Plan Endorsed By Noted Boston Restaurateurs Michael Serpa of Select Oyster Bar and Cassandria Campbell of Fresh Food Generation
BOSTON – Monday, March 29, 2021 – Today, Boston City Councilor and Mayoral candidate Andrea Campbell released a Restaurant Recovery Plan, laying out a clear vision for how Boston can better support its restaurant industry, which has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Boston’s restaurants ground us in the city’s rich cultural diversity and international identity, and are a key part of why people choose to live in the City,” said Councilor Campbell. “They are the site of our first date with our future partner, the places we gather with friends and family to celebrate milestones, and where co-workers become lifelong friends. The restaurant industry is also the nation’s second largest private employer, creating low-barrier employment opportunities and driving economic activity in our neighborhoods. Boston must do more to support restaurants through the remainder of the pandemic, and to accelerate a rapid recovery of our restaurant industry as soon as the pandemic is over.”
Councilor Campbell’s plan was created in partnership with and is supported by a number of Boston’s most noted chefs and restaurant owners, including Michael Serpa, chef and partner at Select Oyster Bar in Back Bay, Grand Tour in Back Bay, and Atlántico in the South End; and Cassandria Campbell, founding partner of Fresh Food Generation in Roxbury.
“As one of the hardest hit industries that is also one of the largest employers in Boston, restaurants need real leadership with proactive plans and support from the City to recover and help our economy and workforce bounce back,” said Michael Serpa. “Andrea’s restaurant recovery plan was built in partnership with industry leaders and is a refreshing and creative approach that sets clear goals and strategies to help restaurants recover, reduce barriers to entry and opening and reopening, and allow restaurants to drive economic growth and build neighborhood connectivity.”
“I am excited by Andrea’s vision for supporting and growing a diverse and inclusive restaurant industry in Boston. Andrea’s plan outlines short and long term strategies to not only help restaurants recover, but also grow in the aftermath of this difficult pandemic year,” said Cassandria Campbell. “Restaurants help residents feel connected to their neighborhoods and each other and are a tool in creating community across neighborhood lines and cultures. We need a mayor who will spur economic development and opportunity for entrepreneurs of color and women and Andrea is that leader.”
Councilor Campbell’s plan includes a number of elements to provide restaurants with immediate relief during the pandemic, including waiving liquor license fees for 2022, capping third-party delivery fees at 15%, helping restaurants fight food insecurity, and making the COVID-19 vaccine accessible for restaurant workers.
Rebuilding our restaurant industry provides Boston with an opportunity to break down barriers that have made it far too difficult for independent operators, people of color, women, and immigrants to open their own restaurants in the past. Councilor Campbell’s plan calls for a number of changes that will strengthen Boston’s restaurant industry in the long-run, by reducing red tape and removing barriers to access. These include:
Establishing a Hospitality Division in City Hall. Opening a new restaurant in the City can be borderline impossible for an independent operator, especially someone doing it for the first time. Currently, operators are required to get permits and inspections from a number of separate departments, all of which have different application and inspection processes. By aligning relevant positions in City departments under one centralized division, Andrea will reduce red tape, create a one-stop-shop to efficiently and effectively guide restaurant owners, and holistically support food entrepreneurship across the city.
Convening a Hospitality Advisory Council. Andrea knows that hospitality professionals understand the needs of the restaurant industry best. As Mayor, she will create a 15-member Advisory Council to advise on hospitality industry policy recommendations. This Council will have designated representatives from each facet of the industry and represent a diversity of businesses by neighborhoods.
Expanding Open Streets across the City. Boston has twenty main streets districts, and Andrea envisions them serving as destinations, not throughways. Andrea will invest in street projects that serve to connect our neighborhoods, prioritize communal gatherings, build social connectivity and cohesion, and increase economic activity in partnership with independent restaurants, small retail, and diverse operators. Andrea will build on the success of Open Newbury Street (a pilot program that closed Newbury Street to cars) in other neighborhoods such as Hanover Street in the North End, Harvard Ave in Allston and in business districts in communities of color. She will expand pilot programs that open streets to people, support our local restaurants and nightlife, and create placemaking events like the Mattapan Jazz & Unity Festival, Porchfest, and more.
Building a pipeline of hospitality leaders through BPS vocational education programs. Andrea will prioritize partnerships between vocational schools and restaurants to create career pathways for young Bostonians. Robust internship and externship programs and systematic programming will provide important workforce training for a pipeline of skilled industry professionals, connect Boston Public Schools students with the restaurant and food service industry, and create long-term career pathways for Boston’s youth.
Reforming the liquor licensing process. Perhaps the greatest barrier to equity in the hospitality industry is Boston’s antiquated system of liquor licensing, which makes it next to impossible for an independent restaurant operator to get a liquor license without an up-front, six-figure investment. This policy has created a system where just a handful of Boston’s 1,100 liquor licenses are Black-owned. In Andrea’s home neighborhood of Mattapan, there is not a single liquor-serving restaurant. As Mayor, Andrea will convene stakeholders to explore a number of solutions to reform Boston’s inequitable licensing system.
Campbell’s restaurant recovery plan is an extension of her economic recovery plan, released in February, which details strategies to drive an equitable recovery from COVID-19, make it easier to do business in Boston especially for small businesses and entrepreneurs, close Boston’s profound racial wealth gap, and capitalize on Boston’s unique innovative and entrepreneurial strengths to grow with local talent.
Campbell has also released comprehensive policy plans on transportation, environmental justice, public safety and criminal justice, education, and public health, including a COVID-19 recovery plan and a plan to address the crisis at Mass & Cass.
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