The Hawaii Restaurant Association’s mission is “to provide exceptional value through membership benefits, industry advocacy, community involvement, educational resources and networking opportunities.” I’d like to thank our Executive Committee for their time, leadership, and selfless service to furthering HRA’s mission and elevating our collective commitment to grow Hawaii’s restaurant industry. I would also be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the countless contributions of HRA’s immediate past-Chairman Greg Maples over the last two years. His exceptional and outstanding service created a monumental platform for HRA that I am confident our dedicated team will further build on as we move forward.
Together, we are one of the largest industries in the state employing approximately 100,000 full-time and part-time employees combined. Inflation, measured through CPI, has remained over 8.0% since March 2022, and interest rates continue to climb in an effort by the Federal Reserve to combat rising prices. Increasing minimum wage, supply chain shortages, new potential COVID strains, and changing consumer behavior are among the increasing strong headwinds we face as an industry. Our incredible HRA team – Sheryl, Chivon and Holly – and our entire HRA Executive Committee and Board of Directors continue their tireless work of expanding HRA on all cylinders within our mission. We also must acknowledge our super volunteers who make possible the high caliber of our events throughout the year.
We are already gearing up for the 2023 legislative session through our weekly Town Hall meetings. With the conclusion of the Primary Elections, the next few months will be pivotal to assist Victor Lim and our hard-working Government Relations Committee grow and further develop key lawmaker relationships.
Concurrently, we continue to facilitate new resource offerings to assist each of you to become more efficient and effective within your respective restaurant locations. Stay tuned for webinars, job fairs, government programs, and other resources becoming available for your consideration to potentially help expand your service provider and technology offerings. HRA does not endorse any solution above another, rather we continue to seek out and be open to new service providers and technologies as we learn about them and as they become available.
Last, we are committed to community engagement so we can provide each of you with new opportunities to connect with your local community. We will continue to examine and innovate new ways to partner with our community at large. One of our most recent programs is the successful launch of Braddahhood and Sistahhood Grindz with the University of Hawaii Athletics Department – a program I proudly co-founded on behalf of HRA with UH Football Head Coach Timmy Chang. Through this program, HRA has engaged with with five sports teams – football, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, and women’s soccer. More teams will be announced throughout the remainder of the year.
Thank you to each of you for all you do and I invite you to reach out at any time to Sheryl, myself, or any of us if you’d like to get more involved or offer any guidance or support.