PROMINENT HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY GROUPS JOIN FORCES
Historic merger between United Restaurant and Tavern Owners of
and New York City Hospitality Alliance
New York, December 1st, 2014 – The
United Restaurant and Tavern Owners of New York's (UR&TO) more
than 250 pubs and bars have merged into the New York City
Hospitality Alliance (The Alliance), creating the most diverse
and powerful NYC based trade association to represent the
interests of eating and drinking establishments throughout the
five boroughs of New York City.
The UR&TO, circa 1937 founded by restaurant
and tavern owners, has been devoted to representing the unique
concerns of on-premise liquor licensees in New York City. The
organization is well known for representing the largest
coalition of pubs in the city. In 2012 when
prominent restaurant, nightlife and hotel operators joined with
industry suppliers to form The Alliance, the two organizations
naturally shared mutual interests and developed a working
partnership. The two organizations advocated together to reduce
regulatory burdens and benefited from the member services
offered by both organizations. The informal partnership worked
so well that the UR&TO's Board of Directors voted to merge into
The Alliance, signifying a further unification of the NYC
hospitality industry and a consolidation of industry power and
"I'm dealing with the same expensive fines
and complicated laws at my pub that the restaurants down the
block are dealing with," said Kathleen Reilly, president of The
United Restaurant and Tavern Owners of New York and owner of
several pubs, including The Coliseum Bar and Restaurant. "So,
merging with the New York City Hospitality Alliance means that
our industry will be more organized and effective when
advocating for common-sense regulatory reforms."
Jeffrey Bank, CEO of the Alicart Restaurant
Group and president of the New York City Hospitality Alliance,
welcomed his industry colleagues from The United Restaurant and
Tavern Owners of New York. "Pubs are quintessential New York
City, and I'm thrilled that this important segment of the
hospitality industry will have a voice on our Board of Directors
and in our membership."
"I've been impressed by how the New York City
Hospitality Alliance created a respected political voice for our
industry. Our company has benefited from the information and
education they offer, which helps us to stay in compliance with
the many changing laws and regulations," said Martin Whelan,
owner of Stout and vice president of The United Restaurant and
Tavern Owners of New York.
"We are one hospitality industry in New York
City, so it makes sense to have one voice to represent our
interests in the halls of government, and one organization to
provide us industry information, education, services and
opportunities to network. Today's merger is very meaningful news
for anyone who cares about the economic well-being of the city's
small business community and vibrancy of our world renowned
hospitality industry," said the New York City Hospitality
Alliance's executive director, Andrew Rigie.
As of December 1st, 2014 all members of the
UR&TO will be transferred to The Alliance and several UR&TO
Board Members will be elected as voting Directors on The
Alliance's governing board. While the UR&TO will be dissolved,
their existing Board of Directors will form a fraternal
organization that’s mission will be to raise money for
The United Restaurant and Tavern Owners of New York,
Inc. is an alliance of restaurants, bars, nightclubs,
inns, and hotels which all share the prestige - and the
headaches - of operating in the entertainment and
attraction center of the world.
From its founding, in 1937, by restaurant and tavern
owners, who joined together to negotiate labor contracts
and to collectively face other interests, the UR&TO
has been devoted to the unique concerns of Manhattan's
We are a group of entrepreneurs different from our
colleagues in the industry. Our patrons are a collection
of the world's most influential citizenry, and by the
nature and locations of our businesses, we are ambassadors
to the people of many nations. We are part of the reason
people vacation and convene in New York.
However, as we embark on our seventh decade of service,
the economic, legislative and emotional climate
surrounding the serving of alcohol is as disenchanting as
ever. Some of our colleagues refer to this era as
"the new prohibition".
The on-premise licensee must accept expanded liability,
government's failure to protect small business,
ever-changing rules, resolutions and fines. In addition,
our industry is first looked to by the state and federal
government when they seek to grow their tax revenues.
The need for the local business owners in our industry to
build and strengthen relationships and understanding with
our counterparts in government is clear. It is also
important to foster alliances in the industry and in
changing public perceptions and media stereotypes.
If we feel very much alone facing a less certain future,
it is because we are. But it has been in times of
fraternity that our industry has experienced strength.
And, it is now, more than ever, a time to come together
and draw on our collective resources, strengthen our
voices and face our challenges together.