Restaurant sales

5 things restaurant sales and customer morale are improving in February

Each week, Restaurant Hospitality rounds up five stories impacting independent restaurant operations that you may have missed. Here is your list for the week of March 22:

  1. Untitled, the Union Square Hospitality Group restaurant, is closing permanently

Untitled, the ten-year-old Union Square Hospitality Group restaurant next to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, has closed for good, according to a USHG spokesperson.

The Whitney Museum opens the Whitney Café, a quick-service pop-up run by Union Square Events in the meantime. It’s unclear how long the pop-up will last, but Union Square Events will continue to be the catering agency for all Whitney events.

“For now, at least, we’ve concluded that what visitors to the museum and the broader Meatpacking District really want is a fast, casual dining experience,” said USHG CEO Danny Meyer, in a statement. “It is bittersweet to say goodbye to Untitled, which has now been closed for a year, but I am also encouraged by our continued partnership with the Whitney, working together to evolve our culinary offerings in a way that best serves the museum and its neighborhood.”

Read more: USHG Untitled at the Whitney is closing permanently

  1. Virginia governor signs bill extending to-go cocktails

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam on Friday signed HB 1879 extending takeout cocktails through July 1, 2022. Restaurants will be able to legally sell mixed drinks and wine for offsite consumption until that date in Virginia.

“With the expansion of to-go cocktails, Virginia’s hospitality businesses will continue to have a vital economic lifeline during the pandemic,” David Wojnar, senior vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, said in a statement. communicated. “Virginia’s restaurants, bars, and distilleries have been among the hardest hit during COVID-19, and take-out cocktails have helped many of them survive. We thank Governor Northam for extending take-out cocktails and supporting local businesses as they struggle to deal with the harsh economic impacts of the pandemic.

More than 30 states and the District of Columbia have allowed restaurants and bars to sell cocktails to go. Iowa, Ohio and Kentucky, as well as DC, have made take-out cocktails permanent so far, while others are expanding COVID-era rules, such as Virginia.

Read the invoice here.

  1. Charleston Restaurateur Sam Mustafa Expands Leadership Team for Growth

Sam Mustafa, CEO and founder of Charleston Hospitality Group in Charleston, SC, announced three new executive hires as he prepares for the growth of the Toast All Day concept. The future 17-unit brand announced a national franchise and growth team consisting of Joe Gillie, chief financial officer; Rikki Vaughn, Vice President of Franchising; and Omar Caton, vice president of operations. These appointments mark the first expansion of Charleston Hospitality Group’s Board of Directors since 2016.

Charleston Hospitality Group is a multi-concept group consisting of the Toast All Day breakfast concept; Mediterranean concept Tabbuli (currently closed for renovations); American casual dining concepts John King Grill and Bar, Eli’s Table; Queology two-unit barbecue area; and the country bar HonkeyTonk Saloon.

  1. New Study of Tipped Workers in Upstate New York Shows Wage Disparity

One Fair Wage, a lobby group to raise the minimum wage, released a study highlighting the discrimination women face in the workplace, particularly among tipped servers. The new report analyzes more than 300,000 service workers in upstate New York and shows that, on average, women earn 75% of what men earn in the service industry.

The report states, “Because tipped restaurant workers are 63% female and untipped restaurant workers are 42% female, sub-minimum wage for tipped workers equates to a legal gender pay inequality in the restaurant industry, perpetuating the gender pay gap and leading to increased poverty rates.

There is also data on the increase in sexual and “covert” harassment affecting women and minorities in the industry and impacting tipping at below minimum wage.

“Female restaurant workers in New York State report experiencing higher rates of sexual harassment during the pandemic, including a widespread and potentially deadly new phenomenon of male customers asking women to remove their masks so that they can judge their appearance and, subsequently, their tips on that basis – forcing workers to risk their lives at a time when workers are reporting that tips have already dropped by 50-75%,” said Saru Jayaraman, President of One Fair Wage.

Read the full report: Time to End Subminimum Wage: Upstate New York’s Case on Tilted Minimum Wage as a Gender Equity Issue

  1. Restaurant sales in February continue to show signs of improvement

Restaurant data firm Black Box Intelligence released its monthly restaurant sales figures from February and there is reason to be hopeful. As winter begins to thaw across the country, restaurants are seeing improved sales both indoors and outdoors, as well as improved customer sentiment. Although sales figures are still negative year over year, they are slowly returning to normal.

Due to winter storms during the month, comparable store sales were down more than 40% year-over-year in Texas in the third week of the month; sales fell nearly 30% in the South West region that same week. But sales for the rest of the month reflect an improvement in performance compared to the last months of 2020.

Read more: Black Box Intelligence: Restaurants see signs of rebound in February