Main content starts here, tab to start navigating

October 29 – LETTER: IRC Urges Presidential Candidates to Commit to Passing the RESTAURANTS Act When the Election is Over.

Biden & Trump

Dear President Donald J. Trump and Hon. Joseph R. Biden,

Every four years, Republican and Democratic candidates for elected office visit our dining rooms, coffee shops, ice cream parlors, and bars to talk with voters. They sit in front of television cameras, bright lights, and microphones to talk about how they love local restaurants and how, as president, they will do everything they can to help small businesses and the people they employ.

This campaign season is different. Visits to independent restaurants are no longer featured in political ads or the nightly news at a time when our industry is in crisis. Restaurants lost over $220 billion dollars in revenue in the second quarter of this year, or 10% of the total GDP loss. Many of us are still closed for business, leaving over 2.5 million people unemployed and putting millions more at risk of permanent unemployment. In fact, more than one in five jobs lost since February have come from restaurants and bars, more losses than any other industry during the pandemic.

The Paycheck Protection Program helped offset costs for some of us and outdoor dining has allowed many restaurants to keep their doors open these past few months with some of our employees working. Most of us, however, are just accumulating more debt as dramatically reduced revenues fail to cover our unchanging overhead costs for things like rent, supplies, and permits. Some of our costs are increasing, including that of PPE and takeout containers.

By election day, cool temperatures will make outdoor dining impossible for many and – without a widely available vaccine – we cannot sustain our businesses with socially distanced indoor dining alone. We will be forced to close our doors again, sending hundreds of thousands of workers to unemployment, sinking our GDP, and leaving farmers, butchers, fishers and other local industries that supply restaurants no choice but to close shop forever.

Our businesses are the lifeblood of local economies, serving as the first job for over a million single mothers and a disproportionately high number of young American workers. We employ more non-white managers than any other industry, giving immigrants a shot at the American dream. Collectively our businesses are the second largest private sector employer in America– roughly 3.1 million jobs are on the line in Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin alone. Without immediate action from Congress and the White House, all of that is at risk.

Voters in our communities will soon decide who will serve as President of the United States for the next four years and they are carefully watching what you are proposing to help our national and local economies recover from COVID-19. Former Vice President Biden, you have said “building back better means helping small businesses and entrepreneurs come out the other side of this crisis strong.” And President Trump, you told a voter during a ABC townhall in September that you “would like to see additional stimulus for people [who are struggling when] it wasn't their fault.”

This situation is not our fault. We have done everything possible to keep our doors open and our teams fully employed– but it’s not enough. Despite the crisis, neither of your campaigns has put forward a plan specifically designed to help independent restaurants nor endorsed the only bipartisan plan in Congress that does just that. If you want the support of small business owners and their employees, you need to earn it.

Our restaurants cannot wait until after the election– or after inauguration day– to see what happens. The over 16 million people employed by independent restaurants will not forget the politicians who kept kicking the can down the road– this is a crisis and we are out of options. With the seasons changing, we are deciding now whether we can afford to keep 11 million people employed and continue to fuel local economies.

Restaurants need you to lead by holding members accountable to passing a bipartisan relief program like the RESTAURANTS Act that has already passed in the House as part of the HEROES Act and has the bipartisan support of over 40 U.S. Senators. That’s because it’s commonsense policy that would decrease unemployment by up to 2.4% and contribute at least $270 billion back to the economy.

America’s 500,000 independent restaurants and bars cannot serve as the backdrop of your campaign’s political advertisements this year, but they do form an economic backbone of a nation you both have served.

Give this crisis the weight it merits in the final days of the campaign and commit to passing the RESTAURANTS Act when the election is over.


Restaurant owners, line cooks, baristas, maintenance staff and other employees from 189 restaurants in Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin including:


Barry Gutin

Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, Fort Lauderdale & Orlando

Ignacio Garcia-Menocal

Glass & Vine, Miami

Mi’talia Kitchen & Bar, Miami

Red Rooster Overtown, Miami

Root & Bone, Miami

Public Square, Miami

Los Chinos, Miami

Stiltsville Fish Bar, Miami Beach

Stubborn Seed, Miami Beach

Michelle Bernstein

Michelle Bernstein Catering, Miami

Sunil Bhatt

Michael’s Genuine, Miami

Harry’s Pizzeria, Miami

Ella, Miami

Amara at Paraiso, Miami


Andrea Forbing

Zingerman's Mail Order, Ann Arbor

Ari Weinzweig

Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Ann Arbor

Zingerman’s Candy Manufactory, Ann Arbor

Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Ann Arbor

Zingerman’s Delicatessen, Ann Arbor

Zingerman’s Coffee Company, Ann Arbor

Cornman Farms, Dexter

Zingerman's, Ann Arbor

Audrey Wolfe

Zingerman's, Ann Arbor

Ayah Tillawi

Zingerman’s Roadhouse , Ann Arbor

Barb Kraft

Zingerman's, Ann Arbor

Belinda Armstronh

Zingerman’s, Ann Arbor

Bob Bennett

Zingerman's Roadhouse, Ann Arbor

Christine Krause

Zingermans Deli, Ann Arbor

Christopher Freitas

Zingermans Roadhouse, Ann Arbor

Daan Berks

Zingerman's Delicatessen, Ann Arbor

Ethan Seelig

Zingerman's Next Door, Ann Arbor

Eve Zikmund-Fisher

Zingerman's Bakehouse, Ann Arbor

Grace Singleton

Zingerman's Delicatessen, Ann Arbor

Hazim Tugun

Zingerman's Bakehouse, Ann Arbor

Jacob Danek

Zingerman's Delicatessen, Ann Arbor

Jaison Restrick

Zingerman's Bakehouse, Ann Arbor

Jamie Gray

Zingerman's, Ann Arbor

Jeff Lobdel

Pete’s Grill & Tavern, Byron Center

Beltline Bar & Café, Grand Rapids

Sundance Grill & Bar, Grand Rapids

Grand Coney Diner, Grand Rapids

Rockwell & Republic, Grand Rapids

Bagel Beanery, Grand Rapids & Kalamazoo

The Omelette Shoppe, Grand Rapids & Traverse City

Red Geranium, Grand Rapids & Wyoming

Boone’s Prime Time Pub, Suttons Bay

Apache Trout Grill, , Traverse City

Flap Jack Shack, Traverse City & Lansing

Noble Restaurant, Wyoming

Jenny Tubbs

Zingerman's, Ann Arbor

Jill Robinson

Zingerman's Bakehouse, Ann Arbor

Judith Cassel

Zingerman's Coffee Company, Ann Arbor

Katrina Betz

Zingerman's Bakehouse, Ann Arbor

Zingerman's Cake Studio, Ann Arbor

Kevin Bowker

Zingerman's Delicatessen , Ann Arbor

Kimberly Green

Zingerman's Roadhouse, Ann Arbor

Leslie Mortimer

Cornman Farms, Dexter

Lisa Schultz

Zingerman's Roadhouse, Ann Arbor

Martha Throckmorton

Zingerman's Mail Order, Ann Arbor

Megan Wiltse

Zingerman's Mail Order, Ann Arbor

Melaina Bukowski

Zingerman's, Ann Arbor

Meredith Davis

Zingerman‚ Roadhouse, Ann Arbor

Michelle Abbey

Zingerman's Coffee Company, Ann Arbor

Pattie Lambka

Zingerman's, Ann Arbor

Paul Swaney

Zingerman's, Ann Arbor

Samantha Brinkman

Zingerman's, Ann Arbor

Sharon Kramer

Zingerman's Roadhouse, Ann Arbor

Tara Stow

Zingerman's Candy Manufactory, Ann Arbor

Timo Anderson

Zingerman's, Ann Arbor

Victoria Huyck

Zingerman's, Ann Arbor

William Schork

Zingerman's, Ann Arbor

Yonathan Guthmann

Zingerman's , Ann Arbor


Andrea Reusing

Lantern, Chapel Hill

April Moon Harper

Sunny Point Cafe, Asheville

Brendan Reusing

All Souls Pizza, Asheville

Brian Dennehy

City Bakery, Fletcher & Asheville

Carole Bowers

Carmel's Kitchen & Bar, Asheville

Carolyn Roy

Biscuit Head, Asheville

Dan Rattigan

French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Asheville

Danielle Porco

Acme Food & Beverage Co., Carrboro

Plum Southern Kitchen & Bar, Durham

Heyday Brewing, Raleigh

Carrboro United, Carrboro

Elizabeth Button

La Bodega by Curate, Asheville

Curate, Asheville

Emily Thome

67 Biltmore downtown eatery & catering, Asheville

Francesca Mason

Acme Food & Beverage Co., Carrboro

Carrboro United , Carrboro

Plum & Company, Durham

Gray Brooks

Pizzeria Toro, Durham

Littler, Durham

Jack Tar, Durham

Jael Rattigan

French abroad Chocolate Lounge , Asheville

Jay Weatherly

High Five Coffee, Asheville

Jeff Miller

Luella's Bar-B-Que, Asheville

Joe Scully

Corner Kitchen, Asheville

Chestnut, Asheville

Joel Mowrey

Smoking J's Fiery Foods, Candler

John Fleer

Rhubarb, The Rhu, Benne on Eagle, Asheville

Karen Donatelli

Karen Donatelli Bakery, Asheville

Kate Bannasch

Copper Crown, Asheville

Tastee Diner, Asheville

Katie Button

La Bodega by Curate, Asheville

Cúrate, Asheville

Kevin Callaghan

Acme Food & Beverage Co., Carrboro

Kirsten Fuchs

Baked Pie Company, Woodfin

Baked Pie Company, Arden

Leonardo Williams

Zweli’s Kitchen and Catering, Durham

Lillianna Woody

Isis Restaurant & Music Hall, Asheville

Lucia Gray

Little Jumbo, Asheville

Matthew Kelly

Mateo Tapas, Durham

Saint James, Durham

Mothers & Sons, Durham

Lucky's, Durham

Meherwan Irani

Chai Pani, Asheville

Melissa Lausch

Carmel's Kitchen & Bar, Asheville

Michael Rangel

Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co, Asheville

Michelle Alexander

Sunny Point Cafe, Asheville

Peter Montague

Zambra, Asheville

Peter Pollay

Posana, Asheville

Bargello, Asheville

District 42, Asheville

Philip Bollhoefer

The Montford Rooftop Bar, Asheville

Randy Talley

Green Sage Cafe, Asheville

Reza Setayesh

Bimberibon, Asheville

Richard Cundiff

Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack, Asheville

Rob Duckworth

Duckworth's, Charlotte

Link & Pin, Charlotte

The Cellar , Charlotte

Sandi Kronick

Happy Dirt, Durham

Sherrye Coggiola

The Cantina @ Biltmore, Asheville

Trenton Shank

Plum, Durham

Tricia Mesigian

Orange County Social Club, Carrboro

Wesley Eason

Sunburst Trout Farms, Waynesville

William Klingel

Oyster House Brewing Company, West Asheville

Zoë Dehmer

Acme Food & Beverage Co., Carrboro


Barry Gutin (continued)

Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, Philadelphia

Ellen Yin

Fork, Philadelphia

High Street Philly, Philadelphia, Philadelphia

Kayla Bolyai

Alma de Cuba, Philadelphia

Barclay Prime, Philadelphia

Buddakan, Philadelphia

Butcher and Singer, Philadelphia

The Continental Restaurant and Martini Bar, Philadelphia

The Continental, Philadelphia

The Dandelion, Philadelphia

El Rey, Philadelphia

El Vez, Philadelphia

Fette Sau, Philadelphia

Frankford Hall, Philadelphia

Jones, Philadelphia

Morimoto, Philadelphia

Parc, Philadelphia

Pod, Philadelphia

Serpico, Philadelphia

Pizzeria Stella, Philadelphia

Talula’s Daily, Philadelphia

Talula’s Garden, Philadelphia

The Love, Philadelphia


Adrienne Pierluissi

Sugar Maple , Milwaukee

AJ Dixon

Lazy Susan MKE, Milwaukee

Erick Disbrow

Palomino bar, Milwaukee

Amy Kerstein

Blue's Egg, Milwaukee

Story Hill BKC, Milwaukee

Maxie's, Milwaukee

Andrew Gehl

Third Space Brewing, Milwaukee

Andrew Menchal

Honeypie Café, Milwaukee

Palomino Bar, Milwaukee

SmallPie, Milwaukee

Anthony F. Balistreri

SALA Modern Sicilian, Milwaukee

Anthony J. Balistreri

SALA Modern Sicilian, Milwaukee

Beth Graf

My Family Roots catering , Milwaukee

Bryan Phillips

Foxfire Food Truck, Milwaukee

Cameryne Roberts

LuLu Cafe and Bar , Milwaukee

Chris Tinker

Three lions pub, Milwaukee

Red Lion Pub, Milwaukee

Daniel Jacobs

Dandan Restaurant, Milwaukee

Dan Nowak

Tall Guy and a Grill Catering, Milwaukee

Derek Petersen

Honeypie cafe, Milwaukee

Don Kreuser

SALA Modern Sicilian, Milwaukee

Elisabeth Duggan

Cloud Red, Shorewood

Emily Dell

The Cooperage and Boone & Crockett, Milwaukee

George Mireles

Cafe Corazon, Milwaukee

Gregory Leon

Amilinda , Milwaukee

James McCann

The Vanguard, Milwaukee

Jon East

Twisted Path Distillery, Milwaukee

Jason Kerstein

Blue's Egg, Milwaukee

Story Hill BKC, Milwaukee

Maxie's, Milwaukee

John Dye

Bryant's Cocktail Lounge, Milwaukee

At Random, Milwaukee

The Jazz Estate, Milwaukee

John J. Clark

Public Table, West Allis

Jordan Aberman

3 Sheeps Brewing Company, Sheboygan

Justin Carlisle

Ardent, Milwaukee

Red Light Ramen, Milwaukee

The Laughing Taco, Milwaukee

Karen Bell

Bavette La Boucherie, Milwaukee

Katy Lochmann

Voyager Wine & Cocktail, Milwaukee

Kristyn Eitel

BelAir Cantina, Milwaukee

BelAir Cantina, Oak Creek

BelAir Cantina, Wauwatosa

BelAir Cantina, Brookfield

BelAir Cantina, Madison

Hi Hat Lounge, Milwaukee

Hi Hat Garage, Milwaukee

Fuel Café, Milwaukee

Balzac Wine Bar, Milwaukee

Comet Café, Milwaukee

Kurt Jensen

8th Street Ale Haus , Sheboygan

Maggie Reid

Foxfire Food Truck, Milwaukee

Margaret Williams-Smith

VISIT Milwaukee, Milwaukee

Mary Balistreri Kreuser

SALA Modern Sicilian, Milwaukee

Meagan Lewinski

Honeypie Café, Milwaukee

Palomino, Milwaukee

Smallpie, Milwaukee

Melissa Buchholz

Odd Duck, Milwaukee

Micah Buck

Voyager Wine & Cocktail, Milwaukee

Randolph Oskey

8th Street Ale Haus , Sheboygan

Rebecca Loewen

Cloud Red, Shorewood

Ross Bachhuber

Odd Duck, Milwaukee

Samantha Kassel

Fred's Frozen Custard & Grill, Milwaukee

Scott Lucey

Wonderstate Coffee, Milwaukee

Suzzette Metcalfe

The Pasta Tree Restaurant & Wine Bar, Milwaukee

Teresa Balistreri Warsh

SALA Modern Sicilian, Milwaukee

Tony Lewanovich

Champps-Brookfield, Brookfield

Tim Thompson

The Flying Hound Alehouse, Fitchburg

Valeri Lucks

Honeypie Café, Milwaukee

Honeypie Bakeshop, Milwaukee

Palomino, Milwaukee

SmallPie, Milwaukee

Wendy Mireles

Cafe Corazon, Milwaukee