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Covid struggles led this bar owner into hospitality advocacy

Last updated March 01, 2024 · By Dylan Blake

Last week we talked to Someday Bar's Megan Rickerson about her background and experience with Covid.

This week Megan's back and we're talking Covid again, but this time through the lens of how Covid and its aftermath directly led her to get super involved in advocacy for the hospitality industry.

What does"hospitality advocacy" mean? Here's my shot at a definition: talking to, working with, and pushing elected representatives, government officials, and the broader public in order to advance the interests of the hospitality industry. It can take a lot of forms—speaking at meetings, relentlessly badgering the local government, creating a social media presence to help educate customers about life as a member of the industry, etc.

Megan never saw herself as somebody who'd get involved in something like this. But when Someday Bar failed to qualify for any relief programs because it was too new (they didn't have historical numbers to base relief amounts on) and Covid regulations kept getting tougher and tougher to deal with, she felt she had to do something.

She and her advocacy partner in crime, Joanna Carpenter, met at a Zoom roundtable called Save NYC Bars. Their first step was "pulling back the curtain" for the public about what life was like as a bar owner.

Example: We know you want to help, but coming out to the bar and having 1 beer over a two hour period isn't actually helpful—you're sitting there taking up space and only paying for the cheapest thing we offer. You're actually costing us money.

So they started putting things into units of measurement that people could understand: in order for this place to have 3 employees, it needs to sell 600 orders of chicken tenders today. To pay rent, this place needs to sell 20,000 $15 cocktails this month. And so on. And it was helpful.

But this was only the beginning of Megan's advocacy. Soon enough she found herself wading into the depths of the NYC city government. We'll share that story next week.

But for now, check out the video interview for more about Megan's Covid struggles and how she worked to "pull back the curtain" on the bar industry: