Yelp Will Now Tell You If a Business Is ‘Women-Owned’

Image result for Yelp Will Now Tell You If a Business Is 'Women-Owned'

“The restaurants and shopping reviews app and website is adding a feature that will tell customers whether a business is women-owned. Businesses owned by women can mark themselves as women-owned via their Yelp accounts, and the distinction will appear in the “more business info” section of a Yelp page alongside features like “accepts credit cards” and “gender-neutral restrooms.”

“We’re excited to help raise the profile of millions of women-owned businesses who drive the local economies of our cities and towns,” says Miriam Warren, Yelp’s vice president of engagement, diversity, and belonging. “We’re hopeful that this new attribute not only makes it easier to identify and connect with great women-owned businesses on Yelp, but that it also drives more dollars directly to the bottom line for these female-owned businesses.”

See more here.

In New York City, Restaurants Welcome Tables for One

Customers dine at Boqueria for lunch. The Spanish restaurant’s tapas, or grazing-style menu, appeals to solo patrons.

In New York City restaurants, the party-of-one is becoming a cause for celebration.

OpenTable, the online reservation platform, said that bookings by solo diners at restaurants in the city jumped by 80% from 2014 to 2018. And while OpenTable said those parties-of-one represent a very small slice of overall bookings, some restaurants said that business from solo diners can now account for up to 10% of their sales.

Even on Valentine’s Day, the most couple-oriented dining occasion of the year, New York restaurants are making room for patrons dining alone. OpenTable said that Valentine’s Day solo reservations in 2018 increased by 33% over the previous year. And perhaps for good reason: Restaurants said solo customers represent the ideal, as they are truly there for the food and experience rather than the social occasion.

“The way we approach it is that when we have a solo diner, it’s more of an honor than anyone else,” said Andrew Kuhl, the dining-room manager at Eleven Madison Park, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Manhattan’s Flatiron District.

Restaurants are doing their part to encourage such business. At such establishments as L’Artusi, an Italian restaurant in the West Village, and Odo, a Japanese spot in the Flatiron District, solo diners are given a free offering—say, a small serving of an off-menu item or a glass of sparkling wine. And on Valentine’s Day, some restaurants said they make an extra effort to welcome the solo crowd. For example, at Jones Wood Foundry, a food-driven pub on the Upper East Side, a communal table is set aside for party-of-one diners.

View more here.

Minimum Wage Hikes in New York City Cause Restaurants to Eliminate Jobs, Cut Hours, Raise Prices

Screen Shot 2019-01-25 at 2.05.48 PM.png

“New York is known for its incredible food scene, but legislators in the Big Apple may have bitten off more than they can chew with the newest minimum wage hike.

The city’s mandated increase, which took effect on December 31, requires businesses that employ 11 or more people to boost wages from $13 to $15 per hour. But most restaurants operate with the tipped wage, offering servers and bartenders a lower hourly base pay and the opportunity to rake in the rest in tips, which often yields better pay overall. If workers don’t earn enough this way, employers are required to make up the difference.

That tipped minimum just rose from $8.65 to $10 an hour. A 16 percent jump is fairly punishing, considering the industry operates on razor-thin profit margins.

A new study conducted by the New York City Hospitality Alliance lends credence to the idea that substantial increases made to the tipped wage are far costlier than they are beneficial. After surveying 574 restaurants, they found that 2019 looks bleak: 75 percent of full-service establishments plan to cut employee hours, and 47 percent will eliminate jobs entirely in response to the forced minimum wage hikes. That follows closely on the heels of a dreary 2018, when 77 percent of full-service restaurants reduced employee hours and 36 percent cut jobs, both of which were also in response to the mandated wage increases.”

See more here.

New York City on sale: Deep discounts on shows, restaurants, hotels starting Jan. 21

Screen Shot 2019-01-22 at 1.05.11 PM.png

New York City is appealing to visitors for countless reasons, but price is not usually one of them.

But starting Jan. 21, the city will be at its cheapest thanks to a new initiative called NYC Winter Outing organized by the tourism marketing association, NYC & Company.

For the first time, NYC Restaurant Week, NYC Broadway Week and NYC Must-See Week will take place at the same time.

That will result in some of the lowest hotel rates of the year, shopping sales, theater, restaurant and attraction/sightseeing deals.

About 400 restaurants will participate in NYC Restaurant Week from Jan. 21 to Feb. 8. Diners will get two-course prix-fixe lunches and brunches for $26, with three-course dinners for $42.

View more here.

Bangladeshi Food Is a Rarity Around New York

““I love feeding people,” said Nur-E Gulshan, who began cooking as a 16-year-old newlywed in the Bangladeshi city of Bogra. “Since my kids’ friends come over, they always said: ‘Auntie, why don’t you open a restaurant? Your food is so good!’ Always, I thought they are just telling me as courtesy. Then they grew up, and they’re still telling me to do the same.”

“There is a long, often-unexplored history of Bangladeshi immigrants’ owning nominally Indian restaurants in the United States. But the food isn’t Bangladeshi, nor does it reflect the varied regional cuisines of India, one of the largest and most populous countries in the world.

Nur-E Farhana is steadfast in distinguishing her mother’s Bangladeshi food from the Indian food typically encountered in restaurants in America: “Chicken tikka masala, butter chicken, paneer,” she said with a sigh.”

See more here.

Restaurant Boasting New York City Flair Coming to the Castro

“When it opens this spring, Gramercy Park will serve Californian cuisine in the evenings, New York City-style sandwiches in the afternoons, and all-American brunch on the weekends. Owner Mark White hopes to open the restaurant by mid-April at 216 Church Street, formerly Crepevine in the Castro.

White is fairly secretive about his background. He says he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America 20 years ago, and went on to own four restaurants in New York. But he sold off his stakes in those restaurants — which he did not name — and now has his eyes on San Francisco. He’s starting a new restaurant group, Madison Avenue Hospitality Group, and plans to open five restaurants within five years here. Gramercy Park is the first.”

“Gramercy Park will also occupy a smaller, 480-square-foot space next door — dubbed Gramercy Park To-Go — to serve commuters in the morning with coffee and grab-and-go items. It’ll also provide a streamlined area for delivery services like Caviar and Postmates to pick up orders without clogging up the main dining room. Between the two spaces, White hopes Gramercy Park will be the sort of neighborhood spot folks visit multiple times a month.”

Read more here.

The Biggest Surprises in NYC Dining in 2018

A dinner spread at Le Sia

“Serena Dai, editor of Eater NY: I suppose I shouldn’t be so surprised by this because the world is such a garbage fire, but it was interesting to see how quickly powerful people (and a lot of media) were to embrace the return of the Four Seasons Restaurant seemingly without any caveat. I guess I’m an optimist, which means I will always be a little bit surprised at how naive old-school power is. Did the 40 investors really think that Julian Niccolini’s past behavior wouldn’t impact perception of the restaurant among the new audience they were reportedly aiming to attract? Did they really think amazing food and a $30 million build-out could overcome years and years of baggage — now newly visible in the age of #MeToo — when nobody from the restaurant came out front to address the fact that the face of the restaurant is an admitted sexual assaulter? People can’t move forward without an apology, but here, there wasn’t even really that. Yes, it’s legendary; yes, it’s hugely influential. But we live in a different world now, and sometimes it is okay to pay our respects, and then lay a restaurant to rest.”

See more here.