The NY Restaurant Show sat down with Kevin Dugan, Regional Director for the New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA) at our 2017 show to learn more about the benefits of becoming a member of NYSRA, current advocacy campaigns, and more.

Monthly Industry Insights

Hear from industry leaders about their guilty pleasures, the oddest thing in their refrigerator, their inspirations and take on new trends. Learn more about the people behind the foods and dishes you know and love - and others you SHOULD know and love. We've asked all of questions and have the answers for you here.

View archived interviews.

June's Industry Insights: Kevin Dugan, NYSRA

We sat down with Kevin Dugan, Regional Director for the New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA) at the 2017 International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York to learn more about the benefits of becoming a member of NYSRA, current advocacy campaigns and more. 

What are the benefits of being a member of NYSRA?
Our mission statement is helping restaurateurs succeed and we do that in a number of different ways. There are three pillars that we work off of – the first is member services. We have a number of ally members that offer our members discounts that apply to companies that work in all kinds of fields; whether it’s music licensing or health insurance. Everything across the board, all of the ancillary costs that restaurants have. We have an advocacy pillar – we advocate for the restaurant industry at both the state, local and federal level. We have lobbyists in Washington, New York and New York City that are working on legislation, whether it be about scheduling, or minimum wage, or whatever else. And our third and final pillar is education. We have an educational foundation that provides scholarships for culinary high school students for post-secondary – so training the next wave of the restaurant industry. Those are the three ways our association helps the restaurant industry and encourages folks to get involved in those respects.

What types of advocacy campaigns are top of mind for NYSRA this year?
I’m actually in charge of our lobbying effort here in New York City, so some of the things we’re working on, like I mentioned before, fast food scheduling – currently the City Council is looking at legislation that would require fast food restaurants to schedule two weeks out; if there are changes in the schedule there’d be penalties involved. Also looking at legislation that would lower the taxes for commercial rents here in the city. That’s a big problem for a lot of our members down here as the rents are really expensive, as you can imagine. Scaffolding’s another one; when scaffolding’s up in front of storefronts it can really cut into the amount of walk-in business. So on the city level, that’s really what we’re working on. At the state level, we’re talking about food waste issues that are proposed in the budget; always fighting to maintain the tip credit, that’s very important to us; and really any other issues that come across our vantage point.

The National Restaurant Association reported on several trends for 2017, including food trends like sustainable seafood, gourmet kids' meals, and savory desserts; and concept trends like local sourcing and fast-casual dining, among others. Are you seeing any of these trends come forward for New York restaurateurs?
We have hyper-local sourcing – everyone wants to eat more locally, to find local product and support local business. That’s a trend across the nation and certainly a trend we’re seeing here as well. And another is food waste reduction. Food costs are going up, much like everything else, and if you can waste less food and still provide great service and great experiences to your customers, that can really help your bottom line and help restaurants succeed. 

From your perspective, how can NYSRA members benefit most from the NY Restaurant Show?
This show provides a great opportunity to see those trends and identify those trends, whether it be through all of the stuff taking place on the floor, like with Taste NY with the hyper local idea. It’s a great place to get new ideas to bring back to your restaurant. And that’s even before getting into all of the education it has. There’s a workshop on minimum wage that could be very important on how to survive that for restaurants. Labor costs are on the rise across the state – how do you manage that and make ends meet. There are all sorts of things at the show that can give restaurateurs the information that can help keep the doors open.

What have you seen at the show in 2017 that your members are talking about?
Danny Meyer is a huge draw and a very respected figure in the industry. People are definitely talking about his talk at the Torch Awards and ideas they got from him as well. And it goes back to the proliferation of the Taste NY section – there are so many New York State products here and so many exciting things, and the craft beverage pavilion as well. It’s definitely the local movement that many people are working towards.


 

 

 

 

More about the New York State Restaurant Association: 

The mission of the New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA) is to help restaurateurs succeed. It is the first place restaurant owners and managers turn to gain a competitive edge by taking advantage of advocacy, education, and cost saving benefits. The NYS Restaurant Association is here to help with all your needs. From opening a new restaurant, to making an existing restaurant more successful, the Association is the best resource for your business! Visit NYSRA online at www.nysra.org.

 

Archives: 

May 2017 Insights - Chef Jaime Stankevicius
April 2017 Insights - Adam Lazar, Asarasi
March 2017 Insights - Caitlin Porter Loverin, Fire Cider
February 2017 Insights - Dan Jackson, Cafe2 and Terrace5, MoMa

January 2017 Insights - Bill Rosenberg, NoMa Social
December 2016 Insights - Lusy Gradzhyan, Lusy's Meditteranean Cafe & Grill

October 2016 Insights - Tavoris Ingram, The Twisted Tuna
September 2016 Insights - Keith Williamson, Datz
August 2016 Insights - Kristen Ramsey, Krimsey's
July 2016 Insights - Chef Joseph Johnson, Charcoal Venice
June 2016 Insights - David Adir, The Carving Board
May 2016 Insights - Chef Ricky Estrellado, Nobu New York
April 2016 Insights - Chef Manjit Manohar, The Pierre Hotel
March 2016 Insights - Chef Justine MacNeil, Del Posto
February 2016 Insights - Chef Stephen Yen, Paige Hospitality Group
January 2016 Insights - Chef Amanda Martin, Leoness Cellars
November 2015 Insights - Michelle Noble, Le Cordon Bleu
October 2015 Insights - James McGuinness, Keiser University
September 2015 Insights - Norman Van Aken, NORMAN'S
August 2015 Insights - Richard Pink, Pink's Hot Dogs
July 2015 Insights - Keith Breedlove, Culinerdy Cruzer
June 2015 Insights - Rob Valencia, Great Performances
May 2015 Insights - Marc Murphy, Benchmarc Restaurants
April 2015 Insights - Megan Johnson, Casellula
March 2015 Insights - Sara Moulton, Chef, Cookbook Author, TV Personality

February 2015 Insights - Barret Beyer, Hell's Kitchen
January 2015 Insights - Anton Testino, Mulberry Street Cafe
November 2014 Insights - David Binkle, Los Angeles Unified School District
October 2014 Insights - Alan Ogard, Lexington Hotel
September 2014 Insights - Barbie Marshall, The Farming Chef
August 2014 Insights - Cal DeMercurio, Corporate Executive Chef, Black Bear Diner
July 2014 Insights - Johannes Bernau, Executive Chef, Who Song & Larry's
June 2014 Insights - Ryan Vargas, Chef de Cuisine at Emeril's Tchoup Chop