus.

Owens was part of that meeting and said that everyone involved apparently wanted the same thing: a safer entertainment area without hurting people who have invested so much in their own businesses.

And what exactly that is still has to be found.

“I think it’s too early,” Owens said of possible answers. “I think we’re all still at the stage where we’re talking about solutions.”

Some things that everyone seems to agree on are improved lighting and a reduction in foliage to allow for greater lines of sight.

However, other measures such as shortening the opening times of the bar or closing the streets to vehicle traffic do not meet with such enthusiasm.

“We are all committed to improving the safety and wellbeing of all guests and visitors,” said Jay Jarrett, co-owner of the Twelve25 bar and nightclub on the Strip. “But I don’t agree with the reduction in working hours.”

These measures would have a direct impact on the roughly 50 people Twelve25 employs either full or part time, from college students to adults with families.

But that conversation with the mayor and city officials was productive, Jarrett said.

“It’s been a productive start,” said Jarrett. “It brought up some ideas that I think would help any business.”

Things like improving communication between the bar and the business owners through a new or reformed business association that could provide real-time updates between these businesses about bad actors or other issues.

Away from campus

Beyond the Strip, bar owners are also open to ideas on how to improve conditions. The problem is, they said, there isn’t one solution that would work for everyone.

Cliff Clark, the owner of the now-closed Roxy’s Bar, which was shot at last month, said he understands that everyone wants crime out of these areas, but hesitates to believe the bars can do it.

However, he agrees that some changes need to be made to meet the anticipated crowd of college football fans returning to Bryant Denny Stadium this fall.

“I think everyone needs to realize that bar opening times aren’t a crime,” said Clark, who is transforming Roxy’s into a bar called “Decades,” a club that focuses on music and themes that range from the 1980s to 2000s. “We talk a lot about a lot of things, but there is usually no tracking of a lot of things.

“We just have to keep talking and find solutions. There is no answer to anything. “

And outside the Temerson Square and Strip boroughs is The Alcove, where owner Chad Smith said a better police presence would go further than anything suggested.

And while he, too, agrees that A-Day created this “perfect storm” of conditions that is unlikely to repeat itself, he is concerned that those who want bars and similar businesses are moving further and further away from the University’s campus Alabama to be removed, so will Take this opportunity to advance your goals.

This is unfair for everyone involved if some business owners are gradually decoupling from the insolvency of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I hope we can all take a step back here and look at a bigger picture and find some level-headed solutions, rather than just making more regulations and policy choices that target a particular industry,” said Smith, who also owns. Loosa Brews right on University Boulevard in downtown. “It’s just a busy time in everyone’s life, and we don’t need to make it more stressful by challenging more business owners after trying to get back on our feet after a really, really tough year.”

Reach Jason Morton at

Restaurant homeowners who misplaced cash throughout pandemic can apply for federal assist

Businesses, from food trucks and bars to bakeries and wineries, can apply for grants of up to $ 10 million


Posted: May 3, 2021 / 5:11 AM EDT
Updated: May 3, 2021 / 5:13 AM EDT

File Photo (WKBN)

(WKBN) – As of Monday, restaurants can reach for an economic “lifebuoy”.

Applications are now being accepted from restaurant owners who have had a significant loss of revenue due to the pandemic.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund has $ 28 billion to help them. This money is part of the $ 1.9 trillion aid package.

Businesses, from food trucks and bars to bakeries and wineries, can apply for grants of up to $ 10 million. Apply, Visit the Small Business Administration website.

The SBA will give priority to women, veterans and disadvantaged people for the first three weeks.

VPSO officers warn enterprise house owners to look at for counterfeit cash

VERMILION PARISH, (KLFY) – The Vermilion Parish Sheriffs Office is issuing a public notice calling local residents and business owners on the lookout for counterfeit cash.

This came after a business owner deposited money into his bank but was notified that one of the bills was a scam.

Eddie Langlinais of the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office said the case is being investigated.

The circumstances make it difficult to find a suspect.

“There were several people who brought in cash that day and the gentlemen did not register who gave him the money for these purposes,” said Langlinais. “It’s almost impossible to find out who gave him this fake $ 100 currency.”

LPSS expands food distribution for the remainder of the academic year

Langlinais says such cases don’t happen often in the community, but business owners should be aware of this. There are many ways to determine if it is counterfeit.

“Hold the currency out,” he said. “You can look at the strip to see if it is the real currency or not.”

Businesses can also use scanners to determine if someone is trying to pay for something with counterfeit money.

“They are not 100% reliable, but they are better than nothing.”

Secret Service offers one PDF to download The name “Know Your Money” refers to important functions with which you can determine whether an invoice is real or false.

Some Abilene residents, enterprise homeowners excited for potential downtown leisure district | KTAB

Posted: Apr 6, 2021 / 5:03 PM CDT
Updated: April 6, 2021 / 5:10 p.m. CDT

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB / KRBC) – Abilene could get an open container entertainment district in the city center That would allow adults to walk from restaurants to shops with an alcoholic drink in hand.

Some Abilene residents and business owners say they wholeheartedly support this.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Kayla Rollins, owner of the K. Ellis Boutique.

“It’s exciting to revitalize downtown and bring new life to it,” said Brenna Camp, a local resident.

Abilene City Council approves the task force to consider a proposal that would allow people to carry alcohol around downtown

“As long as residents are responsible for it and throw away their trash,” said Jonathan Dempsey, local resident.

“We’re excited to have the chance to see more people downtown,” said Jessica Adams, owner of Vagabond Pizza.

The idea of ​​a downtown entertainment district began after two businessmen reached out to Councilor Weldon Hurt.

“Anything a citizen brings up, good or bad, whatever we have to do, I generally bring it up to the city administrator,” Hurt said.

The proposal at the Abilene City Council meeting could allow alcohol to be carried while walking downtown

After talking to Robert Hanna, the manager of Abilene City, they decided to take the idea to the council.

“First and foremost, we don’t encourage people to get drunk,” said Hurt.

Instead, the aim is to make the city center more attractive and more accessible for residents and tourists.

“It really doesn’t cost the city anything, and I still think it will help tourism, and I always consider tourism to be free money,” said Hurt.

Rollins says an entertainment district would attract more shoppers.

“Like Fredericksburg, we go out and spend all day, my husband can come and we can shop, and he can sit there and follow us, but he has a beer and is happy about it,” Rollins said.

Instead of going to a shop or restaurant, people can make a day out of it.

Some reviewers have said it could create more trash, but Rollins and Adams say they would be willing to bring out more trash cans.

“We all know that if we screw it up, it affects more than just our business. That is why we are all very hardworking. We want to take care of this community, that’s why we are here, ”said Adams.

Hurt says keeping young professionals in Abilene has always been a goal, and an entertainment district could do just that.

“Give them more places to go, more things to see,” said Hurt.

Nothing has been decided yet, but the city council will appoint members to a task force which will then discuss options and possibilities with the city administrator, city attorney and other city guides.