An Interesting Internal Memo Obtained By California’s Capitol
From: California Restaurant Association
To: Central Valley, Fresno, Los Angeles, North State, Orange County and San Diego County chapters
These have been hard times for restaurant owners. Even though California’s more than 61,000 restaurants employ more than 1 million people, the current economic slump has hurt business and caused closures throughout the state, particularly those areas hardest hit by the housing market meltdown.
However, our Sacramento chapter, particularly its downtown members, appears to have hit on a winning business strategy that can, to some extent, be replicated elsewhere in the state.
For Sacramento downtown restaurants, August is shaping up to be a banner month. And, for a change, it’s something positive being done by government.
August is the final month of the state Legislature’s 2010 session. Hundreds of pieces of legislation affecting dozens of industries are pending. An even0numbred year means that half of the 40-member Senate and all 80 seats in the Assembly will appear on the November ballot.
While lawmakers have been repeatedly chided for soliciting campaign contributions from interest groups and trade associations — including us – who have issues pending before them, they persist in cramming their final 20 working days of the year with fundraising events.
And that is good for us.
For example, today, August 10, at least 11 fundraisers are scheduled at nine venues: eight cocktail receptions, two breakfasts and one lunch. Most of the restaurants are located near the Capitol but one, The Kitchen, is in the Arden Arcade area, a 10 to 15 minute drive from downtown. It boasts two simultaneous 6:00 p.m. events.
Hopefully, other legislators will take a cue from Democratic Assemblywomen Fiona Ma and Alyson Huber.
While restaurants don’t realize anywhere near the profit of the legislators – the minimum per-person campaign contribution is at least $1,000 – it’s hard to imagine an event with lower overhead than a cocktail reception.
August 11 is even more lucrative. There are 21 events scheduled: six breakfasts, six lunches and nine cocktail receptions.
Twelve downtown restaurants benefit: The Broiler, Chops, Esquire Grill, Cosmo Café, Chicory Coffee & Tea – just across the street from the Capitol – Spataro’s, Mikuni, Gallagher’s Irish pub, Zocalo, the Ambrosia Café and Ella’s.
On August 16 another five events are scheduled. On the 17th, 12 more and on August 18, another 16. Among the additional restaurants benefiting from next week’s batch of fundraisers are the Citizen Hotel, Mulvaney’s, the Magnolia Café, Vallejo’s and the venerable Frank Fat’s.
While other chapters do not enjoy the convenience – and generosity – of 120 cash-hungry lawmakers there are countless city councils, 58 boards of supervisors, water district and municipal utility boards, even vector control district and judicial elections that can be successfully mined by hosting similar low-cost, high return events like those of our Sacramento chapter members.
Our Sacramento members are more than happy to offer any advice you might need.
Filed under: Venting
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