Tag: Restaurants

This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Shane Smyth, owner of Hugh O’Neill’s Irish Pub in Malden, and co-owner of five more restaurants in Newton and Boston, one of which he launched during the pandemic.  Shane shares why he views immigrant workers as the backbone of the restaurant industry (immigrants account for over 40 percent of our agricultural workforce and one-fifth of our food prep and serving workforce), and the tremendous skills and drive they bring. Shane offers strategies for restaurants to survive crises, something that cannot happen without immigrants, as you’ll find out in this week’s JobMakers.

Join Jim and Greg as they fume over the obscene process by which Congress shoveled a lot of wasteful spending into the combined omnibus and COVID relief spending bill that will do some good for small businesses. But while disgusted with the process, they are excited about the doubled tax deduction for three martini lunches! And they address comments from Die Hard director John McTiernan that the film is anti-capitalist, but they just might veer off into other aspects of this cinematic masterpiece.

On this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour, Chef Andrew Gruel joins Host Ben Domenech to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the restaurant industry and the struggle for small businesses to get back on their feet.

Don’t Blame Restaurants for Covid Spread


Last week, I sat with a new potential restaurant client, six feet apart and fully masked, of course. Let’s call her Viola.

Viola told me her story. She and her husband are both non-citizens, with a strong entrepreneurial spirit—and they opened a small restaurant a few years ago in Scottsdale, AZ. It’s in a hard-to-find location that is, however, usually found by tourists from all over the US and Canada in the booming tourism season in the Desert Southwest.

Enter 2020. Viola told me how they had finally picked up traction in their tiny spot; she shared stories of her regular customers, expanding hours, wine dinners, and more. They were so confident and excited, that she purchased a building to expand into with a new concept that would eventually also house her existing restaurant. That all happened in January.

President Trump’s Bar Rescue Plan, Biden’s Demolition Plan


Ballot boxPresident Trump sat down with Jon Taffer, the hospitality industry guru who has a long-running reality television series, Bar Rescue.* Jon Taffer plays a very gruff, hard-nosed businessman with a heart for families caught up in the problems of successful bar management. He was the right interviewer to engage President Trump on the devastated hospitality industry.

It is a lie that we are all in this together. Anthony Fauci is secure in his six-figure taxpayer-funded salary with awesome benefits including a pension that will let him live the rest of his days in the style to which he has become accustomed. His unscientific medical malpractice in this pandemic has greatly harmed the young people and single moms who depend on food and drink service to others for their living. President Trump clearly declares for the forgotten servers, bartenders, cooks, and kitchen staff. Elitists in the punditocracy have taken the same attitude towards these jobs as they earlier did towards manufacturing. Jon Taffer has asked Joe Biden to also sit down with him for the exact same questions. Biden refuses. This really matters in states like Nevada.

Here is the short sit down interview, officially posted on the Las Vegas ABC affiliate Channel 13 YouTube channel:

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I’m confused (perhaps not a difficult state to achieve). The New York City Council passed a bill that allows (but does not require) restaurants to charge a 10% “Covid fee” surcharge. The stated purpose of the permitted surcharge is to allow restaurants to recover revenue lost from being shut down for months, and from now […]

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Back to the regularly scheduled broadcast!

On this show, Seth, Park, Grant, and Jay discuss Joe Biden’s speech addressing protest violence, how the media narrative shifted to cover the protests, and whether or not Biden’s speech is more effective for quelling violence or for his campaign.

Eating Out in a Restaurant in the Age of Covid-19


The city where I am staying is slowly coming back to life. On Friday, some small retail stores that have been tightly shuttered had their doors open, so I went shopping. When I walked into the first store, a clothing boutique with a chalked sign proclaiming “Made in the USA” out front, I promised the lady hovering behind the cash register that I’d keep my “social distance.” With an accent that only exists where people are grown on sweet tea and biscuits, she loudly proclaimed, “You’re the only one here, baby girl! Get on in! I’m thrilled to see you!”

Let me tell you. I didn’t need anything. I didn’t really want anything. I normally hate shopping, but this was gloriously fun. By the time I was done, my American Express was at the point of melting. But I justified the bags in my mind because my husband and I had decided to go out on a date and get dinner at a restaurant since restaurants now have permission to open their dining rooms under certain guidelines.

Back to the Future in the Age of Coronavirus?


In desperation, small business people are doing what they can to stay solvent, to stave off government-mandated ruin. One strain of these responses has been a revival of earlier car culture. The drive-in movie and the drive-in diner suddenly have an attraction again. Consider two stories from Texas: one a family restaurant turned drive-in movie theater, and the other a community theater putting on a drive-in live performance. Consider, also, the Sonic restaurant brand.

In “Ingenuity to Beat the Ban,” Aaron Miller told the story of the Butler House restaurant, in Spring, Texas, which put up a large screen television in the parking lot and serves meals, including beer or wine, car side. Modern cars are pre-equipped to support this experience, as we have lots of cup holders. Back in the 1950’s you needed a special tray attached to the side of the car window because there was nowhere to safely put down your drink. Moreover, all cars now have FM radios, so you can even have a low power FM transmission of the audio.

This last feature has been leveraged by a live theater company in Texas. I heard the owner or manager interviewed on the Mark Davis Show this past Friday, and read the Fort Worth Star-Telegram story on Cleburne, Texas:

The physical bars and restaurants and being ordered to close in many places but the Three Martini Lunch remains open.  Come in and join us! Today, Jim and Greg react to the CDC urging Americans to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks and mayor and governors forcing bars and restaurants to close.  They also discuss the awkwardness of the Biden-Sanders debate in the midst of the coronavirus crisis and highlight how Bernie Sanders and other Democrats have pushed Biden into extreme liberal positions on energy, immigration, guns, abortion and more. And they discuss the stunning political fall of Andrew Gillum, who came less than a percentage point from becoming Florida’s governor in 2018.

Don’t Leave a Tip


shutterstock_172438112Tipping in restaurants has always been a complicated issue. I usually leave around 20 percent, which is more than the 15 percent expected, but my feeling is, in Obama’s America everyone needs a little more help.

And there are tip jars in almost every coffee shop and take-out place, and what I usually do is just dump the change into it. But it’s a complicated and awkward business no matter how you slice it.

Word now comes from Danny Meyer, one of the most successful (deservedly so) and celebrated restauranteurs in America, that he’s going to eliminate the practice in his restaurants, beginning with the high-end Modern in the Museum of Modern Art. From Eater NY:

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This is a topic that I’ve been thinking about for a while, but this is the first time that I’ve written it down completely.First, let’s discuss the misconception that the minimum wage for servers is $2.13 per hour.This is both kinda true, and misleading. Minimum wage for servers is the same as everyone else, $7.25 […]

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I can’t make up this [redacted for CoC] even if I tried to. And to think that this [redacted for CoC], whose campaign might possibly raise $2billion, can’t even pay interns who work like dogs, $7/hour, much less the $15 that she wants to raise the minimum wage to, the same $15/hour she wants to raise it […]

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As teenagers, my siblings and I got our corny meters ratcheted up high.  Odd family humor and probably a lot of leisure time contributed.  Maybe we all have different definitions of the word “corny,” but tonight I’m plumbing readers’ minds for situations we would all regard as over-the-top, cringe-inducing, and cliched.  Here are some things […]

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Celebrity Chef Frets about Obama’s Economy


Before Emeril Lagasse became a TV star, he was the executive chef of New Orleans’ legendary Commander’s Palace. He left the dream gig in 1990 to create his own popular restaurant, building a new clientele and winning numerous awards. But in a recent interview to promote his new reality show on TNT, Lagasse worried that success is harder to attain in the age of Obama.

“It’s becoming a very challenging industry to become a very successful average restaurateur,” continued Lagasse. “I can’t charge $300 a person in my restaurant or I would not be in business. Am I using any different ingredients? Not really. Am I using any caliber of service staff? I don’t think so. I think our service is as good or better than most places.”