New York City Pilot Program Helps Restaurateurs Not Totally Fail


Why would anyone want to open a restaurant in New York City? The thought of dealing with all the bureaucracy and hassle in obtaining liquor-license permits and certifications is enough to drive anyone batty. And then you have 24,000 other eateries to compete with! Luckily, though, New York State has implemented a pilot program that sides with the little guy.

A New York Times article today reports on the New Business Acceleration Team, a group of up to four inspectors, a plan examiner, and a supervisor from agencies that issue permits, who help potential restaurateurs get the job done. The pilot program began in March and is now being expanded to help restaurateurs succeed and deal with the fog of bureaucracy that can hinder the process. So far the team has helped 200 restaurants, including Mario Batali’s Eataly, even speeding up their opening date by 15 weeks (the average is 10 weeks). And who said nothing happens in government!

The team is currently focusing its efforts on establishments with 50 or fewer seats that aren’t carrying out major renovations, in part to assist Bloomberg’s initiative to assist small businesses. Which isn’t great news for most restaurateurs, since it’s often hard to turn major profits with 50 seats, but still it’s better than nothing. If only the next step of the program was teaching restaurants how to make it past their first year.