With proposed mandated wages higher than any state in the nation, and various proposals to dramatically increase liquor fees to bail out the state’s financial woes, Delaware’s restaurants are reeling in a sea of financial uncertainty while struggling to stay afloat.

This is not the time to increase fees on our neighborhood eateries. Rising energy prices and a decline in consumer confidence have restaurants facing a “double whammy” in the operation of their businesses.  Restaurant patrons are cutting back as families struggle with prices at the gas pump and the increase in groceries.  Restaurateurs are feeling the sting of record high costs of goods with commodities reaching record high prices.  Imagine the local pizza parlor paying 83% more for flour! Â  Record high utility bills in an already energy-intensive industry have fueled unprecedented costs and fuel surcharges.

Restaurateurs are fearful of increasing prices at a time when the market has contracted.  The result is that the traditional profit margin of 3-5% has disappeared.  The last thing our industry needs is a bombardment of government increases at a time when they can be least afforded.

When will our legislators recognize that restaurateurs are good neighbors? As the state’s largest small business employer as well as the largest component of Delaware’s tourism industry, restaurants are often sought after to bring good jobs and excitement to lackluster retail and tourist centers.  Our 1900 restaurants are a critical training ground and source of extraordinary opportunities for the 40,000 Delawareans of every economic background employed by them.

Restaurants are a vital part of their local communities and neighborhoods, enthusiastically and generously giving their time and resources to support local causes. For every dollar spent in Delaware restaurants, another 30.7 jobs are generated in the state.

In times of economic uncertainty, policymakers are motivated by a desire to enhance job creation.  By penalizing our neighborhood restaurants, these local businesses may not be able to hire those that need the jobs the most.