NOV. 6 FUNDRAISER TO COMBINE POLITICAL ACTIVISM WITH TEQUILA TASTING
“The CRA PAC has been proactively supporting our industry by supporting candidates who really understand our issues,” Davidson said. “I think it’s imperative that we double down on these efforts, now more than ever, because our challenges really are over the top.”
On Nov. 6-7, restaurant leaders from across California will convene in Sacramento to discuss issues facing the industry. Through both legislation and regulations, restaurants remain one of the most regulated industries, creating a perpetual environment of perplexity and, at times, frustration for thousands of business owners. Restaurant operators will sit down with the heads of a dozen government agencies to discuss how rules and regulations shape what it means to run a business in California.
They also will gather at a tequila tasting event to raise funds for the CRA PAC, which is slated for 5 p.m. Nov. 6 at Tequila Museo Mayahuel, 1200 K. St. in Sacramento. Tickets to the event cost $150, and are available via calrest.org.
Davidson urges her fellow restaurant operators to consider how proposed laws could affect their businesses’ bottom lines, and then consider ways to get involved, including attending the fundraisers, or others like it held across the state throughout the year.
“I encourage my fellow board members and any restaurant owner out there to make special efforts to reach out to legislators, to host events and to do whatever they can to build stronger ties to our elected leaders because that’s how we can create change,” Davidson said. “The best thing they can do is to find opportunities to sit down and matter-of-factly discuss with legislators what their costs and business model really looks like. There are other influencers out there working to convince them otherwise.”
Davidson said when she started working for Tito’s in the 1970s, it was very common for workers to leave to launch their own restaurants or other businesses – but that kind of entrepreneurship today is rare.
“That’s the biggest reason why I became involved,” she said. “Restaurants used to be a relatively inexpensive business to start and it’s really not that way anymore. That’s why we’re seeing food trucks and other creative things cropping up from people trying to get into the business who don’t have a rich uncle.
“But if we can streamline some of the regulations that make it difficult for people to start businesses, it could be incredibly beneficial to everyone involved.”
The CRA works with its members to keep harmful legislation at bay, and some of those efforts are through contributions to the political campaigns of candidates who best understand the issues affecting California’s restaurant industry, which is especially critical going into an election year.
The practice is especially effective at harnesses a communal voice for the industry, making a much stronger statement than any individual restaurant owner could make on their own. In the political world, strength in numbers is paramount, and contributions are pooled with other restaurateurs who share a common goal of protecting the industry.
“I’m going to do everything I can to encourage my fellow restaurant operators to speak up and defend our industry,” Davidson said. “Nowhere else can you can start out as a busboy and end up as a manager or an executive – that’s pretty special.