#WalkingBoston – A Marathon in Every Boston Neighborhood: GoFundMe

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 7/30/2022

It is extremely humbling to ask for financial support to fulfill a dream. Publishing my book, ‘I’m Your Server, Not Your Servant,’ [A Voice for Service Industry Workers Everywhere. A Case for Human-to-Human Service and Decency] has been a dream and work in progress since 2009.

After launching a few personal and professional ‘pivots’ recently, several folks reached out asking how they could sponsor/support my Walking Boston project and expedite the publication of my Server Not Servant book with a donation. This fundraiser is a grassroots initiative of small donations to help finance both complementary projects.

On Tuesday, August 16, 2022, I’m launching a walking journey in East Boston that will cover and showcase the heart of every Boston neighborhood. The inaugural walk departs at 7am from the Wood Island T stop on the Blue Line-Bennington Street side at the bus circle. Each walk will be at least a half marathon, 13.1+ miles. Large neighborhoods like Eastie, Dorchester, Southie, Roxbury, and Hyde Park, will be covered in 2 walks totaling at least a marathon, 26.2 miles. Smaller neighborhoods, the North End, Back Bay, West End, and Chinatown will be combined into one half-marathon walk. I hope some of you will join me for a portion of the adventure. All are welcome.

The inspiration, vision, mission, and goals of Walking Boston:

#1-Explore and showcase Boston’s neighborhoods by walking deep into every one of them, discovering hidden gems and the real ‘heart and soul’ of each hood. I’ll be sharing pics and experiences along the way while raising money for local Boston area non-profits. Make-A-Wish MA & RI is the primary beneficiary. Others will be added as the walks progress.
#2-It’s time to ‘get out there’ (away from the computer) and inspire some real, tangible change and good in the world.
#3-Raise awareness and funding for my Server Not Servant book in progress advocating for service industry workers and ‘service’ to our fellow humans. The walks will also inspire content for the book. Walking is very conducive to creative thinking and action for me.
#4-Find a publisher and sign a contract (for book publication) before the end of the Boston walks.
#5-Promote and support Boston independent, Mom & Pop, neighborhood restaurants and small businesses.
#6-Walking with, and meeting, great humans.
#7-Learning more about Boston neighborhoods and enjoying the discovery and adventures along the way.
#8-The physical and mental health benefits of walking.

Yes, it’s ironic to raise money for a project with a mission that includes raising awareness and donations for non-profits. The reality is that #WalkingBoston could take up to 2 years and will cover more than 650 miles. The time, training, planning, logistics, and follow-up require finances to keep me walking, writing, and promoting the non-profits I’m partnering with.

Finances-Walking Boston:

  • Technology for recording and reporting walks. [Laptop, phone, mobile chargers, website maintenance and hosting, etc.]
  • Printing large maps from City of Boston website to plan each walk.
  • Chiropractor, Stretch PT, Dental, and all medical expenses not covered by insurance.
  • Shoes, socks, pants and vest w/pockets + clothes for walks.
  • Snacks, water, food and beverage for walks, including for walking partners and people I meet on the streets and in the neighborhoods. [I’m working on distributing gift certificates to neighborhood businesses.]
  • Transportation to and from walks. I’ll take the T whenever possible to save money.

Finances-Publishing Server Not Servant Book:

I am in the process of researching every option to publish my book. My preference is to hire an independent (preferably Boston-based) company for Book Proposal Writing and Editing for submission to publishers to secure a contract. If I choose to self-publish, there are several steps and costs involved, including editing, proofreading, illustrations, graphics, copyright, LCCN registration, imprint setup, printing, shipping, audio books, marketing, and promotions, to name a few…

A copy of the book will be shipped to everyone who donates here, regardless of the amount. Small donations add up and are greatly appreciated.

Please indicate if there is something specific from the lists above (or your own idea) that you would like your donation applied to.

Please Note: Proceeds from this campaign are not automatically donated to the non-profits I am partnering with. However, if donations are substantial, I may choose to designate some of the funds to those non-profits. Designated links to all of the #WalkingBoston non-profit partners can be found in this blog post.

Full Disclosure: If the amount of donations received exceeds the costs outlined above (or emergencies require), I reserve the right to allocate a portion of the funds received to help family, friends, and strangers I meet on my walks in dire need who wish to remain anonymous.

Thank you for your consideration and support. I’m grateful, even if you don’t donate. Please consider sharing this GoFundMe link and SNS blog with your network. I hope you’ll follow (and perhaps join) the journey.

Donations can be made here. 

Cheers-Patrick Maguire

#WalkingBoston #ServerNotServant

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Maguire Promotions-PR, Marketing, Social Media & Hospitality Consulting Monthly Subscription

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Rules of Engagement

Posted: 7/4/2022

I’m proud to announce the launch of Maguire Promotions Monthly Subscription Service available to restaurants and small businesses. This ‘pivot’ is the culmination of more than 8 years of operating an independent business providing PR, marketing, promotions, social media, and hospitality consulting. It is the continuation of my strategic initiative to leverage, monetize, and collaborate with the valuable network that I have cultivated and partnered with over the last 40+ years.

My current network consists of 2,800 (IG), 4,690 (Twitter), 10,400 combined Facebook platforms, 3,500 email, and 2,693 (LinkedIn) contacts, totaling more than 24,000 people. Every day of the week I review my social media feeds, multiple media platforms, email, and targeted Google alerts, constantly seeking ideas and tools to benefit my clients. I get it that business owners are looking for someone to sort through all of that for them because most are consumed with the day-to-day operations of their restaurant or business. I also know that independent, Mom & Pop, neighborhood businesses have been ravaged by the plague (myself included) and don’t have budgets for PR and many of the services that I provide. I’m offering a fair and reasonable way to supplement what you are currently doing to keep your brand current and relevant, broaden your customer base, increase your media coverage, and make more money.

I have immediate openings for new subscribers beginning August 1. The first businesses to commit via email, text, or DM by the end of business on Friday, 7/29 will begin the first 3 months of service upon receipt of payment. First come, first served. Beyond 7/29, pricing and availability will be TBD, based on availability of my time and ‘supply and demand.’

Email: patrick@servernotservant.com. Cell: 617-510-5682.

Services Included with 3-Month Subscription

  1. Copies of Maguire Promotions Social Media Strategy, Social Media Daily Checklist, Event Promotions, Instagram Strategy, Successful Strategies at jm Curley, and Complimentary Content (media, reviews, etc.) Response.
  2. Previous 3-month audit/review of all of your social media posts/content. Report findings and make recommendations to your designated team via group email. Phone consult after review of findings, if necessary.
  3. Review of website, all social media profiles, branding, Google search, newsletters, and media coverage.
  4. Read past 3 months of all online reviews and make recommendations. Discuss and understand business strategy with respect to ‘amateur’ reviews.
  5. Daily review of all of your social media posts and threads. Provide feedback and recommend edits and responses in comment threads when necessary.
  6. Amplify your social media posts by liking, commenting, defending, and sharing when appropriate, especially events you are hosting and participating in, and food & drink specials. This includes retweets with personal comments and #hashtags. (Yes, you should have a twitter account. I can help you establish one if you don’t.)
  7. I will notify your staff of any opportunities I see to invite potential customers to your business. I often see threads online where people describe a scenario seeking a restaurant that is a great fit.
  8. As I mentioned above, I will constantly be seeking ways to promote your restaurant/business and improve your operation. I read and review everything I can locally, nationally and internationally about restaurants and business, and will forward anything that I feel is relevant and can help you.
  9. Access to my network for vendors, contractors, legal, licensing, and potential staff/recruiting referrals. I am often contacted by people seeking employment. For management positions, please see #12 in ‘additional services’ below.
  10. Referral and introduction to Boston’s most professional and well-respected hospitality publicist.
  11. Confidential vetting of prospective new hires.
  12. Subscription includes at least one visit to eat and drink at your restaurant and promotion on my social media platforms. [$100 gift certificate included in pricing below.]  This includes encouraging my ‘followers’ to follow all of your social media platforms.  Just don’t call me a ‘foodie’ or an ‘influencer…’  (For additional visits and promotions, please see #5 below.)
  13. Live phone conversations/consults following up on all of the above.

It’s very important to note that my services outlined above do not include taking over the management of your social media and creating content for you. My collaborations with monthly subscribers will work best with restaurants and businesses that have dedicated, internal, social media managers on your staff, or an external vendor. My complementary consulting role is best described as a ‘watchdog’ or advocate looking out for you, your business, and your team.

Pricing: Minimum 3-month commitment is $750, paid upfront, plus $100 gift certificate. The cost breaks down to $250/month. After 3 months, the cost to continue the subscription is $275 per month, payable 30 days in advance. After 3 months, the subscription will continue month-to-month until cancelled by either party with one month lead time. Payment can be made via Venmo @Patrick-Maguire-32, PayPal, or check.

FYI, I personally will be servicing all accounts and communicating directly with your team, no interns or anyone else.

Additional à la carte Services

Please Note: Services listed below are available to all, but discounted for subscribers.

  1. Press release and distribution to media for special events, anniversaries, etc. (Pricing depends on whether or not I’ll be creating the content or just editing.)
  2. In-person brainstorming/consult/strategy sessions.
  3. Crisis Management.
  4. Dedicated Blog Post featuring your restaurant/business, similar to this feature of Formaggio Kitchen, or this one on Vee Vee in Jamaica Plain. (Those offerings are no longer complimentary.)
  5. As I indicated in #11 above, the initial, 3-month commitment includes eating and drinking at your restaurant or patronizing your business at least once. Promotion on my social media platforms accompany the visit. Additional visits and promotions can be negotiated with additional gift certificates beyond the initial $100. We can also work something out if I attend and promote events you are hosting.
  6. Evaluate current training manuals and recommend edits, editions, improvements.
  7. Attendance and/or participate in special events, ‘guest’ bartending, etc.
  8. Staff Training-Hospitality Workshop.
  9. Editing content of newsletters, emails, negotiations, strategic communications, etc. I also refer 2 retired English teachers to clients seeking technical, grammatical scrutiny.
  10. Attend and evaluate staff training sessions.
  11. Company email database management and newsletter services.
  12. Management level staff recruitment. (Fee-for-service, 2-tiered. #1-Posting job. #2-Refering hired candidate = % of salary.)

If you’re looking for the most affordable way to boost for your business, I look forward to working with you.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you-Patrick

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‘Greed is Good,’ right, John Mackey, Whole Foods CEO & Jeff Bezos, Amazon Chairman? 9+ year veteran, 72-year-old employee denied severance after Whole Foods in Brookline, MA abruptly closes. #DoTheRightThing #PayTheSeverance

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 6/25/2022

Early on Friday morning, April 29, I walked over to ‘The (St. Mary’s) Village’ to visit Whole Foods, an almost daily ritual. Immediately upon entry, a worker came over and whispered, “Hey, they just told us the store is closing.” A regional VP had gathered the staff and informed them moments before that May 6th was the last day. The landlord was informed the same day. The staff was told that even long-time, veteran employees would have to reapply for jobs at other WF stores, and more details were forthcoming from HR. Naturally, I tweeted:

The next day, everything in the store was sold at 50% off. Despite the rabid frenzy (shitshow), there was no ‘hazard pay’ for the staff. And after the store was picked clean over the weekend, they shut down for good on Monday, May 2nd, 4 days ahead of schedule…

After first hearing the news, I walked the aisles of the store on Friday–the abrupt closure was raw, still being absorbed the staff. The emotion in their eyes, and tears on the familiar faces of several people I had come to know, precipitated a very anxious and somber mood.

Whole Foods issued a statement quoted in an article in the Boston Globe on April 29 by Annie Probert:

“As we continue to position Whole Foods Market for long-term success, we regularly evaluate the performance and growth potential of each of our stores, and we have made the difficult decision to close six stores,” a statement from the company read. “We are supporting impacted team members through this transition and expect that all interested, eligible team members will find positions at our other locations.”

One of the staff members I often chatted with was Ken Scales. Ken often saw me with an elderly (sometimes feisty/demanding) neighbor he took a liking to. “How’s our girl?” he’d ask when he didn’t see her as the plague raged. Despite his cordial engagement, Ken was a quiet, shy guy, head down, and conscientious, steady worker.

According to Sean P. Murphy for the Boston Globe on June 22, Ken (part-time employee) said “he didn’t realize he would forfeit a payout by agreeing to work through June at another location.” And he did, at the Whole Foods Symphony/’Fenway’ location.

From the Globe piece:

At age 72, Scales said he still needed to work to pay the bills, so he moved to a similar position at another Whole Foods store a few miles away.

But then some friends suggested he had made a mistake. They told him he should have left his position at Whole Foods and taken the $11,000 in severance pay that he was owed after almost 10 years on the job, Scales said.

Stocking shelves pays about $20 an hour. At that rate of pay, the severance package he had been offered was the equivalent of about six months of pay. For the first time in his adult life, Scales could have enjoyed an extended period of time off without losing income.

Plus, because of the high demand for low-wage workers in today’s economy, Scales could have easily found another job for similar pay whenever he wanted, his friends said.

Persuaded he had made a mistake, Scales asked Whole Foods to let him leave his job and take the severance. At that point, Whole Foods had not yet formally eliminated Scales’ Brookline position.

But Whole Foods, owned by Amazon, one of the world’s richest corporations, said no. By accepting a part-time job at another store, Scales had forfeited his right to leave the company with severance pay. The store treated his choice as irrevocable, he said.

Scales said he has been a good, reliable worker. His manager at the Brookline store thought highly enough of him to recommend him to the Whole Foods Market Symphony store in the Fenway, where he wound up.

“I was counting on that severance payment to help me regroup, pay down some bills, and to decide what I want to do next,” he wrote in an appeal for reconsideration to Whole Foods. 

The appeal was denied. I called Whole Foods Symphony/’Fenway’ this morning and spoke to a manager (Matt) informing him that I was writing this blog post, and asked if WF had an updated statement. He referred me to corporate…

[I encourage you to read the entire Globe piece for more detail.]

Globe reporter, Sean P. Murphy adds:

Scales has worked all his life, mostly in unglamorous positions at retail stores. He gets a modest monthly Social Security check and lives in a tiny apartment in Chinatown. He’s not asking for much.

It would be nice if Whole Foods could see its way to giving this guy a break. It’s not too late.

Amen.

I was chatting with a worker a few doors down from the now-closed Whole Foods about the awful PR, negative word-of-mouth/’bad will’ being generated from this story. In addition to the adverse impact on ‘team’ morale of existing employees, he added, “And what about the impact of this story on all of the people thinking about working for Whole Foods or Amazon?!?” Yup, not optimal recruiting material, or consistent with WF stated ‘Long-Term Thinking’ …

From the Whole Foods website:

In addition, Whole Foods has years left on their Brookline, MA lease and is seeking a tenant to sub-lease the space. Their abrupt closure left a significant void in ‘The Village,’ that was already dealing with multiple vacancies on the block. The closure, without a transition plan and replacement grocer, did not sit well with neighboring businesses and residents. This story about a veteran employee has punctuated that rancor.

When I first saw the online story from the Globe on twitter via @markpothier, I responded:

Since then, I’ve reviewed the Whole Foods website and incorporated some of their “Core Values,” “Leadership Principles,” and “Declaration of Interdependence” into a Twitter appeal for Whole Foods to pay the severance for Ken Scales:

That was in response to this tweet from @blueeyedgirl:

“Us versus them.”

Final Thoughts (WF Website):

Our Declaration of Interdependence reflects the hopes and intentions of many people. We do not believe it always accurately portrays the way things currently are at Whole Foods Market so much as the way we would like things to be. It is our dissatisfaction with the current reality, when compared with what is possible, that spurs us toward excellence and toward creating a better person, company and world. When Whole Foods Market fails to measure up to its stated vision, as it inevitably will at times, we should not despair. Rather let us take up the challenge together to bring our reality closer to our vision. The future we will experience tomorrow is created one step at a time today.

John Mackey, Whole Foods and Jeff Bezos, Amazon, take up the challenge, #PayTheSeverance.

If you agree, please help spread the word to your network. Thank you.

PS-Join the battle/challenge on twitter @PatrickMBoston.

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Walking Boston-A Marathon in Every Neighborhood #ServerNotServant

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 6/3/2022

This blog post marks the official launch of Walking Boston-A Marathon in Every Neighborhood #ServerNotServant. There is so much more to explore and discover, even in our own back yards. And walking is one of the best ways to do it. The inspiration, vision, mission, and goals of Walking Boston:

  1. Explore and showcase Boston’s neighborhoods by walking deep into every one of them, discovering hidden gems and the real ‘heart and soul’ of each hood. I’ll be sharing pics and experiences along the way while raising money for local, Boston area non-profits. Make-A-Wish MA & RI is the primary beneficiary. Others will be added as the walks progress.
  2. It’s time to ‘get out there’ (away from the computer) and inspire some real, tangible change and good in the world.
  3. Raise awareness and funding for my Server Not Servant book in progress advocating for service industry workers and ‘service’ to our fellow humans. #WalkingBoston will also inspire content for the book. Walking is very conducive to creative thinking and action for me.
  4. Find a publisher and sign a contract (for book publishing) before the end of the Boston walks.
  5. Promote and support Boston independent, Mom & Pop, neighborhood restaurants and small businesses.
  6. Walking with and meeting great humans along the way.
  7. Learning more about Boston neighborhoods and enjoying the discovery and adventures along the way.
  8. The physical and mental health benefits of walking.

On May 17, 1997, I attended my brother’s graduation from Plymouth State College in Plymouth, NH. The commencement address by the college president, Donald Wharton, one of the shortest I ever witnessed, included, Be open to opportunity. Opportunity in our lives often comes unexpectedly from directions we don’t anticipate. Life is really more like a river than a highway, so be ready for its twists and turns, be ready to seize the opportunity you may not have anticipated. Hamlet was right: “The readiness is all.” And I’m ready.

Over 3 days of Memorial Day Weekend 2022, I was ‘On the Road’ for 12.5 hours on Saturday, 6 hours Sunday, and 4 hours on Monday, totaling 22+ hours. The weekend goal was to set foot in (and take pics of) all 24 Boston Neighborhoods as a catalyst to launch the project and ‘get moving.’ I was hoping to complete the task in one day, but after 12+ hours and 16 neighborhoods on Saturday, realized I needed more time…

This link to a Google Photo album includes 229 pics/videos that I took of my weekend adventure beginning at 5:57am on Saturday, ending on Monday after covering Allston and Brighton. The photo album is in chronological order, reflecting the travel through each neighborhood. Some of my pics from the album are also featured within this blog post and on both sides. I estimate that I covered about 18+ miles walking over the 3 days. Initially, I activated the ‘MapMyWalk’ app on my phone, but it was using up too much of the battery, so I shut it down.

Grass roots financial support for this project and publication of the Server Not Servant book will include individual contributions via GoFundMe, Venmo @Patrick-Maguire-32 and PayPal on the upper, right-hand side of this blog, ‘Support Server Not Servant’ in the blue box. I’m also seeking business sponsors for both projects, walking and publication of the book. Please contact me if you or anyone you know might be interested in collaborating.

Email: patrick@servernotservant.com. Twitter & IG: @PatrickMBoston

‘Fun’ Facts & Trivia about this project:

  • Walking 24 marathons may seem like a lot of miles, but my initial plan was to walk every street in every neighborhood of Boston. Then I did the math… (There are approximately 785 miles of roads in Boston maintained by the Boston Transportation Dept.)
  • I don’t own a car, so getting to the starting point for each walk will usually include riding the T. During Memorial Day Weekend, in addition to walking, transportation included subways, busses, and water taxis (from Eastie to Charlestown and from the North End to the Seaport).
  • The walks in each neighborhood will consist of at least a half marathon per day and will be verified using MapMywalk. Some neighborhoods, like Chinatown, North End, and the West End will only require a half marathon to walk every street. Small neighborhoods will be combined in half mile walks Others, like DOT, Mattapan, and Southie will have more roads than a full marathon will cover, but I’ll map out the best strategy to cover as much as possible during the 26.2+ miles.
  • Urban treks include lots of conveniences, stores for water and snacks, bars for a cheeky beverage and a bathroom, but they also include lots of temptations that aren’t ‘on the program,’ like slices of pizza… I’ll pack some healthy snacks for the neighborhood walks.
  • Inspirations include George Plimpton, participatory journalist, including goaltending with the Boston Bruins.
  • I purchased an Anker mobile charger before the weekend. I was very impressed with how long it held a charge. It lasted the entire 12+ hour day on Saturday, and still had some juice left at the end.
  • There will be a blog post before and after completion of the walks in each neighborhood, including tracking proving distance, photo albums, and adventures along the way. The pics from each walk will include people and more of the ‘character’ of each neighborhood than the Memorial Day Weekend album.
  • Start date/time is Tuesday, August 16 at 7am from the Wood Island T station on the Blue Line in Eastie.
  • Most of the walks will be open to anyone who wants to join me and share their pics and experiences along the way. Hello, WCVB Chronicle… Exact meeting locations and times will be posted in a blog post before each walk.

Checklist before walking first neighborhood:

  • Finalize local non-profit(s) and a mechanism to track $$ inspired by #WalkingBoston. Set and publish goals. Dedicated links will be required by the non-profits so we can track donations inspired by the walk. Recommendations for non-profits welcome. I’m looking for Boston-based w/low ‘admin’ components that all neighborhoods benefit from. Service industry related? [7/25/22 update: Add Make-A-Wish link and info as ‘Primary Beneficiary’ here. And add Stride for Stride?]
  • Clarify # and description/title of Boston Neighborhoods. City of Boston websites have different numbers and labels. Examples, Chinatown + Leather District are combined, ‘Wharf District,’ ‘Mid-Dorchester,’ and ‘Longwood Medical,’ and Seaport/South Boston Waterfront all need to be considered.
  • Confirm that Google Photos is the right pic/video sharing app, non-invasive and user-friendly. [Yes, 7/25/22]
  • Create YouTube platform and tighten up all social media apps.
  • Maps to plan walks, and post pics of them.
  • Boston-based footwear sponsor.
  • Research WHOOP involvement to track health benefits.
  • Media networking/promotions.
  • Vest for walking to store snacks, phone charger, etc.
  • Invite guest walkers, even for portions of each walk.
  • Keep running total of verified miles walked and hours ‘on the road.’
  • Start photo albums of humans and animals seen on the walks and keep adding to them.
  • Research all Boston Walking related sites and groups to include and network with.
  • Research drone photographers and potential involvement.
  • Include links to non-profits in each neighborhood in blog posts.
  • Consider a portion of each walk at night down ‘main street?’
  • Include bullets of “Thoughts while walking in ________” in each blog post.
  • Interview people along the way and ask what they think of the neighborhood, how long they’ve lived there, etc. Finalize questions and method of recording.
  • Find “Welcome to _____” sign for each neighborhood and include pics in albums.
  • Consider additional walks covering Boston Harbor islands, parks, and around bodies of water.
  • Finalize the next chapter/challenge…

Thank you for following, supporting, and sharing the journey. Grateful-Patrick Maguire

PS-Be sure to check out the Google Photo album w/229 pics + videos in the order I took them.

8/1/22 update: Make-A-Wish MA & RI will be the primary beneficiary of #WalkingBoston. Please consider a donation through this dedicated link that will track donations inspired by the Boston Walks. Thank you.

 

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‘United’ States Senate Fails to Support Independent, American, #MomAndPop, Neighborhood #Restaurants and #SmallBiz. #ReviveRRF #ReplenishRRF

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 5/22/2022

Restaurants are often the first to step up, feed, and support their communities by volunteering their staff, time, effort, energy, food, drink, gift certificates, enthusiasm, labor, and money to help their neighbors in need ALL YEAR LONG.  The requests of restaurants and small business to donate are relentless, and many are happy to do what they can. And when it came time to save the same charitable entities, American ‘leaders’ walked away…

The ‘United’ States Senate voted and failed to take action to save 177,300 independent, Mom & Pop, neighborhood restaurants and small businesses in America on May 19, 2022. Historically, ‘we’ have ‘bailed out’ big insurance companies, big banks, the big auto and airline industries, to name a few. on 5/19, ‘we’ completely failed to recognize the importance of restaurants and small businesses to our communities and our economy. They are a critical part of the fabric and soul of our neighborhoods, and the American Government insultingly failed them during a moment of truth in the Senate. Don’t tell me, “We’re (America) better than this,” we’re not. This is who/where ‘we’ are as a country, and it’s disgusting.

177,300 independent restaurants were notified that they were approved to receive the same, life-saving federal grants that 100k+ of their peers received. Some of those 100k+ restaurant groups and entities received up to $10 million, and the remaining, eligible restaurants got absolutely NOTHING!! The stupidity and inequity in that is stunning. We were only asking for fairness, to level the ‘playing field’ for all restaurants and small businesses to allow them to pay back their staggering bills/debts and give them a fighting chance to survive!!

Partisanship, and the tribal, divisive preoccupation with party ‘power,’ instead of collaboratively initiating and driving an agenda to actually help serve, protect, defend, and advocate for an equitable, improved quality of life for the American people, has undermined, paralyzed, and destroyed ‘our’ once ‘great’ American Democracy. And it’s absolutely disgraceful…

I posted the following on Twitter on July 12, 2021 after Round 1 of funding of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants dried up: “Whether your restaurant received a #RRF grant or not, every independent #restaurant in #America should be furious + engaged until every eligible restaurant is funded. Use every platform u have to spread the word. This IS life or death 4 many. #ReplenishRRF” 

Attachment 1 to TweetSNS Blog Post:

President Biden & Congress: URGENT Request to Replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund-Support ALL Eligible Independent Restaurants & Bars NOW!!! #ReplenishRRF

Attachment 2 to Tweet:

Full Service Restaurant Magazine, May 19,2022:

“The original RRF received requests for more than $75 billion in funding. On average, restaurants asked for grants of roughly $207,000.

According to data released by the SBA, there were 72,568 “priority” applicants, roughly 72 percent, who received relief totaling $17,965,827,472.09. In all, less than a third of the largest grants went to prioritization groups and less than 10 percent went to non-priority businesses.

The SBA said 10,155 franchise locations received $2,649,675,046.00; six Hilton Hotel subsidiary locations collected $21,178,445.07; five Wyndham Hotel subsidiary locations took home $2,937,875.87; 85,406 businesses from urban areas received relief; and 15,598 businesses from rural areas received relief.

Nearly 70 entities received the RRF’s top draw—$10 million, including 15 wedding venues and caterers, eight airport and sports venue concessions companies, franchises from the quick-service industry’s largest brands, including Panera Bread and McDonald’s. Multiple events spaces and airport concession companies, as well as franchisees of Dunkin’, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chuck E. Cheese, Five Guys, and Jimmy John’s, collected grants within the $5 million to $10 million range.”

And 177,300 eligible restaurants and small businesses got NOTHING!!

Instead of distributing the total amount of funding between all of the approved, eligible entities, ‘The Greatest Country in the World” gave all of the money to approximately 1/3 of those approved and abandoned the rest. “Don’t worry, this is America, we’ll do the right thing,” many of us thought. But NOOOOO…… America is broken.

On April 14, 2022, after the Senate failed, the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) posted this on Twitter @IndpRestaurants:

Shortly after the Senate vote, IRC released the following statement:

Independent Restaurant Coalition Estimates Over 50% of Restaurants Could Close After Senate Fails to Pass Funding for Restaurant Revitalization Fund in 52 to 43 Vote

Independent Restaurants React to Senate Vote: “Local restaurants expected help and the Senate couldn’t finish the job” 

WASHINGTON D.C. — The Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) today reacted to the Senate’s failure to pass The Small Business COVID Relief Act (S.4008), sponsored by Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), which would have replenished the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) with $40 billion. The vote total was 52 to 43.

“Local restaurants across the country expected help but the Senate couldn’t finish the job,” said Erika Polmar, Executive Director of the Independent Restaurant Coalition. “Neighborhood restaurants nationwide have held out hope for this program, selling their homes, cashing out retirement funds, or taking personal loans in an effort to keep their employees working and their doors open. We estimate more than half of the 177,300 restaurants waiting for an RRF grant will close in the next few months as a result of Congressional inaction.”

Polmar continued: “The IRC was born out of the first and darkest days of the pandemic. Independent restaurants came together to create a strong collective voice. For two years that voice has spoken forcefully and effectively, advocating for relief. Now that same voice will fight for the issues critical to independent restaurants and will remain engaged in Washington, DC and local communities. And make no mistake, we will keep fighting for a sustainable future for independent restaurateurs, their employees, and the communities they support. We remain grateful to the elected officials and their staffs who have worked tirelessly for independent restaurants, including Majority Leader Schumer, Sens. Wicker, Cardin, and Sinema, Speaker Pelosi and Representatives Blumenauer and Fitzpatrick. There would be no Restaurant Revitalization Fund without their efforts and they will continue to be outspoken champions for neighborhood restaurants in Congress.”

At least 90,000 restaurants and bars have closed since the beginning of the pandemic. Almost 300,000 restaurants applied for RFF grants in 2021, but nearly 200,000 restaurants did not receive funding – 52% of which reported that they are on the verge of permanent closure if the RRF is not replenished. Ninety senators voted to create what became the Restaurant Revitalization Fund last February.

Earlier this week, ChowNow, Toast, and over twenty other businesses and trade associations penned an industry letter urging Congress to act quickly so that the tens of thousands of independent restaurants that did not receive relief could keep their doors open. The group of businesses and trade associations warned Congress that as many as four in five restaurants and bars are in danger of closing permanently, threatening the livelihoods of farmers, bakers, and thousands of employees.

The House of Representatives passed the Relief for Restaurants and Other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act (H.R. 3807) with a bipartisan vote in April which would have provided an additional $42 billion to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

A recent IRC survey of nearly 1,200 members of the independent restaurant and bar community in all 50 states found that more than half of businesses that did not get RRF grants will close within six months. The data also found that 49% of businesses that did not receive RRF grants were forced to lay off workers because of the Omicron surge compared to 33% of businesses that received RRF grants.

42% of businesses that did not receive RRF grants are in danger of filing for or have filed for bankruptcy, compared to just 20% that received RRF grants.
28% of businesses that did not receive RRF grants have received or are anticipating receiving an eviction notice compared to just 10% that received RRF grants.
Restaurant and bar owners who did not receive an RRF grant are taking on more personal debt. 41% of people that did not receive RRF reported taking out new personal loans to support their businesses since February of 2020. This is only true for 19% of businesses that received an RRF grant.
46% of businesses reported that their operating hours were impacted for more than 10 days in December 2021.
58% of businesses reported that their sales decreased by more than half in December 2021.
Full results of the survey can be found here.

 

ABOUT THE IRC:

The Independent Restaurant Coalition was formed by chefs and independent restaurant owners across the country who have built a grassroots movement to secure vital protections for the nation’s 500,000 independent restaurants and the more than 11 million restaurant and bar workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Restaurant Business Magazine, May 19, 2022:

SENATE SHOOTS DOWN BILL TO REPLENISH RESTAURANT REVITALIZATION FUND

The bill could not muster enough votes to get past a filibuster despite bipartisan support, effectively killing the legislation. By Jonathan Maze on May 19, 2022

“The U.S. Senate on Thursday ended the possibility of replenishing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund when a $48 billion bill to provide relief to small businesses hit by COVID restrictions could not generate enough votes to overcome a filibuster.

The bill would have added $40 billion to the RRF, which would have provided enough funding for some 177,000 restaurants that thought they’d receive aid last year but could not when the original fund ran out.”

National Restaurant Association May 19, 2022:

Hopes of Replenishing RRF Dashed by Senate
National Restaurant Association Statement on Small Business COVID Relief Act of 2022 vote

“Washington, D.C. (May 19, 2022) – Today, the U.S. Senate failed to advance the Small Business COVID Relief Act of 2022 (S. 4008), ending the possibility of replenishing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). The vote is a devastating blow to the restaurant industry and small business operators.

“Throughout the pandemic, restaurants focused on serving their communities. When government-mandated closures shuttered dining rooms, restaurants found a way to shift operating models and keep employees on the payroll. When first responders needed a hot meal, restaurants stepped in to help in cities and towns across the country,” said Michelle Korsmo, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “When Congress offered these restaurants the RRF lifeline, restaurant owners and operators made business decisions based on those commitments. Restaurants that are still trying to make up for what was lost in the pandemic today are struggling with workforce shortages, record-high inflation, and supply chain constraints. Today’s vote will further exacerbate those challenges and result in more economic hardships for the families and communities across the country that rely on the restaurant and foodservice industry.”

“Today, a Senate filibuster dashed the promise made to more than 177,000 small business owners in communities across the country” said Sean Kennedy, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the National Restaurant Association. “These restaurant owners believed the creation of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund was a down payment, and that the Senate would complete the mission with this vote. A bipartisan majority voted to begin debate on this critical legislation, but it wasn’t the 60 votes needed. While there are valid questions about government spending and inflation, restaurants should not be caught in the crossfire. We applaud the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), as well as Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) for their work in creating and pressing to replenish the RRF.”

The $48 billion Small Business COVID Relief Act of 2022 (S. 4008), introduced by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Roger Wicker (R-MS), included $40 billion for RRF replenishment and $8 billion in support for other industries deeply impacted by the pandemic. The House passed the Relief for Restaurants and other Hard Hit Small Businesses Act of 2022 (H.R. 3807), that included $42 billion to replenish the RRF, on April 7. Both political parties agreed that the RRF should be replenished but couldn’t reach a consensus on how to pay for it. Democrats generally wanted to treat replenishment as emergency spending, while Republicans generally wanted existing funds reallocated.

The American Rescue Plan established the RRF with $28.6 billion that Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) called a down payment to restaurants. More than 278,000 restaurants applied for funds from the RRF, but only 101,000 applications were funded before the Small Business Administration ran out of funding. By leaving 177,000 without aid, the Federal government essentially picked winners and losers, among direct competitors, based on chance, not need.

The program’s initial round of funding, which operators used primarily to pay off debt and meet payroll, was a resounding success. According to Association research(Opens in a new window), more than 900,000 restaurant jobs were saved, and 96% of recipients report that the funds helped their establishments remain open.

But those that did not receive funds are still languishing. In fact, 62% of operators says their restaurant accumulated additional debt since the beginning of the pandemic; 57% said their restaurant fell behind on expenses. Industry-wide, eating and drinking establishments lost $300 billion in sales the first year of the pandemic.

Even though the restaurant industry appears to be recovering from a consumer spending perspective, for restaurants, most of which operate on 3-5% pre-tax profit margins, the challenges continue to mount. Soaring food prices, supply chain constraints, and workforce shortages make it impossible for many restaurants to pay off debt that was accumulated during the pandemic.”

There is some quiet, distant chatter about ‘Budget Reconciliation’ reviving the chances of funding the eligible, but abandoned American restaurants and small businesses. Don’t hold your breath, our ‘leaders’ are too busy to care, ripping each other to shreds in the pursuit of ‘tribal’ power…

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