This past year has thrown a lot of challenges at the restaurant industry across New York State, and the New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA) has worked tirelessly every step of the way to fight for the interests of our members. Those efforts resulted in a number of key wins that protected restaurants and workers across the state, as well as meaningful changes that have strengthened the industry.
NYSRA has fought, and is still fighting, a long battle to save the tip credit for front-of-house employees, expanded our core service offerings for our members, and undergone significant restructuring of our organization in order to better support the needs of members and the interests of the restaurant industry. And now we’re focused on what’s next.
For those of you who stopped by our booth at the New York Restaurant Show in early March, you heard about this firsthand from our staff. NYSRA has made strides to keep pace with the changes in our industry and to refine our organization to best meet the needs of members and the restaurant industry both today and well into the future.
For those of you that didn’t get a chance to chat with me or someone from the NYSRA team, I’d like to outline here some of the major new initiatives that we have launched.
The Association has identified four core service areas as the pillars of member support: GROW, SAVE, ADVOCATE and PROTECT. Each pillar is specifically designed to address member needs and assist our members in achieving and maintaining success within their restaurant.
Our first pillar, GROW, was created to drive professional development, which NYSRA provides through webinars and seminars where members learn best practices in restaurant marketing, selling, finance and operations that will increase their sales and profits. The NYSRA GROW team hosted their first webinar on February 20 and had a high participation rate. We are very excited to be hosting webinars each month, and holding our first seminar in April!
The second pillar, SAVE, helps restaurants in cutting costs through member programs that offer the best insurance rates, group discounts and rebates on items that they likely already buy. In this past year, member savings totaled over $5 million.
Our third pillar, ADVOCATE, is focused on effective lobbying and advocacy efforts to help shield the restaurant industry from costly laws and changing regulations. In the last year, NYSRA has been instrumental in advocating to preserve the tip credit in New York, ensuring that restaurant owners and workers are protected from an overreaching proposal that would devastate the industry.
PROTECT, the final pillar, works to provide members with the best training solutions possible for staff. Proper training reduces workplace risk and protects businesses. Most recently, NYSRA worked closely with ServSafe®, the industry standard for staff training, to offer comprehensive sexual harassment prevention training that meets NYS and NYC requirements – and is mobile-friendly and available on demand. Other ServSafe® training courses provided include food safety, alcohol and allergens. NYSRA members get ServSafe® courses at a discounted price.
In the midst of all this innovation, our team also decided to re-brand, and we are delighted to release NYSRA’s new brand identity – which better reflects who we are today.
NYSRA is more energized and focused than ever, and ready to take on the challenges faced by our industry and to offer the highest level of support possible to members.
Melissa Fleischut is the President & CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association.