FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C. (Jan. 15, 2021) – National Restaurant Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs Sean Kennedy today released the following statement on President-elect Joe Biden’s proposed American Rescue Plan:
“We applaud the laser-focus from President-elect Biden on defeating the pandemic and restoring the families and businesses that have been devastated over the past ten months. But when it comes to the restaurant and foodservice industry, the Biden plan may cause more harm than good.
“We appreciate the targeted support for our industry and look forward to learning more about the president-elect’s plan. We urge the Administration to consider greater inclusion of initiatives like the Senate version of the RESTAURANTS Act. Working together, this country can stop the growing number of shuttered restaurants and the millions of workers still without jobs.
“The support in the proposal is overshadowed by the possibility that, at a time when restaurants are spending more to keep their doors open, they may also have to balance a dramatic hike in labor costs. As the pandemic has highlighted, the economic realities of each state are very different. A nationwide increase in the minimum wage will create insurmountable costs for many operators in states where restaurant jobs are most needed for recovery. And the elimination of the tipped wage could lead to thousands of skilled hospitality workers seeing cuts in their hourly income. Changes in wage policy should be considered by Congress on a separate track from an economic recovery plan.
“The pandemic is fundamentally changing the food service industry and we still don’t know how it will look or how much of it will survive. The National Restaurant Association and our members are ready to have a conversation about wage levels in the foodservice industry and the impact any change would have on the economic recovery of both workers and restaurant operators. We look forward to working with the incoming Biden Administration and the new Congress to find solutions that can best fuel America’s revival.”