Commercial Real Estate & Advisory

OPINION: The inside views that had our readers talking last year

Real Estate Weekly | By REW | January 22, 2020

How the SLA hurts New York Cityʼs
restaurant industry
— Steve Rappaport, Sinvin Realty

The restaurant business is New York is thriving. Fueled by media attention, going to dinner is a cultural phenomenon. It’s a bright spot in a difficult leasing environment, “experiential retail” at its best.

Amazon can’t yet replace the sensibility of eating in an atmospheric spot. Perhaps some day there will be drones dropping off meals and attendant virtual reality environments. Until then, restaurants large and small can continue to buzz.

However, there are troubles in the hospitality world.

The rise in the minimum wage provides much needed help for workers, but also takes a significant toll on restaurant owners.

A discussion of why the state can’t step in and help entrepreneurs struggling to carry the burden of social welfare, is for another article.

This article focuses on the disastrous implications of the New York State Liquor Authority’s massive bureaucratic slowdown to process liquor license applications and issue liquor licenses.

The results of this seemingly systematic slowdown are often tragic. Wages are lost for hundreds of restaurant workers; from chefs to line cooks to busboys, front of house managers to bartenders and wait staff.

There are numerous instances of restaurants closing before they can open. Investments are lost, dreams shattered.

Those involved in the hospitality business must organize.