During the last week of April, LGC had the opportunity to join the National Restaurant Association in Washington, D.C. for their Public Affairs Conference to talk about legislative bills impacting restaurant recovery.
The conference, which spanned from April 25-27, is the “industry’s largest grassroots lobbying event.” Attendees had the opportunity to network with peers, meet with lawmakers to discuss restaurant recovery, and celebrate the industry.
“My time in Washington D.C. was so educational. While representing the State of Colorado and the Colorado Restaurant Association, I was able to work with congress to help bring awareness of legislative bills that could dramatically affect restaurant recovery.
Some of the bills we lobbied for were:
ERTC Reinstatement ACT
The Issue • A valuable COVID-19 relief tool, the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) came to a premature end in the fall of 2021 when the restaurant recovery was going in reverse. According to a January 2022 National Restaurant Association survey, 60% of restaurants experienced losses of 20% or more in Q4 (Oct.-Dec. 2021), making them eligible for the ERTC.
The Ask • House: Please cosponsor H.R. 6161 • Senate: Please cosponsor S. 362
Preservation of the Tip Credit
The Issue • According to new research from the National Restaurant Association, waitstaff at full service restaurants earn a median of $27 an hour, with the highest paid tipped employees making $41.50. Maintaining the longstanding tip credit and tipping system provides tipped employees with greater earning potential and restaurant owners with the capability to reinvest in non-tipped employees and their businesses. Eliminating the tip credit and tipping system would force restaurants to switch to an hourly wage system that would ultimately reduce earnings, employee hours, and the number of employees. It would also go against the wishes of hardworking employees and the public. Tipped employees, restaurant owners, and customers have made it clear: the tip credit and current tipping system work.
The Ask • House: Encourage Members to oppose efforts to eliminate the tipped wage • Senate: Encourage Senators to oppose efforts to eliminate the tipped wage.
Essential Workers for Economic Advancement Act (EWEA)
The Issue • People are the restaurant industry’s greatest asset, making it more diverse than any other sector in the economy and one of the most innovative and adaptive during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet the shortage in workers before and during the pandemic has made it incredibly difficult for restaurants to recruit and retain employees.
Introduced by Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) in March 2022, the Essential Workers for Economic Advancement (EWEA) Act will expand the country’s workforce specifically in occupations that provide growth opportunities and career paths without a college degree. The restaurant industry still hasn’t regained hundreds of thousands of jobs lost from the pandemic, and the contributions that EWEA employees make will help grow the industry’s economic impact. Just as important, EWEA employees will acquire valuable skills that can be utilized throughout their career.
The Ask • House: Co-sponsor and pass H.R. 7239 • Senate: • Socialize with Senators and staff how difficult it is to fulfill workforce needs • Inform them of H.R. 7239 • Garner initial feedback on if their interest in supporting legislation like this, if introduced in the Senate.
We were able to present the above items to the entire Colorado delegation, both Democrat and Republican. I truly feel that being face to face with members of congress was eye opening for us both, considering all the attendees at the event are true industry people who care about restaurant recovery. I highly suggest if you have the chance to lobby the government for something you believe in, do it! I was highly honored and humbled by the experience.”