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From Waffle House Index to What You Need to Know Now



The Waffle House Index is a real guide used by FEMA to gage the stage of a crisis, usually one that's weather-driven. Because he family dining chain is open 24/7 and only closes its doors in extreme situations, it's been a pretty accurate measurement. For instance, in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina it closed 107 restaurants, it’s all-time high. Pundits are now reeling because during our current pandemic, the chain has closed 365 restaurants. But to put it all in perspective, there are still 1,627 open as of March 25. The majority are located in the southeast part of the country, and remember some states are mandating restaurants close all in-restaurant dining.

From HospitalityMN eblast:

Minnesota’s Peacetime Small Business and Independent Contractor Loan Program: APPLY NOW! 

Aimed at providing immediate assistance for small businesses and independent contractors by bridging the gap until the SBA Disaster Loans and other federal assistance.

  • $30M fund to provide loans in amounts between $2,500 and $35,000; 0% interest; long-term repayment; and up to 50% forgivable. Loans will begin going out as soon as this week. 
  • Allows cities and counties with revolving loan funds with the state to issue loans. The estimated value of those funds is $28 million, which brings the Minnesota total available to $58M. 

To learn more and to apply 

The National Restaurant Association cancelled its annual show at McCormick Place in Chicago, originally scheduled for May 16-19. Football great Paton Manning was to have been the keynote speaker.

Worth Repeating

Once a world of smokes, Cokes and salty snacks, convenience stores have morphed into something different, something almost unthinkable even a decade ago: a place for dining and a viable alternative to traditional quick-service restaurants.

Analyst Bonnie Riggs in the Restaurant Finance Monitor

Les Dames d’ Escoffier, a philanthropy group of women in the culinary world, has changed its inperson meetings to a virtual coffee break to discuss the new normal and new routines on March 25 and a virtual happy hour the following Friday night. Called Dame On!, the events were only scheduled to last 40 minutes. The extent of our small screen time tolerance?

The North Loop boutique hotel, the Hewing Hotel, first closed its restaurant, Tullibee, and then its bar restaurant and then its guests rooms until further notice. The last line on their website posting may be harder to do than miss its “warm respite for the community,” Thank you for joining us in remaining cautious, calm and informed while we navigate this difficult issue.

Tattersall Distilling has spent the past three weeks with reduced staff producing bottles of hand sanitizer for the community, but especially for medical personnel and those on the front line. According to a post on Instagram, they’ve shifted 100% of their production to making the hand sanitizer, and expect to have a website up this week to respond to requests and answer questions. Save this post in case down the road when we're all back to normal, you shake hands and someone asks you why your hands smell like whiskey.

The National Milk Producers Federation’s coronavirus webpage is expanding further, adding a farmer handbook to address dairy production needs and launching a podcast series featuring experts discussing crucial issues faced by dairy farmers and the broader industry as they work to feed the U.S. and the world. Access info here: www.nmpf.org/coronavirus.

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