FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact
January 27, 2021 Marilou Halvorsen, President
NJRHA and DoorDash Partner to Distribute $500,000 to New Jersey restaurants
Grants dedicated to helping restaurants amidst cold weather and ongoing COVID-related challenges
New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association is excited to announce a new grant program, funded by DoorDash and administered by the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association. DoorDash is generously donating $500,000 to the NJRHA to award grants to restaurants to help them offset costs amidst cold weather and ongoing COVID-related challenges. Restaurants will be able to apply for $2,500 or $5,000 in funding which can be used to pay rent, purchase cold-weather equipment, PPE, and more. This grant is part of DoorDash’s five-year $200 million dollar Main Street Strong Pledge, which includes $10M in grants for restaurants in cities and states around the country.
(GOVERNOR’S OFFICE COMMENT)
“We are thankful to have partners like DoorDash who recognize the dire situation our hospitality industry is in,” said Marilou Halvorsen, NJRHA President and CEO. “New Jersey’s hospitality industry is one of the hardest hit in the country. Having grants like this available for our independent restaurant community will assist in being able to sustain their operations.”
The grant application will be available on the NJRHA grant, www.njrha.org by February 1, 2021. The grants will be awarded to independent restaurants who have five or fewer locations and can show a loss of at least 30% from 2019. The criteria is outlined on the application on the NJRHA website. Applicants do not have to be a DoorDash partner or NJRHA member.
“DoorDash was founded to empower local economies, and we know New Jersey’s restaurants are core to so many communities throughout the state,” said David London, Director of Government Relations, U.S. East, for DoorDash. “We’re proud to fund these grants, and partner with the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association to ensure we can support restaurants who need it most. We know these are challenging times for restaurant owners, and we’re committed to doing our part to help.”
According to DoorDash’s Economic Impact Report:
Additionally, the odds of staying open during COVID-19 are 6x more likely for restaurants on DoorDash.
For more information on DoorDash’s efforts, visit the DoorDash blog. For more information on the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association, visit https://www.njrha.org.
NJRHA was founding in 1942 to support and advocate on behalf of the hospitality industry. Representing over 25,000 foodservice establishments and 350,000 employees, the NJRHA represents the states largest private-sector employer and generates 18.1 billion dollars in tax revenue to the state.
DoorDash is a technology company that connects customers with their favorite local and national businesses in more than 4,000 cities and all 50 states across the United States, Canada, and Australia. Founded in 2013, DoorDash empowers merchants to grow their businesses by helping to solve mission-critical challenges, such as customer acquisition, on-demand delivery, insights and analytics, merchandising, payment processing, and customer support. By building the last-mile delivery logistics platform for local cities, DoorDash is bringing communities closer, one doorstep at a time. Read more on the DoorDash blog or at www.doordash.com.
NJ RESTAURANT & VENUE OWNERS PROPOSE NEW SAFE DINING PLAN:STATE’S PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS CONTINUE TO DECIMATE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
Contact: Karen Geisel, NJRHA
TRENTON, NJ – Representatives from New Jersey’s largest venue and restaurant owners, and the NJ
Restaurant & Hospitality Association (NJRHA) spoke out today about how the COVID-19 pandemic is
shattering the state’s largest private-sector employer. The group presented a new safe dining plan with
enhanced sanitation protocols, discussed the challenges of outdoor dining, fall predictions, and
highlighted their Industry’s economic and community impact which will be presented through a 30-day
#IServeJersey social media campaign.
“Sadly, current estimates suggest 30 percent of restaurants that make up the culture and personality of
our state will close,” said Marilou Halvorsen, president of NJRHA, “Hit even harder, are our state’s largest
wedding venues. Their complete closure has led to a ripple effect in the industry, where professionals like
photographers, videographers, florists, and musicians, to name a few, are all out of work,” she added.
Late June, the governor indefinitely reversed the opening of indoor dining a few days before it was to
happen. This surprising shift has resulted in heightened emotional and financial hardships for all,
especially now that the midway point of summer has passed – this industry’s most robust time for partial
Meanwhile, the industry quickly responded and tightened their safe dining plan to include more enhanced
sanitation efforts for less people with more social distancing, in hopes of cracking the door on reopening
indoor dining and activities soon, to no avail.
Recently an uptick in COVID-19 cases, the highest since early June has been attributed by the governor as
a result of indoor house parties and other unruly gatherings hosted by young people, where masks or
social distancing were not adhered.
Marilou Halvorsen, President/CEO, NJ Restaurant & Hospitality Association (NJRHA)
Marilyn Schlossbach, 2020 NJRHA Chairwoman & owner Langosta Lounge, Asbury Park
Jeanne Cretella, Landmark Hospitality
Bob Wagner, Ott’s Tavern and Braddock’s
Tom Daidone, The Estate at Florentine Gardens
Safe Dining Plan and sanitation protocols
Industry contributions to community & economy
Predictions for fall
“Virtual” Press Conference (media only)
Register in advance at:
Note: All other individuals may participate via NJRHA Facebook Live
WHEN: Monday, August 3rd
10:00am – 11:00am
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated New Jersey’s hospitality industry, our state’s largest private sector
employer. As of now, current estimates suggest 30% of restaurants that make up the culture and
personality of our state will close. Hit even harder, are the state’s largest wedding venues. Their closure
has led to a ripple effect in the industry, where professionals like photographers, videographers, florists,
and musicians, to name a few, are all out of work.
The governor’s indefinite reversal of indoor dining in late June has resulted in more economic and
emotional hardships as we pass the midway point of summer – this industry’s most robust time for partial
The NJRHA president and chairwoman, along with several large venue and restaurant owners from around
the state will discuss the latest indoor dining proposal (with new restrictions), the battles of outdoor dining
and celebrations, fall predictions, economic fears and the launch of a #IServeJersey 30-day social media
campaign to highlight those struggling in the industry.
# # #
Council members will provide insight, expertise, and on-the-ground knowledge as legislators work toward COVID-19 recovery and local re-opening measures.
Council members will provide insight, expertise, and on-the-ground knowledge as legislators
work toward COVID-19 recovery and local re-opening measures.
OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Monmouth County legislators Senator Vin Gopal and Assembly Members
Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey announced today the formation of a new 11th Legislative
District COVID-19 Economic Recovery Advisory Council, which will bring together
representatives from a diverse array of industries and communities to advance efforts to
re-open New Jersey’s economy, improve public health outcomes, and expand access to
resources for municipalities, nonprofit organizations, and local small businesses.
“Local small business owners, community leaders, and nonprofit organizations are already
working to help families across our district get through this crisis,” said Senator Gopal (D-Long
Branch). “We need their expertise and insight, and they need to have a seat at the table as we
work toward a statewide re-opening.”
“As legislators, it’s our job to listen to the people working on the ground to make sure that we’re
putting resources in the right places,” said Assemblyman Houghtaling (D-Neptune). “Their
expertise will help us make the best decisions on policy, legislation, and our plan for recoveryrecovery.”
“Every community - no matter what town you live in, your ethnicity, your faith, or your orientation
- has been hit hard by this pandemic,” said Assemblywoman Downey (D-Freehold). “It’s
important to us that this council represent the entirety of our diverse 11th Legislative District,
and we promise to listen to all voices as we work toward a comprehensive plan for recovery.”
The Economic Recovery Advisory Council will be co-chaired by Ken DeRoberts, CEO of
Government Strategy Group; Jackeline Mejias-Fuertes, Regional Director for the New Jersey
Small Business Development Center at Brookdale Community College; Marilou Halverson,
President of the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association; and Jeremy Grunin,
President of the Grunin Foundation.
“We are facing the most challenging economy of our lifetime,” said DeRoberts. “Working smartly
together we need to marshall as many resources as possible to help our business community. I
commend our legislative team for their insightful leadership and look forward to being part of the
“As a longtime Monmouth County resident and Regional NJSBDC director serving Monmouth/
Ocean Counties, the response, recovery, and resiliency of local businesses are personal to me,”
said Mejias-Fuertes. “I'm honored and privileged to co-chair this committee whose sole purpose
is helping our devastated communities, businesses, and economy recover.”
“As a life-long resident of New Jersey and living in District 11, I am honored to be co-chairing
this committee,” said Halverson. “Hospitality, retail and other main street businesses have been
devastated by the pandemic and closure of the state. I want to assist in providing support,
guidance and resources to them so we can get our community back up and running.”
"This crisis demands expertise, action, and collaboration, and I'm confident that, by working
together, this board will be able to provide all three,” said Grunin. “I'm honored to be a co-chair
of this advisory council, and I look forward to working with its members to help our communities
recover from this crisis."
The District 11 Economic Recovery Advisory Council will work to assist different industries in
re-opening, making recommendations regarding policy, and working with all sectors of our
economy to make sure that each sector opens in a responsible way. Gopal, Houghtaling, and
Downey expect this Council to continue operating until all sectors of our local economy are fully
Residents of New Jersey’s 11th Legislative District who would like to bring items to the attention
of the Advisory Council can send an email to email@example.com.
A full list of members for the 11th Legislative District Economic Recovery Advisory Council is as
Ken DeRoberts, CEO, Government Strategy Group
Jeremy Grunin, President, The Grunin Foundation
Marilou Halvorsen, President, New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association
Jackeline Mejias-Fuertes, Regional Director, New Jersey Small Business Development Center
at Brookdale Community College
Small Business Committee
Adanech Asghedom, Adda Gojjo Restaurant
Bianca Bertoli, Lock & Shade
Bob Clark, Fir Farm
Gino Dellomo, Shrewsbury Volkswagen
Mary Ellen Landolfi, World Spiral Media & Independent Contractor
Robin Kampf, Independent Contractor
Nicole Lerario, A Kneaded Vacation
Kevin McHugh, Atlantic Club
Mikaela Milano, 26 West
Teena Patel, LightBridge Academy of Eatontown & Edible Arrangements of Ocean Township
Alpha Reynolds-Lewis, Reynolds Appraisal Group
Ritesh Shah, CEO of Legacy Pharmacy Group
Ayca User, Antoinette Boulangerie French Bakery
Non-Profit Recovery Committee
Laurie Goganzer, Community YMCA
Gwen Love, Executive Director, Lunch Break
Brian McGillivray, New Jersey Reentry Corporation
Beatriz Osterheld, CARC
Arthur Schlossbach, SCORE Small Business Mentoring
Shore Economy Committee
Brian Cherpeka, iStar
Tom DeBartolo, President, Monmouth County Building Trades
Paul Dement, Director of Government Affairs, Monmouth University
Dennis Drazin, Blue Grotto Restaurant at Monmouth Park
Jennifer Eckoff, Executive Director, Eastern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce
Grace Hanlon, Former Executive Director, New Jersey Division of Travel & Tourism
Victor Kuo, Temple Restaurant
Russell Lewis, Watermark
Gary Mattola, Madison Marquette
Bob McCaid, iPlay America
Tim McCloone, Mcloone's Restaurants
Kirk Ruoff, Turning Point Restaurants
Robert Schimko, Business Manager, IBEW 400
Marilyn Schlossbach, Langosta Lounge and White Chapel Project
Sylvia Sylvia, Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce
Erik Anderson, Mayor, Shrewsbury Borough & Small Business Owner
Donna Campagna, Business Administrator, Allenhurst
Margie Donlon, M.D., Physician & Councilwoman, Ocean Township
Paul Fernicola, Mayor, Loch Arbour; Attorney, Deal Township; Small Business Owner
Sue Fitzpatrick, Committeewoman, Colts Neck Township; Small Business Owner; Past Colts
Neck Business Association President
Vito Gadaleta, Business Administrator, Neptune Township
Steve Gallo, Business Administrator, Freehold Borough
George Jackson, Business Administrator, Long Branch
Carl Jennings, Long Branch Housing Authority
Bill Lucia, Business Administrator and Police Chief, Eatontown Borough
Matt Montekio, District Director, Rep. Frank Pallone (CD-6)
Mike Nesci, Councilman, Tinton Falls & Small Business Owner
Mike Nohilly, Mayor, Interlaken
Amy Quinn, Deputy Mayor, Asbury Park
Ziad Shehady, Business Administrator, Red Bank
Representative from Office of Congressman Chris Smith (CD-4)
Amanda Stone, Director of Tourism, Monmouth County Government
Janet Tucci, Mayor, West Long Branch
Pete Valesi, Business Administrator, Freehold Township
Andrew Wardell, Mayor, Neptune City
NEW JERSEY’S BEVERAGE & HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY LAUNCHES RELIEF FUNDTO HELP DISPLACED EMPLOYEES HURT MOST BY SHUTDOWN
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Karen Geisel
Trenton, NJ – Thousands of New Jersey’s beverage and hospitality industry employees have lost jobs due to the COVID-19 shutdown. Many are tipped-wage employees or commission-based sales reps that rely on that income to make ends meet. Allied Beverage Group, LLC, the New Jersey Restaurant Educational Foundation (NJREF) and New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association (NJRHA) have partnered to create The Beverage and Food Employee Crisis Support Fund (BFECS) to help these displaced workers. Industry leaders and the general public are encouraged to donate on the fund’s website: www.nfecs.org
“We can’t wait for state aid for this group of people,” said Marilou Halvorsen, president of the NJRHA. “They have to feed their kids, buy food and survive through this crisis like the rest of us. This is no different than a hurricane relief fund. Their livelihood has been wiped out,” she added.
The NJREF is the sole owner of the BFECS. and is a non-profit 501c3 with a mission to support the workforce of the foodservice industry through workforce development, grants and scholarships, and education. BFECS applicants will be thoroughly vetted and given funds based solely on need. No person is allowed to apply for the fund twice and must supply paystubs showing proof of employment and a short description of their need.
For more information on the BFECS, please contact Leslie Steele, NJREF Vice President at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trenton, NJ – Humanitarian and Asbury Park native, Marilyn Schlossbach will be sworn in and honored on January 27th as the new chairwoman of the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association (NJRHA). Schlossbach is the owner of Langosta Lounge.
“Marilyn is an exciting chef that brings her flair of international cuisine to New Jersey, whose goal is to bring new and diverse chefs and owners into our association,” said Marilou Halvorsen, president of the NJRHA.
Schlossbach is well known for her local and national humanitarian efforts. She attempts to achieve unforgettable culinary experiences for diners while inspiring support for local and national causes. Her community work includes a collaboration with Interfaith Neighbors on Asbury Park’s Kula Café and Urban Farm, community gardening and surf lessons with the Boys and Girls Club of Asbury Park, and unwavering support of environmental organizations like Clean Ocean Action, Surfrider Foundation, American Littoral Society and Waves For Water that work to protect coastlines and marine environments.
In addition, Schlossbach is the founder of the not-for-profit Food for Thought by The Sea, and sits on the board of the newly launched College Achieve Greater Asbury Park Charter School. She lives in Asbury Park with her twin girls, Hari Mar and Rubi Dee, and artist husband Scott Szegeski. # # #
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Karen Geisel
Kearny, NJ – Approximately 60 students enrolled in the New Jersey ProStart Program at Kearny High School, a few minutes north of Newark, NJ, will attempt to be the first high school students in the country to produce a new pretzel product for Auntie Anne’s after a challenge was accepted when a top executive recently visited the school.
“It all happened organically,” said both Jackie Secor, Vice President of Operations for Auntie Anne’s LLC, and Jessica Barone, Culinary Arts Instructor at Kearny High School.
Secor was invited by the NJ Restaurant Educational Foundation (NJREF) to tour one of the Garden State’s participating schools. She accepted the offer and chose Kearny H.S. because her grandmother graduated from the school decades earlier. In addition, Secor was eager to share her life experience with students considering she started her foodservice career at Auntie Anne’s as a store manager and worked her way up the corporate ladder.
“I was talking with the kids, impressed with the talent, ambition and confidence of the Kearny students, when one student asked me how we determine what sells in stores. Shortly after, several other kids chimed in and asked why they couldn’t try to create a new product for us,” said Secor. “Honestly, I paused for moment, and thought, why not?”
This month, the students will receive Auntie Anne’s unique dough mixture and begin their quest. They must instill all aspects of the NJ ProStart Program into their effort to succeed, which goes beyond creativity and taste. Product pricing, marketing and demographics are serious elements as well. Auntie Anne’s Research & Development team will also visit the school to support the process.
“I told them not to be afraid to think big and think crazy, but to remember the real world lessons they’re learning in class and to apply them. In simple terms, it means what sells in New Jersey may not sell well in another state,” said Barone.
The Auntie Anne’s franchise, located in the New Jersey Gardens Mall has offered to accept, sell and market the student’s final product, most likely this spring. If all goes well, the new pretzel will be evaluated by corporate like any other new product.
“Our students are ethnically diverse and needless to say, proud of their heritage. It will be interesting to see how the student’s Peruvian, Ecuadorian, Hispanic, Irish, Scottish and British cultures all dovetail together. To say I’m excited for them, is an understatement,” added Barone.
Auntie Anne’s also supports the National Restaurant Educational Foundation via a national partnership where young adults from around the country are supported and encouraged to choose culinary arts and foodservice as a career.
For more information on the NJ ProStart Program, please contact Leslie Steele, NJREF Vice President at 609-599-3316 / email@example.com.
# # #
With a mission to develop the foodservice industry through workforce development and scholarships, the New Jersey Restaurant Educational Foundation is the non-profit 501c3 arm of the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association (NJRHA) and home to the New Jersey ProStart Program, a college-level culinary arts and management program for high school students.
About Auntie Anne’s
With more than 1,800 locations in 48 states and more than 25 countries, Auntie Anne's mixes, twists and bakes pretzels to golden brown perfection all day long in full view of guests. Auntie Anne's can be found in malls and outlet centers, as well as in non-traditional spaces including universities, airports, Walmarts, travel plazas, military bases, and food trucks. Fans can now also order their favorite pretzels for catering through AuntieAnnes.com/catering. For more information, visit AuntieAnnes.com, or follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To receive the latest offers – including a free pretzel for your birthday – download the My Pretzel Perks app.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Shah Perry
NJRHA Events & Communication Manager
TRENTON, NJ – Each year, NJRHA leaders vote on who is considered to be the best representative of the Garden State’s restaurant and hospitality industry -- those who have succeeded in business and beyond. This year’s recipients are more diverse than ever and comprised of: A married couple who built a restaurant empire; a beloved family wine merchant; an immigrant franchisee owner who overcame amazing odds, a Yale-grad chef with a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry; and two gifted chefs from JBJ Soul Kitchen, a program of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation. Each will be honored at the 2019 NJRHA Gala Awards, on December 2 at The Ryland Inn in Whitehouse Station, NJ.
This year’s winners are:
“This eclectic group of winners represent our industry’s rich environment and each of them also give back ten-fold to their communities – a true representative of NJ’s hospitality industry,” said Marilou Halvorsen, president of the NJRHA.
The Annual Awards Gala is a formal event created to honor the winners and celebrate the restaurant and hospitality industry and hosts 250 people. For more information on the awards or the recipients, please contact Shah Perry, Events & Communications Manager at (609) 599-3316 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the NJRHA
Established in 1942, the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association represents the Garden State’s 25,000 eating and drinking establishments—the state’s largest private sector employers, generating $14.2 billion in annual sales and employing over 318,000 people. Support, education, and advocacy for its members are part of the NJRHA’s recipe for success and why it has become an essential ingredient for the hospitality industry. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @NJRHAssociation. Or, visit www.njrha.org for more info.
# # #
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Karen Geisel
518-421-3435 or email@example.com
Washington, D.C. -- For the first time in the National ProStart Program’s 26-year history, a New Jersey teacher was selected as the “National Educator of the Year” at its annual ProStart Invitational hosted recently by the National Restaurant Association in Washington D.C. Mary Beth Brace, a Bergen County Academies instructor and chef was surprised with the top award and $10,000 in cash in front of her students and peers.
The 21-year teaching veteran and 16-year ProStart instructor is fondly referred to on campus as “Chef B.” Brace has been teaching the ProStart curriculum in New Jersey almost since it’s inception and was named the Garden State’s (NJREF) “Educator of the Year” last March, making her applicable for the national honor along with every other state award recipients.
“I can’t express the myriad of emotions I felt at being selected for this high honor,” said Mary Beth Brace, “It was truly a full circle moment, one that I will always cherish as the highlight of my career. Also, imagine my pride when I saw a former student of mine (I taught 19 years ago) judging my current students. This young man is now the executive chef and R/D Director for Bonefish Grill Corporate!” she added.
New Jersey’s ProStart program is the only homegrown educational platform that acts as a feeder for the diminishing workforce of the Garden State’s $16 billion restaurant industry. Most of the 2,000+ participating ProStart students graduate ServSafe-certified which makes them immediately employable in the industry.
For more information on the ProStart Program, national award or competition, contact: Leslie Steele, VP, New Jersey Restaurant Educational Foundation at 609-599-3316.
# # #
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Karen Geisel
NEW JERSEY RESTAURANT & HOSPITALITY ASSOCIATION HIRES
NEW GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS DIRECTOR
Trenton, NJ – Due to the excessive amount of state and local legislation affecting the state’s hospitality industry, the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association (NJRHA) recently announced the addition of Andrew LaFevre as Government Affairs Director. It’s the first time the 76-year old association created a job specifically targeted for this purpose.
“In the last couple years, the amount of legislation that has seriously affected our industry has increased tenfold, making it difficult for the association to keep up,” said Marilou Halvorsen, president of the NJRHA. “Andrew will monitor these bills, assist in advocating on behalf of our members, organize industry roundtables with locally-elected officials and members of our industry to educate them on how legislation and ordinances affect our small business community.”
An example of a current legislative victory orchestrated by the NJRHA was the NJ Department of Labor (DOL) recent re-clarification of tipped wage over time. Without warning the government agency changed the description on how tipped overtime should be calculated causing several unaware members to be audited. After numerous incitements, the DOL re-adjusted the narrative to reflect what had always been in place.
Currently, there are 386 bills LaFevre will monitor. He will also educate members via a monthly “Kitchen Cabinet” email, perform legislative calls, issue video updates and share information via NJRHA’s social media platforms. LaFevre was previously employed at the National Restaurant Association and Princeton Public Affairs Group. He lives in Milford New Jersey and graduated from Kutztown University.
# # #