On Thursday, October 30, state, county, and city officials announced the launch of a new initiative, called Restaurant Success, intended to provide better service and support for prospective restaurateurs.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray along with members of the Washington Restaurant Association and restaurant entrepreneurs made the announcement at the Stateside restaurant in Capitol Hill.
A spokesperson for Restaurant Success said in a statement: “Restaurants have tight margins, and are often among the first to feel the impact of shifts in the economy. More than 50 percent of restaurants close or change hands every five years. This is also an industry where there are a higher number of immigrant and minority entrepreneurs.”
Part of this initiative involves directly helping Chinese entrepreneurs, a city spokesperson said.
“I’m excited about this effort because opening a restaurant is a common entry point into the economic mainstream for communities of color, and our business assistance support will be working to reach a broad spectrum of business owners,” Murray said. “We also expect to use this initiative’s approach to shape how we break down silos within government and make it simpler for businesses in Seattle to start and grow. We’re committed to helping businesses succeed here.”
Washington restaurants employ more than 222,900 people statewide with more than 85,905 jobs in King and Snohomish counties. The majority of restaurateurs employ fewer than 20 people. State, county, and city leaders launched Restaurant Success because they believe that supporting a thriving restaurant industry will provide needed job and career opportunities and make our cities better places to live.
“Restaurant Success is an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to improve the regulatory environment for startups and existing businesses across the state,” Inslee said. “Our partnership with Seattle, King County, and the restaurant industry has made it easier for prospective local restaurateurs to navigate the permitting and licensing requirements so they can do what they do best: cook delicious food and create jobs. This is an effort we’ll soon be taking to Spokane and Spokane Valley so those cities can streamline their regulatory processes and attract new restaurants.”
Restaurant Success is a public-private partnership between the state of Washington, city of Seattle, King County and the Washington Restaurant Association. The initiative was developed in collaboration with more than 17 agencies and organizations, and includes:
· A comprehensive, one-stop online guide with city, county, and state permitting and licensing information, and tools to help restaurateurs navigate the process.
· Customer service and technical assistance in the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development led by a new Restaurant Advocate, Jennifer Tam. The Restaurant Advocate’s role is to provide direct business support and navigational help to restaurant entrepreneurs as they start and operate restaurants in Seattle. In addition to conducting outreach to businesses, specifically ethnic business owners, the Restaurant Advocate will work with partners to improve policies or programs across the public-private partnership.
· Ongoing regulatory reform and process improvements across city, county, and state agencies that interact with restaurant entrepreneurs.
“We have already benefited greatly from the City’s Restaurant Advocate, Jennifer Tam, as she has introduced us to a number of critical resources that will help us successfully open our new Indian restaurant,” said Gita Bangera, co-owner of a restaurant preparing to open in Pioneer Square in the coming months. “Getting clear information, helpful referrals, and assistance mitigating obstacles, definitely are making a big difference in our new startup venture of opening a restaurant. We are extremely appreciative of this resource.”
For more information on Restaurant Success, visit www.growseattle.com/restaurant.