Proposals would eliminate food-to-beverage ratios for neighborhood restaurants

The Charter Commission is holding a public hearing Wednesday, June 4 at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall to take public comment on a proposed charter amendment that would eliminate the language related to “70/30” restaurants.

A group of neighborhood restaurants have been pushing for the change, which requires the businesses to generate more than 70 percent of their revenues from food. Owners of the restaurants argue the rule is outdated and burdensome to honor given the popularity of wine bars and new eateries featuring craft beers in neighborhoods throughout the city. 

City Council Vice President Elizabeth Glidden (Ward 8) and Council Members Linea Palmisano (Ward 13) and Jacob Frey (Ward 3) are also pushing to amend the city’s alcohol ordinances related to restaurants outside of downtown bound by the “60/40” rule, requiring 60 percent of sales to come from food purchases. Here’s the statement they sent to reporters after the May 23 City Council meeting:

At this morning’s full City Council session, we were pleased to introduce notices of intent to amend section of our city’s alcohol ordinances. We specifically plan to remove the food to beverage sales requirement ratios while adding other sections describing expected management responsibilities, server training, and increasing ability to take adverse action against problem establishments. The amendment will extend the community outreach notification for establishment of liquor licensing and refine definitions of bar area and menu service.  We seek to create policy that enables our restaurant industry to succeed in a responsible manner.  

We take great pride in our local food scene.  Our restaurant culture has grown and we value and celebrate an increasingly diverse mix of restaurants and eateries. Part of fostering this and enabling local entrepreneurs to thrive include the need for better rules and tools for both restaurants and regulators. To that end, it is in everyone’s interest to update these regulations so they can facilitate good neighbor regulation while also assuring fair and just enforcement.  Safety and regulation of liquor and beer in the Minneapolis restaurant industry is of paramount importance as we work to enhance our restaurant culture. 

We have been working with staff and in collaboration with local restaurant owners and industry representatives.  We are further encouraged by the recent state action on the liquor omnibus bill that provides cities with additional enforcement power when necessary to remove a bad actor, and our Charter Commission’s intent of a public hearing on the “70/30 Charter” provision.

It is timely to consider amendments to our ordinances and we invite this public conversation.

Council Members Elizabeth Glidden (Ward 8), Jacob Frey (Ward 3), and Linea Palmisano (Ward 13)