As New York City restaurants deal with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, they may find themselves overwhelmed by the many steps they need to take to get and keep their doors open. Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, and his team have put together a comprehensive, up-to-the-minute recovery resource guide for restaurateurs.
Rigie, who has been organizing outreach efforts on behalf of the Alliance, says, “Different hospitality businesses have been impacted to different degrees. Business owners are asking what are the resources out there, how can I get back open, what can I do about my insurance claims, and what kinds of loans are available.” This guide lists resources for each of those concerns. The Alliance’s efforts extend beyond the guide, naturally. Because of limited power and cell service in Manhattan, he and his team are using social media to reach restaurateurs in need, as well as pounding the pavement and disseminating information. They are also working to coordinate the efforts of restaurateurs interested in helping to feed the hungry.
Where should a restaurateur begin recovery? “First, safety should be the number one concern,” Rigie cautions restaurant operators. “If you’re concerned about your safety or that of your employees, get in touch with the City for assistance. If you’re not sure how to do that, get in touch with us.” Attention should then turn to food safety precautions and reaching out to insurance brokers, making sure to carefully document damage and file claims correctly.
Even restaurants that have been fully operational for several days are meeting challenges, regarding phone and Internet access, and, also, staffing. “Employees want to work, but it’s been getting difficult for many of them to get to the restaurants,” Rigie notes. “Some businesses are using delivery trucks to pick up employees or are offering to reimburse workers for transportation costs,” until transportation systems are fully restored.
Whether businesses have missed a day of service or are facing weeks of recovery efforts, Rigie notes, “The restaurant industry is a penny business. Missing a few days of business — or more than a week of business — is devastating.” He urges everyone to dine out often. “Restaurants serve their neighborhoods day in and day out, and, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, it is important that New Yorkers patronize and support their local restaurants. They are in a time of economic crisis and any money they can bring in will support the long-term viability of the businesses, keep their employees on their payrolls, and help rebuild the hospitality landscape that New York City is famous for.”
The New York City Hospitality Alliance is holding a FREE three-part hurricane relief seminar for restaurateurs on Monday, November 5, 2012, 2:30PM-4:30PM, at 230 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor (between 26th + 27th Streets), New York, New York. Space is limited; please RSVP to nscott@theNYCAlliance.org.