For Immediate Release: May 25, 2022
LA CITY COUNCIL ADOPTS COUNCILMEMBER RAMAN’S RESOLUTION TO BRING RESTAURANT BEVERAGE PROGRAM TO COUNCIL DISTRICT 4
LOS ANGELES -- Today, the Los Angeles City Council adopted Councilmember Nithya Raman’s resolution to bring the City’s new Restaurant Beverage Program (RBP) to Council District 4 in order to permit eligible sit-down restaurants to serve alcohol through an expedited administrative clearance process. Councilmember Raman’s resolution seeks to alleviate the unprecedented financial challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, rising commercial rents and other difficulties faced by sit-down restaurants in Council District 4 by allowing them to go through a simpler, less costly process to serve alcoholic beverages, which accounts for a substantial portion of many restaurants’ revenue.
“Part of what makes Los Angeles so unique is our diversity of small enterprises that serve our neighborhoods and represent the aspirations of people who have come here from all over the country and world,” said Councilmember Raman. “By activating the Restaurant Beverage Program in my district, we are making it easier to run a viable independent restaurant and ensuring that the vibrant culinary culture that enriches our neighborhoods survives the pandemic and thrives into the future.”
For restaurants, one of the most expensive start-up costs is the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the sale of alcoholic beverages. Not only does the permit alone cost about $13,000, businesses often wait months or even up to a year to secure these permits. This makes it very difficult for small, independent and family-run restaurants to access a source of revenue that would help them remain viable.
The Restaurant Beverage Program offers these businesses an alternative: if they agree to follow an extensive set of health and safety guidelines, they can be permitted to sell alcohol at a fraction of the cost and through a swift, administrative clearance process. While the exact cost of the RBP has not yet been determined, it is expected to cost no more than $4,000 and would take only a matter of weeks to secure, enabling new eligible restaurants to open their doors more quickly. Eligible restaurant owners would still be subject to operational standards, robust neighborhood protection measures as well as mandatory monitoring and inspections to ensure compliance. The program would also be limited to restaurants with on-site food consumption and bars, nightclubs and liquor stores would be ineligible.
The restaurant and hospitality industry is an important part of the City's economy, employing more than 380,000 people and generating more than $200 million in tax revenue to the City during pre-pandemic levels. Councilmember Raman’s resolution to bring the Restaurant Beverage Program to Council District 4 will reduce the regulatory burden for the district’s small businesses while revitalizing neighborhoods and ensuring alcohol is served under conditions that promote safety.