Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Tacoma Restaurants More Than Just Food
In Tacoma, restaurants are more than just a place to get food and beverages. Monique Trudnowski asserts that in Tacoma, restaurants are people.
Trudnowski, owner of Adriatic Grill and Chair of the Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor Board, presented to the Tacoma City Council’s Economic Development Committee today, briefly describing Tacoma’s food service industry, consisting of 551 restaurants, employing 7,857 workers, and annual gross sales over $370 million.
But Tacoma restaurants are more than just numbers. They are proud community stewards, often donating time and resources to important community causes, organizations, and charities. They also provide a tax base and are a strong part of our community.
Further, Trudnowski noted that restaurants provide honest wages, experiential equity, and flexible schedules for college students, grandparents, and others. They provide “the opportunity to grow as much or as little as you want. It’s entirely up to you,” said Trudnowski (as quoted by Donahoe, 2013).
Trudnowski also mentioned that while she developed a recycling program at her restaurant that decreased their garbage pickup by one third, Tacoma does not have a system in place to compost food scraps, a major source of waste for restaurants that could be an opportunity for improvement. She also advocated for greater involvement and support for restaurants by business districts, leading Councilman Boe to suggest the development of a progressive Bike Ride through each Business District that hit various local restaurants.
According to Trudnowski, the top three obstacles facing restaurants include rent/lease costs, labor specific legislation, and the volume of visitors or diners in Tacoma. She noted the first three years are the most fragile time for restaurants, and land owner incentives could help promote tenant longevity, especially pertaining to the first few difficult years of business.
Donahoe, H. (2013, May). Washington wins big: National Restaurant Association honors two of Washington’s best. Washington Restaurant Magazine. Olympia, WA: Washington Restaurant Association.