In a letter sent earlier in March, Today the National Restaurant Association outlined to Congressional leaders the current state of the restaurant/foodservice industry, asserting it is “fueling the economy,” and advised the elected officials of policy priorities “where their support could make a wide and positive impact for restaurant operators and the industry workforce,” a press release from the Association said.
In its highlights of the 2023 State of the Restaurant Industry(Opens in a new window) , the Association noted that the industry is “forecasted to hit $997 billion in sales and add 500,000 new jobs in 2023.” It went on to say that the “restaurant and foodservice industry is fueling the American economy. Its hiring rate and wage increases are outpacing the overall private sector, and this year it is expected to contribute nearly $1 trillion to the economy.”
In addition, the Association forecasts that “the industry will add 500,000 jobs – bringing total industry employment to 15.5. million by the end of 2023, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.”
Sean Kennedy, executive vice president for Public Affairs at the National Restaurant Association, said, “Restaurants are the cornerstone of every community, providing jobs, adding to the local tax base, and supporting the region. Any investment Congress can make to support these small business owners can have a wide and positive impact right now.”
To help power this growth, the Association identified these issues where Congress could make a difference:
Create opportunity to expand the nation’s workforce:
- Establish a non-immigrant essential worker program by supporting the Essential Workers for Economic Advancement Act (EWEA).
- Strengthen existing visa programs by raising the cap on H-2B visas and providing an exemption for returning workers, and expediting processing times for EB-3 and J1 visas.
- Provide clarity and a permanent fix to individuals already living in the U.S.
- Shorten the waiting period for asylum seekers to receive employment authorizations.
Support changes that will help bring down the cost of doing business:
1. Advance the “Credit Card Competition Act” to stem skyrocketing swipe fees.
2. Permanently restore the business interest deduction to reduce tax burdens.
3. Scrutinize labor rules from the National Labor Relations Board.
Stabilize and expand the food supply chain:
- Fund agricultural development and insurance programs in the Farm Bill.
2. Bolster the Restaurant Meals Program.
3. Unravel tariffs that spike costs throughout the restaurant value chain.
Kennedy said, “These actions will provide greater economic stability and have an overwhelmingly positive impact on businesses and workers in neighborhoods across the country. Even incremental changes can fuel economic growth in our industry – which will spread in our communities and down the supply chain. Congress can act in a way that will improve restaurant choice, employment, and investment in every area of the country.”
Read the full letter, including details on each of the policies, here(Opens in a new window)