A few words from NMRA CEO Carol Wight:

Why is this 2018 election year important to your restaurant and why you are important to our collective voice?

This election year is important because the landscape of our elected officials is drastically changing — think California. Elected officials don’t understand how to manage a bottom line in the restaurant industry. It’s not their business to know. Our goal is to ask you to share our information with those candidates elected folks. We want them to have a better understanding of our industry and what motivates us as employers and community members.

Many newly elected officials and candidates have a particular agenda.

They are trying to solve New Mexico’s poverty problems with an agenda that is particularly impactful to restaurants. Just to name a few of these agenda items: $12 to $15 minimum wage, sick leave, no tip credit, restrictive scheduling, soda tax and liquor tax.

These are all issues that affect restaurants disproportionately because we have so many employees. And many of them are entry-level first-time employees. 1/3 of all New Mexicans get their first job in a restaurant.

Restaurants would love to provide these benefits to employees, but our business model just doesn’t allow for additional costs. Most restaurants exist very close to break even. More costs mean higher prices and many restaurants don’t feel like it’s possible to increase prices and stay in business.

The general public believes that the average restaurant owner makes a 40% to 60% profit.

We all know how difficult the industry is and that the average profit in restaurants is really 5%. That means 95 cents of every dollar that comes into a restaurant goes out in the food, the employees and the place.  At the end of the day there is not much money, if any, left.

It’s up to all of us to share as much as we can with these elected officials in this 2018 election year so they understand our position when we fight a $15 minimum wage.

To your elected official an increase in minimum wage is just $5 more than the $7.50 we are paying now – (except in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces, where the rate is more than $7.50). To a restaurant it means an annual payroll increase of $9,360 per employee ($4.50 increase X 2080 full time hours). Then you multiply that by the number of employees you have and BOOM! It would mean more than $93,600 a year for a small restaurant with 10 employees. That’s a lot of enchiladas! For most restaurants that is way more than their profit in a year.

The math is simple but many people don’t understand the math of payrolls. It is up to us to show them. (If you are inclined, you might even share your financial statement to prove that you are being honest with the numbers.)

Keep in mind over the last few years we had the executive branch vetoing the most egregious of anti-business legislation. A statewide minimum wage of $11.00 an hour comes to mind. NMRA was not pushing this legislation but we were not opposed as it phased in the wage over time. We may not have a sympathetic Governor as a backstop in the future so it is up to us to help legislators and local officials understand how their actions affect our business.

I urge you to join our grassroots coalition in this 2018 election year and educate elected officials on how their actions affect your restaurant business in their backyard. ALL POLITICS ARE LOCAL!

You ARE our local representative.

P.S. NMRA is the “voice” of the restaurant industry but it’s made up of 1,100 individual voices/members.

You are not always going to agree on the positions taken by our organization but rest assured we do our best to represent the collective industry in New Mexico. Our positions are carefully vetted through member surveys, intense board discussions and always go back to our Mission Statement: To empower the food and beverage industry by promoting and protecting common values and interests. Where restaurants may have conflicting interests or differing values we sometimes have to recuse the association from representing the industry. 28 NMRA board members come from around the state and represent different segments of the industry.

Please join us for a FREE webinar on Wednesday, July 18, 2018 from 3pm to 4pm to discuss very important topics like the $15 minimum wage, 5-days of sick leave for all your employees, loss of the tip credit, soda tax and liquor tax and much more. Please REGISTER today!

Feel free to contact Carol for more information or if you have any questions or call 505-343-9848. Visit New Mexico Restaurant Association for more blogs on for July’s theme of “All Politics Are Local”, calendar of events and more.