Dana Lancellotti, president & CEO of the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association (NJRHA) served as the guest speaker at the Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce’s membership luncheon held recently at Braddock’s Tavern to discuss “Resiliency & Recovery in NJ: the State of the Restaurant & Hospitality Industry.”
Lancellotti applauded the industry’s resiliency throughout the pandemic and how it’s a driving force for New Jersey’s economy.
“The tourism industry is going to come back and restaurants and hotels are a big part of it,” she said.
Serving as the unified “voice” of the industry, the NJRHA works closely with business owners to take their needs and concerns directly to the policymakers, as well as supporting, advocating for and educating the industry year-round.
Lancellotti noted how the NJRHA played a big role in securing funding for the industry during the pandemic and lobbied directly with Gov. Murphy to expand outdoor dining opportunities and decrease limits of social distancing before Memorial Day weekend.
“One thing is for certain, New Jersey restaurant owners are a passionate group – and they needed to be resilient and resourceful in order to survive,” she said.
Bob Wagner, managing partner, COO, Braddock’s Tavern & Ott’s restaurants, provided attendees with local, real-life perspective about the challenges and “crazy” times his four locations faced during the pandemic, including restrictions, worker shortages, and more.
“We reinvented the wheel, rolled our sleeves up, and thought outside the box in order to survive,” said Wagner. “Our dedicated and talented team of employees worked really hard and helped us get through the pandemic. Thankfully, business is ramping up – we appreciate our patrons’ support and are determined to get back to where we were from a business standpoint, pre-pandemic.”
“We were pleased to have Dana and Bob speak to our membership and share important information that will help us continue to support the hospitality industry,” said Kristi Howell, president & CEO, Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“So many people think that since indoor dining has resumed that things are back to normal but it’s important for the business community to understand that this industry is still struggling in so many ways, including access to supplies and delayed deliveries.”
Lancellotti noted that while more needs to be done for the industry, she remains positive and encouraged that those in attendance remain vigilant and to use NJRHA as a resource.