Culinary no-no #711


Today’s TMJ 4 reported six months ago, March of this year…

What’s the situation now, a half year later?

The Wisconsin Policy Forum is a statewide nonpartisan, independent policy research organization with offices in Milwaukee and Madison. On Friday the Forum issued a six-page report on the struggling WI restaurant and bar industry. They’re rebounding, but the recovery is slow. Some of the report highlights:

*Restaurants and bars play a major role in the social lives of Wisconsin communities as places of celebration and daily socializing.

* Employment in the sector remains down by roughly 9%, its recovery in Wisconsin lags that of other industries and the nation, and a surge in new coronavirus cases suggests continued challenges ahead.

*The number of people employed at restaurants and bars in Wisconsin has recovered considerably since nosediving by nearly 50% in April 2020.

*According to preliminary federal data, however, employment in the “food services and drinking places” subsector was still down by nearly 20,000 (8.8%) in August 2021 compared to the same month in 2019

* Job recovery in this subsector has been weaker in Wisconsin than nationally, where employment was down only 6.1% in August 2021 relative to August 2019.

* It also lags job recovery for other major sectors in Wisconsin and the state’s economy overall.

*Customer demand is still somewhat lower than pre-COVID as some individuals choose not to go out to restaurants and bars as often as they did before the pandemic.

*Restaurant operators also have pointed out that as more people order food for takeout or delivery rather than dining in, they also purchase fewer alcoholic beverages from restaurants, which dampens sales and profits.

*Child care is another major factor that has hampered the state’s workforce throughout the pandemic. When schools and businesses closed in 2020, large numbers of child care providers similarly shut down or reduced slots. As businesses returned to in-person operations, many workers were left without child care options as providers were slower to reopen. This challenge could be easing as the number of child care centers in Wisconsin had rebounded to slightly above prepandemic levels as of June 2021.

*While no data source is currently available that could show precisely how many restaurants and bars in Wisconsin did not survive the pandemic, limited data from the state’s Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) suggests that hundreds more restaurants closed in Wisconsin than opened in 2020.

*The pandemic caused some restaurants and bars in Wisconsin to close permanently, but most have found ways to adapt and survive, thanks in part to the lifeline provided by federal and state grant and forgivable loan programs, which funneled more than $1 billion in federal funding to restaurants and bars in Wisconsin.

*Yet, many continue to face challenges, including an increasingly tight labor supply that may be driven in part by workers seeking better employment conditions in other industries.

* The loss in state-licensed businesses in 2020, current labor shortages, the rise in wholesale food prices, and the recent surge in new coronavirus cases shows that their challenges will likely continue for some time.

The entire report can be seen here.


I’m normally not a fan of boycotts. But I would make an exception and not touch this beer.

Posted by the Minocqua Brewing Company of WI:

Ok folks, we’ve got some news that will affect most every person in Wisconsin, and will hopefully set legal precedent in other states as well to protect kids and their families.

The Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC has begun the process of building a class action lawsuit against every school board in Wisconsin that isn’t mandating masks for kids too young to get the vaccine and not following CDC guidelines for students while in school to protect against the deadly Delta variant.Why is a brewing company doing this instead of another group that’s supposed to protect kids? Because we can and we haven’t found anyone else willing to take the lead.

Here are the details.

We noticed that outside of the more sane urban areas of Wisconsin where school districts are still using science to protect children from the very contagious Delta variant, there has been a groundswell of obnoxious and very loud anti-intellectual, anti-mask, and anti-science voices overrunning school boards in the ‘burbs and in more rural areas.

School superintendents are being fired or quitting for trying to protect kids (Tomahawk, Minocqua).School board members voting to keep masking kids indoors who are too young for the vaccine are being forced into recall elections (Somerset, Oconomowoc, etc), and have even been physically threatened.

Keeping teachers safe is an afterthought, and that’s not right.

A large majority of parents are feeling helpless because they see Covid cases skyrocketing in their school districts, and absolutely nothing being done to prevent it.

Last week we put out a Facebook post calling for any parents whose kids have recently gotten Covid in school to reach out to us. We got a ton of responses from angry parents, and have found two plaintiffs ready to take their school boards to court in order to protect kids in the entire state.

How are we doing this? There are two federal judicial districts in Wisconsin: Eastern and Western. In order to protect all kids, we need to file a lawsuit in both districts—thus two plaintiffs.

Our lawyer obviously knows more about this than we do, but here’s the gist of what we plan to do:He’s going to use a “public nuisance” argument to convince judges in both districts to provide injunctive relief against all school boards actively promoting daily super spreader events by not forcing kids in schools to wear masks and socially distance. He says if we get the right judge, he/she could IMMEDIATELY force students to wear masks around the state until the defense has enough time to build a case.

This means as soon as we file these two lawsuits, we could IMMEDIATELY take strong action to stop kids from getting Covid and protect a lot of kids and their families.

We’ve decided to do this regardless of the cost, but these lawsuits will be expensive and we could use your help to fund them.To convince a judge to provide immediate injunctive relief, we are paying expert epidemiologists and infectious disease experts to write reports throughout this weekend showing how these schools boards are engaging in daily super spreader events by not taking steps to mitigate infection.

Experts and lawyers aren’t cheap, and we don’t know how long these lawsuits will last, but we do know that for some inexplicable reason, the Republican Party will fight tooth and nail against protecting children and their families, and will have unlimited resources to do so.

Our lawyer says these suits could run up to $100K over a six month period, but we hope we can strike a big blow right away and spend much less.If you’d like to help fund this lawsuit, here’s the link to our super PAC:…/minocqua-brewing-co-superpac The average contribution so far has been $40, and we’ve raised over $250K, so really, any little bit helps.

If you’re worried about your kid or grandkid getting Covid, and in turn giving it to you, because anti-science nut jobs are playing politics with school safety, consider chipping in for this lawsuit. These lawsuits are the very definition of doing something for the “Public Good.” We have had enough selfish “My Freedom is more important than Public Health” sentiment in this state and country. It’s time for intelligent and reasonable adults to take the wheel and the anti-intellectual “I’ve done my own research” bottom-dwellers to sit down and shut up.

Thanks for standing up for what is right and helping us protect children and families in Wisconsin. We will “Make Wisconsin Great Again” by trusting in science and by taking the politics out of public health. And afterwards, we can celebrate with a beer.

Thanks for your help,
Kirk Bangstad, Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company and Super PAC

MY VIEW: Stop being judgmental. Support people being allowed to make their own health choices. Shut up and stick to selling beer.

ICYMI: Culinary no-no #710

5 thoughts on “Culinary no-no #711

  1. Pingback: Culinary no-no #712 | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

  2. Pingback: UPDATE: Culinary no-no #711 | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

  3. Pingback: Culinary no-no FLASHBACK: Running a restaurant during a bad economy | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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