While 2022 has seen the sunsetting of Covid mandates and guidelines, it has also brought new challenges for the Hawaii restaurant industry. Hawaii has seen a 7-10% increase in labor and a 17-20% increase in food costs just since January. Despite our best efforts, the legislature passed a huge minimum wage increase. We continue to suffer from the inability to find people to staff restaurants and our supply chain is stretched further than any time in our history.
What I have learned as the HRA Chairman over the last two years is this – Hawaii restaurant owners and operators are some of the best people on this planet. They are talented, capable and are the hardest working folks I have ever met. I also know that HRA has never been better prepared to take on these challenges then they are today. Sheryl Matsuoka a pandemic hero and her team have led and been the foundation of the HRA through all of it. There is no way I could have done any of this without her and the team. My heartfelt thanks go to Sheryl, Chivon and Holly. You are remarkable women, and we are lucky to have you.
I am equally excited for Ryan Tanaka to take over the driver’s seat and take over the wheel as Chairman. Ryan is simply one of the smartest people I have met. He has worked his entire career to establish his name as one that can be trusted. I am confident Ryan will take HRA to the next level as our next Chairman. He is putting together an Executive team that will be up for all that is ahead of us in 2022 & 2023.
HRA has established itself as an Association that will be at the table when major decisions are made both at the City and State level. We must continue to be at the table to voice the concerns and issues of our industry. With legislation that for the most part is out of touch and continues to pull away from the business reality, we must maintain our relationships with those in government who do listen and who do want to work with us and care about our industry. Our voice must continue to be heard and I believe will be heard because of our leadership and members. Because of that, I am hopeful for the future and for our industry.
Chairman Hawaii Restaurant Association 2020-2022
Haʻaheo e ka ua i nā pali
Ke nihi aʻela i ka nahele
E hahai (uhai) ana paha i ka liko Pua ʻāhihi lehua o uka
Aloha ʻoe, aloha ʻoe
E ke onaona noho i ka lipo
One fond embrace,
A hoʻi aʻe au
Until we meet again