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By in Latest News, Uncategorized Comments Off on Statement: PaHouse passes HB 1160

Statement: PaHouse passes HB 1160

The following is a statement from Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. The statement concerns HB 1160, a bill related to off-premise catering permits.

(Harrisburg, June 20, 2023) Today, the Pennsylvania House passed HB 1160 by a 202-1 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate.

This bill, sponsored by Rep. Napoleon Nelson, helps many family-owned taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants increase revenue opportunities as they work to recover from years of bad news.

In part, HB 1160 allows liquor licensees with off-premise catering permits to hold an unlimited number of off-premise catering events beyond 2024. Currently, Act 87 of 2021 sunsets at the end of 2024. If allowed to sunset, the state would revert back to outdated liquor code that limits the number of off-premise catering events. Rep. Nelson’s bill removes the sunset date among other things.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association fully supports this bill as it passed the House today.

For several years now, it’s been a financially difficult time for family-owned taverns, bars, and licensed restaurants. First, the industry lost the exclusive right to sell six-packs to go, resulting in significant loss of revenue. This was followed by pandemic restrictions that closed indoor dining. Then recovery efforts were hampered by supply chain issues, inflation, and a lack of workers.

Passing HB 1160 to help these businesses was the right thing to do. We hope the State Senate agrees and will move the bill in a timely manner.

The PLBTA thanks Rep. Nelson for his work on this bill, and the efforts of all House Members who provided support.


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The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association is the statewide political voice for small business taverns and licensed restaurants. Based in Harrisburg, the Association formed after Prohibition in 1941, reorganized in 2019, and today advocates for best practices and rights within the industry as well as best experiences for patrons. To learn more, visit or follow the Association on Twitter via @TavernPA.

Earlier this year, the PLBTA produced a Tavern Talk news video about this issue and Rep. Nelson’s interest to help. You can watch that video by clicking here.

By in Latest News, Uncategorized Comments Off on Eye On The Profit Prize

Eye On The Profit Prize

Training & Marketing Can Help Optimize Margins, Increase Traffic

Business really is about making a profit through a quality product. There’s no dispute about that. Every tavern owner wants to make as much as possible to pay bills more easily, keep staff employed, and, of course, put some money away for their future.

The challenge most have is maximizing profits … especially now in light of our state’s COVID-19 crisis and various orders from the state government. So, what should a tavern owner do?

Some ways may include waitstaff training. Consider the following ideas for starters …

  1. Push the most profitable selections on the menu. How many times have you ever seen a customer ask for menu advice. A good waitress will say everything is good on a menu. A great waitress will point out items which are the most profitable to the establishment.
  2. Train your staff to work a table from start to finish. For establishments serving food, that means begin by asking patrons if they’d like to order a pre-dinner drink before their meal is ready. Then, after the meal has been consumed, your staff should ask guests if they’d like an after-dinner drink. Waitstaff should avoid leaving the bill during the meal. It makes it too easy for the customer to avoid ordering that dessert or after-dinner drink.
  3. Don’t overpour and work to reduce waste. That’s an easy way to give away profits. Staff should stick to proper measurements, and only use what is needed.
  4. Have your waitstaff and management nip customer complaints early. Complaints that go unheard or ignored will likely be heard loudly by the customer’s friends and social media followers. That bad word-of-mouth marketing will hurt your business.

Of course, an investment in marketing may also help. How about these ideas?

  1. Pay attention to social media. A bad review on Yelp or Foursquare could be doing damage. Respond to a bad review to acknowledge you heard the complaint, and that you corrected the problem.
  2. Tap the power of Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. All are powerful ways to get your good news out. Keep in touch with your patrons through social media.
  3. Positive word-of-mouth marketing should be a goal. Invite your patrons to share photos of themselves enjoying your establishment through your social media channels as well as their personal social media accounts.
  4. Know the “money walk” … that is, where in your establishment are the likely paths patrons will take when walking? Take advantage of those paths by placing key sales messages along the path. For example, one path may be from the parking lot into a waiting area. Another path may be to the bathrooms.

And finally, don’t forget about simple business smarts.

  1. During non-peak hours, can your establishment host local business or club meetings?
  2. Shop around for the best prices. With the World Wide Web, you’re not locked into doing business as its been done for decades. You can explore the world to get great deals on barware and supplies. Make sure you are getting at least three bids for liquor liability and business insurance.
  3. Save money by keeping an eye on utilities. A leaky faucet or toilet that doesn’t stop running is costing you money. Have you shopped around for the best electricity rates?
  4. Other than drinks, are there things your staff can sell to customers while they wait for their meal to be served? Small games of chance? Juke box? Video games? Pub gear?


This article was republished from the October 2020 edition of Pennsylvania Beverage Media, the official monthly magazine of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. 


By in Latest News, Uncategorized Comments Off on Statement: PLBTA Applauds State Senate In Passing HB 2513; Small Business Taverns and Licensed Restaurants Need This Help

Statement: PLBTA Applauds State Senate In Passing HB 2513; Small Business Taverns and Licensed Restaurants Need This Help

Chuck Moran, Executive Director

The following is a statement from Chuck Moran, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, concerning today’s action in the Pennsylvania Senate regarding HB 2513.


Today, the Pennsylvania Senate voted to help small business taverns and licensed restaurants by passing HB 2513 by a bi-partisan vote of 43-6. The bill now goes back to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for concurrence.

Recent amendments to HB 2513 return the industry to standards that were in place before the July 15 mitigation rule changes that have done significant damage to our small business Members across the Commonwealth. The bill allows taverns and restaurants to operate at a minimum of 50 percent capacity with continued social distancing and barriers in use; eliminates the requirement that alcohol sales for on-site consumption may only occur if a meal is also purchased; and also permits customers to sit at the bar with appropriate social distancing and/or barriers.

The industry has played and continues to play its role in the COVID-19 battle. It has been the tip of the spear since day one of the battle, and has sacrificed the most of any industry. Industry casualties are mounting as more establishments close their doors and employees lose their jobs. The industry and its employees desperately need this type of help.

HB 2513 is a safe step in the right direction. It takes into consideration a balance of COVID safety measures and business survival needs.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association thanks the Pennsylvania Senate for its action today.

We look forward to working with the general assembly on future legislation to continue efforts in rescuing the industry and returning it to normal operations.


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About the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association is a statewide association based in Harrisburg, representing small business taverns and licensed restaurants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Association formed in 1941, reorganized in 2019, and today advocates for best practices and rights within the industry as well as best experiences for patrons.


Members of the media can call (717) 232-8671 to request an interview on this topic.

By in Latest News, Uncategorized Comments Off on Harrisburg Check-in with Sen. Pat Stefano

Harrisburg Check-in with Sen. Pat Stefano

Sen. Pat Stefano

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association sat down with Sen. Pat. Stefano recently to learn more about his perspective on the liquor industry, including Act 39 and the current political landscape. Sen. Stefano is chair of the Senate Law & Justice Committee. He serves the 32nd District including Fayette, Somerset, and Westmoreland counties.

PLBTA: Thinking back to your first elected position, what motivated you to run for public office?
PS: As the owner of a small business, I’m the 3rd generation of my family’s printing company, I have been involved in my community and involved in groups like our local Chamber of Commerce and NFIB for many years. In those groups we followed our legislators’ votes on issues that were important to small businesses. I would send my letters on important issues and get form letters back. It became clear to me that my representation wasn’t actually listening to me. I was brought up that as a small business we should always give back to our communities and when this opportunity came I saw it as a perfect opportunity to give back to the community which has been so good to me and my family.

PLBTA: What made you particularly interested in chairing the Senate Law & Justice Committee?
PS: Alcohol policy is a place where I think the interests of small businesses really comes up against the government. Alcohol is a regulated industry and an industry that we rely on to provide us nearly 1 billion dollars in tax revenue. I wanted to ensure that our regulations and the management of our Liquor Control Board is being done in a way that is conducive to small businesses being able to flourish. As a senator from a rural district I am also very concerned about access and providing the service that our constituents expect. I also am extremely concerned about police matters and how it relates to our commonwealth, particularly in rural areas.

PLBTA: Our Members are mostly Mom-and-Pop operations. When they look around their hometowns, they can see that the local hardware store has closed, the independent doctor was bought out by a hospital chain, and the neighborhood grocery store is no more. They worry that their industry is next. Do you ever worry about small businesses going away?
PS: I do and I don’t. Of course, I see the trend towards national chains and am concerned that they spell the end of small businesses. However, I am a firm believer in the entrepreneurial spirit. I think that our small businesses are adapting to this trend and can provide the personal service and quality product that can overcome the trend towards national chains.

PLBTA: Do you have an agenda for the Law & Justice Committee this legislative session? Are there issues that you see as needing change in the system to make it more workable or efficient?
PS: I think that we need to ensure that the sectors of the alcohol industry have parity. We have seen tremendous success with the expansion of wine and beer and I think the next logical step is to look towards creating convenience for our spirits products as well. In the same sense I want to ensure that our PA based small businesses, who employs thousands in our commonwealth, are given the tools and flexibility they need to thrive.

PLBTA: Passage of Act 39 forced many changes in the retail liquor industry, with unintended consequences for many licensees.  Taverns are facing more competition than ever before.  Do you anticipate the Law & Justice Committee looking at the impacts of Act 39, and making any changes to help level the playing field for all licensees?
PS: One of the things I have learned about this area of the law is that when you change one thing it effects everyone in the industry. I am interested in hearing more about these concerns and working with licensees to either understand the intent of the law if it is something that does not have the necessary support to be changed and looking at ways to improve the overall business climate for all licensees.

PLBTA: One result of Act 39 has been delays in timely beer deliveries due to the expansion and universal availability of beer at large retailers and convenience stores, which were not in the beer business prior to the Act.  At times, bar owners find themselves out of supplies, but current law doesn’t allow tavern owners to pick up beer when they are short through no fault of their own.  Would you support legislation that would allow tavern owners to pick up limited amounts of brewed and malt beverages when they run out?
PS: I have been hearing a lot about the changes in the franchise law and understand that different areas are experiencing this law in different ways. I am interested in looking into this concept while ensuring that the products that are available to our consumers are the freshest and safest products available.

PLBTA: Bar owners often pay servers and bartenders through the wage-tip structure that guarantees minimum wage through a combination of a tavern hourly wage and tips. They often can make more … $15, $20, $25 per hour. This structure helps the small business and the employee. Governor Wolf wants to change minimum wage rules, possibly going as high as $15/hour and setting tipped minimum wages at 75% of the overall minimum.  Some worry that patrons will feel tipping is not necessary due to a higher wage. If this were to happen, it may actually cause servers and bartenders to make less. How do you feel about the wage-tip structure?
PS: I think the discussion around minimum wage is made to seem so simple. People need to make more therefore we should raise the wage and it will just happen. Unfortunately, if a large jump in the wage would occur it could have long ranging unintended consequences ranging from layoffs, to increase consumer prices to the scenario that you lay out in your question. That is why I wish the federal government would be leading the way on this so that all states were operating on the same level. I think this discussion needs to be handled with great caution and any changes need to be incremental and over time to allow everyone to adjust properly.

PLBTA: Everyone has their favorite restaurant, bar, or tavern. These establishments can be great places to gather with friends and family. Without specifically naming your favorite, what makes it so special that you keep going back? What stands out about it?
PS: I think these local establishments build a sense of togetherness and help make our communities stronger. These employees and business owners don’t just work in our community, they are a part of it. Anytime I’m at a youth sporting event chances are there are a few teams sponsored by a restaurant, bar or tavern. When I go to our community theater or a fundraiser for a nonprofit, you have ads in the program or are donating food or beverages. You usually are the first to be asked to support something and the first to step up and do so. I really prefer to support those kinds of establishments. Not to mention, the wings at my favorite establishment can’t be beat.


The above Q&A was republished from the July edition of Pennsylvania Observer, the official magazine of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association.