December 2020 Executive Directors Message

As we wrap up 2020 and head into 2021, I believe this is a great time to reflect on this year’s accomplishments.


We sent out over 229 email updates this year. These emails kept our industry well-informed on this year’s various developments from the CDC, The National Restaurant Association, Governor Ige’s Emergency Orders, all of four Mayor’s Emergency Orders, Department of Health, The Liquor Commission announcements, The Hawaii Restaurant Card (HRC) and many more.


Speaking of the HRC, a heartfelt Mahalo to Governor Ige for approving this initiative and to Kurt Osaki who presented the idea to Sherry Menor-McNamara with the Chamber of Commerce! The HRC made a beneficial impact of  $74Mil to the foodservice industry this year. The $500 card helped bring back our employees and customers into our restaurants. With our restaurants seeing increased traffic, our suppliers, farmers, fishing industry also saw increased business.  Revenue is pouring back into the foodservice industry. The HRC will continue to benefit the foodservice industry into the new year with the Business Holiday Card that ends on March 31, 2021. This is the revenue that will carry our Hawaii food service industry through our first quarter.


Back in April 3, 2020 when the Paycheck Protection Program was announced, HRA helped over 70 restaurants through our (PPP) Outreach Support. Our advice to these restaurants helped guide them through the PPP’s registration procedures. Having access to these loans were especially crucial when businesses first started closing down due to COVID. A huge Mahalo to the team!  Sysco, HMAA & ProService!


Our Town Halls helped us connect with government officials such as Governor David Ige, Congressman Ed Case, Senator Mazie Hirono, Brian Schatz and our mayoral candidates Mufi Hanneman, Bud Stonebraker, Keith Amemiya and Rick Blangiardi.

I am especially proud of our amazing efforts in our recent initiatives. We were able to distribute 30,000 facemasks provided by Angels by the Sea. Face Masks were given away on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Hilo and Kona. Being gifted these masks allowed restaurants to save money on PPE which was not budgeted for pre-COVID.

The Aloha Harvest event was successful in distributing 300 food boxes to our unemployed restaurant workers. Mahalo to Star Advertiser for being the sponsor and to Y Hata/ChefZone for allowing us to distribute at their location.

Our Air Quality Workshop held on December 8th provided beneficial advice to restaurateurs on improving guest and employee health safety.

Even when we conclude this year, we will have many more events to look forward to in 2021.

We will have great events in 2021 such as the Hawaii Hotel and Restaurant Show on June 24th & 25th, Golf, Hall of Fame on Sept 20, 2021 and many more educational webinars are being organized and on our calendar.

We also have many important initiatives we are continuing work on, such as Bill 40. If you are interested in joining our Gov Relations Cmte, pls email

This year has been the most challenging year I have ever experienced in my life and it is with gratitude that I am thankful for our HRA Exec Cmte, Board of Directors, Volunteers, Chivon Garcia & Holly Kessler who has tirelessly worked for our foodservice industry the last 10 months. This hardworking group of people has never complained or quit and we know that this battle will be a long one. We are committed to you, our foodservice ohana. If there is anything HRA can help you with, please reach out to me at

We are The Voice of Hawaii’s Restaurants and Foodservice Industry!

May you & your loved ones continue to be safe and healthy!




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