Dear MRA Members,

The past few days have been some of the most stressful and anxiety-ridden days our industry has faced in recent memory and possibly ever. There is no blue-print for what we are all dealing with, but I am confident that we are the most resilient industry regardless of the challenges thrown at us and I know we will all come out on the other side of this.

Earlier this week, we sent a lengthy list of resources for the industry. If you missed that email, it can be found here .

Please find an update on the collective efforts that are on-going:
Government Intervention
Earlier today, the MRA Board of Directors, and co-signors from across the industry, sent a letter to the Governor, Lt Governor, Senate President and Speaker of the House requesting immediate relief for our industry. Included in that letter were recommendations to:
  • Streamline UI process as layoffs/self-quarantine are imminent.
  • Increase the limits from the $600 maximum UI payment temporarily.
  • Temporarily allow restaurants to hold and utilize Meals Tax collections to pay employees, bills and stay open for business. This would be month to month and repayment or over relief is TBD.
  • In addition, we are asking for closure on the state of emergency so that businesses can possibly utilize possible insurance claims.

We are working with the State Treasurer’s office to possibly relax (either by order or by non-enforcement) the legal 60-day credit terms from alcoholic beverage wholesalers to on premise liquor licensed liquor establishments. This would allow (but not require) our wholesale partners to grant longer credit terms.

Governor Baker Issues Order Limiting Large Gatherings in the Commonwealth, restaurants are exempt
  • Most gatherings of over 250 people will be prohibited.
  • The order includes, but is not limited, to the following events: community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based events, sporting events with spectators, concerts, conventions, fundraisers, parades, fairs, festivals, and any similar event or activity that brings together 250 or more persons in a single room or single space at the same time in a venue such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, theatre, or any other confined indoor or outdoor space.
  • The Order does not apply to restaurants, provided that they should, when possible, encourage social distancing.
  • We have been promoting this practice in our industry for the last few days since guest counts may be down, remove tables and provide increased distance between guests. Consider marketing to customers that you are implementing this practice.
To see the full order click here.
Social Media Efforts
As we have mentioned, we are in un-chartered waters, however we still must be mindful about how we are promoting our business and/or our specials. Words are important, and we should be careful of how we are messaging our customers. While we can’t be the PR agency for the entire industry, the MRA collectively with IUC will be happy to review, assist and suggest proper messaging for any members that may need help.

Sample language that could be used:
“We want to thank you for your continued patronage and your support of our restaurants. We’re here to serve you whether you choose to dine with us in the restaurant or at home. We offer takeout, online ordering and gift certificates for your convenience.”

“As Restaurants throughout the Commonwealth, as always, we have stepped up to accommodate customers such as the new “At-the-Door” take-out options, dine-in incentives and purchasing gift cards. Please support your restaurant community.”

Multiple social media efforts have been launched to help our industry:
#supportlocalr estaurants

3rd Party Delivery Response
Grubhub on Friday announced it will temporarily forgo commissions on the meals it delivers from independent restaurants in certain markets as a way of helping those businesses contend with the coronavirus epidemic. The delivery service also pledged to establish a fund to assist drivers and restaurants whose incomes have dropped because of the crisis.
Massachusetts Restaurant Association
160 East Main Street, Suite 2, Westborough, MA 01581
Phone: (508) 303-9905