Because Zelle is an easy way to send and receive money, it's also an easy way for hackers to steal it. Here’s how to protect yourself from Zelle scams.
The pandemic normalized contactless payments, and digital wallet options have popped up everywhere, including places that used to only accept cash—like farm stands, garage sales and even your babysitter. While this is incredibly convenient, it also leads to unsuspecting people becoming victims of scams, and wherever we turn, there seems to be another one--cash app scams, online scams, Venmo scams, Facebook Marketplace scams and now, Zelle scams.
“Over 100 million people use Zelle to transfer nearly $500 billion annually, which is a staggering amount of money,” says Monica Eaton-Cardone, COO of Chargebacks911. “So, naturally, when you have that many people transferring that much wealth, it’s going to attract the attention of hackers, criminals and cyberthieves.”
To help you stay safe, we’ve identified the most common Zelle scams you might encounter, as well as provided information on what to do if you accidentally fall for one. And remember: Scammers are sneaky, but if something seems off about a monetary transaction, it probably is.
What are some common Zelle scams to look out for?
The good news is that Zelle has top-tier security protocols, says Adam Levin, host of the “What the Hack with Adam Levin” podcast. The bad news? Scammers are creative and convincing, and once you send money, you have little recourse to recoup it. “Zelle’s main vulnerability is that payments are instant and irreversible,” explains Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst at Bankrate. “People love getting paid quickly—like, if I’m reimbursing a friend for my share of a meal—and fraudsters exploit this vulnerability.”
If you lose your phone and have the Zelle app, a criminal can initiate transfers from your account, but in the majority of cases, “Zelle scams boil down to trickery,” Contos points out. “Most of the time, Zelle scams involve social engineering a victim into transferring money to the criminal’s account.” The same is often true of scams involving Apple Pay and Google Pay.
These are the most common Zelle scams:
This is probably the most common scam, according to experts, and it has several forms. A scammer will impersonate a friend or family member and say they have an emergency and need money right away. This urgent request may come in an email, text message, direct message on a social media site or even a phone call.
Other times, a criminal will impersonate a legitimate company, organization or government agency and request a payment from you via Zelle. “They could claim that you owe them money for a past due charge, that your water bill is late and the service will be stopped if you don’t pay immediately, that you were short on your taxes, or that you failed to pay a traffic fine and a warrant will be issued for your arrest,” says Contos. “They could also claim to be a charity, a family member who is stranded and in desperate need of help, or use any other con that will pull at your heartstrings.” FYI, be aware of these scam phone numbers.
Catfishing or “romance” scams are also increasing in frequency. In fact, Joe Troyer, CEO of ReviewGrower, says they’re the most common Zelle scams. According to the Federal Trade Commission, “people sent $547 million to online romance scammers last year,” and “in the past five years, people have reported losing a staggering $1.3 billion to romance scams, more than any other FTC fraud category.”
“It all begins with a phony dating profile on one of the many popular social media sites or apps,” Troyer says. “People exchange hundreds of texts with the fraudsters, who are charming and can make people fall in love with them, and then they start asking for money or presents, often requesting cash through Zelle.”
“In this scam, scammers send emails or text messages that appear to be from a participating financial institution, asking users to click on a link or open an attachment,” explains Daniel Chan, Chief Technology Officer of Marketplace Fairness. “If users do this, they may download malware that can steal their personal information.”
The FBI warns about these phishing scams that “lure you in and get you to take the bait,” noting that any ploy that leads a victim to giving a scammer access to their Zelle account is extra risky. That’s because Zelle payments are fast and irreversible and were designed only to be used between people who know and trust each other.
Fake invoice scam
With this type of scam, scammers send emails or text messages that appear to be from a business that the user does business with. “The email or message will instruct the user to click on a link to view an invoice,” Chan says. “If the user clicks on the link, they’ll be taken to a website that looks like the business’s website. However, this website is a scam site, and if the user enters their personal information, they will give the scammers access to their account.”
The lottery scam can be used for any prize. In this scam, emails or text messages appear to be from a lottery company or a company offering a prize of some sort. The email or message will ask the user to click on a link to claim their prize and enter their Zelle account to send the “lottery winnings.” Like the fake invoice scam, if the user clicks on the link, they will be taken to a website that looks like the lottery company’s website, and if the user enters their personal information, they will give the scammers access to their account.
Paul Bischoff, a privacy advocate at Comparitech, warns against clicking on links or attachments in unsolicited emails or texts, because they could install malware on your device. “You’re tricked into installing malware,” Bischoff says, “and an attacker could hijack your device and send themselves money from your Zelle app.”
And that’s not all. “More severe malware could hijack banking apps like Zelle and send money directly from your account,” Bischoff adds. “Other malware might just wait for you to log in to your bank account via a web browser so it can steal your password and send it to the attacker. Another strain of malware might redirect you to a phishing site when you try to access your bank’s website or Zelle, which then steals your password and other info.”
Jim Murphy, Director of Fraud Management North America at D4t4, also warns against the goods-and-services scam. “This happens when you shop online and pay using Zelle and never receive what you paid for,” Murphy says. “The item is usually listed at a discount but only if it’s purchased within a limited time window.”
As Hamerstone warns, be wary of companies or individuals with products that are priced low or are hard to find—and who then push you to pay via Zelle.
Emergency phone scam
“Another thing to watch out for is someone asking to use your phone,” Hamerstone warns. “There have been cases where someone will fake an emergency, ask to use a stranger’s phone and then quickly send a payment to themselves.”
Business account scam
A new kind of scam has been popping up on resale sites like Facebook Marketplace. If you list an expensive item and have a very interested buyer, make sure it’s legit. The Better Business Bureau has warned of fake “buyers” who pretend to pay for an item, then trick you into sending them money back.
After the scammer tells you they want an item, you receive an email that looks like it’s from Zelle, saying the “buyer” paid with a business account and to access the payment, you must also upgrade to a Zelle business account—for $300. The scammer will generously add the $300 onto the “payment” they sent you, as long as you promise to refund them after you upgrade. The “buyer” will use fake emails and screenshots to make it look like they’ve paid you. But when you Zelle the $300 back, you realize the payments were fake, and you’ve just lost your money.
To avoid getting scammed, always check for payments through your Zelle app. Never rely on screenshots or emails as proof, beware of buyers offering more than you listed the item for and don’t agree to refund a payment.
Metairie, LA – The Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) announced its 2022 Industry Awards—including the Restaurateurs of the Year, which is the LRA’s most prestigious award. Also, five LRA members were inducted into the LRA’s Hall of Fame, which recognizes their lifetime of impact and achievements in the industry. The Associate Member of the Year recognizes an industry supplier that is committed to improving the association and industry. The LRA Advocates of the Year award recognizes elected officials or individuals who’ve engaged in legislation, regulation, or policy efforts to create a better operating environment for LRA members. The LRA Awards Dinner was held at Juban’s Restaurant in Baton Rouge, Monday, November 7, 2022.
The Restaurateurs of the Year: Emery Whalen and Chef Brian Landry of QED Hospitality
The two own the food and beverage management company, which operates in boutique hotels such as the Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans. Among the local establishments are Jack Rose Restaurant, the Bayou Bar, the Hot Tin Bar and the Silver Whistle Café. In Nashville at the Thompson Hotel, they operate LA Jackson, the Marsh House and Kilbrew. Most recently, they open The Kitchen Table at the James B. Beam Distilling Co. in Clermont, Kentucky and have plans to expand the food and beverage concepts on the eighth-generation distillery’s campus.
“To be recognized by the LRA for what we’ve accomplished with our company and partnership, is truly an honor,” said Whalen, CEO of QED Hospitality. “It makes us work harder to serve the industry and our amazing team. The last two years have been particularly challenging and it’s been the LRA advocating and providing the necessary information that helped us through the pandemic.”
Five industry leaders were inducted into the LRA’s Hall of Fame. Cindy Brennan Davis and Randy Stein of Mr. B’s Bistro in the French Quarter, who own and manage the restaurant respectively have been operating for over forty years in the challenging New Orleans French Quarter. Additionally, long-term Mr. B’s Executive Chef, the late Michelle McRaney who worked with Davis and Stein for 25 years is also inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Also inducted was Chef Susan Spicer, who currently owns Rosedale Restaurant in Mid-City New Orleans. For decades, Chef Spicer has served her unique culinary style at her restaurants Bayona in the French Quarter, Rosedale in Mid City and Mondo in the Louis Armstrong International Airport. During her lengthy career she has mentored and trained numerous new chefs and culinary talent encouraging them to launch their own operations to fulfill their dreams.
Finally, Frank Randol of the former Randol’s Restaurant in Lafayette was inducted into the Hall of Fame. A former LRA State Director, for 50 years, Randol’s Restaurant was known worldwide for its cuisine and their dancehall that featured live zydeco music seven nights a week. Mr. Randol had been an active advocate on behalf of the Louisiana seafood and crawfish industry, and traveled the world promoting the Cajun culture of the Acadiana region helping to build Lafayette as its own destination for visitors.
The Associate Member of the Year is the Jason Jones, Region Vice President of Sales for Sysco. As an industry partner, Jones serves on the LRA Board of Directors and is the 2023 Chair-Elect of the LRA Education Foundation.
The Advocates of the Year are the Honorable Patrick Page Cortez, Senate President and the Honorable Clay Schexnayder, Speaker of the House. These two legislators have worked together to lead the two bodies – the Senate and the House – in a measured and thoughtful way to accomplish budgetary decisions that recognize the importance of the tourism and restaurant industries.
“The great thing about working with Page and Clay is that they have both worked in the restaurant industry,” said Stan Harris, LRA President and CEO. “Page was a fine dining server who worked his way through college and Clay started out in his teens as a busboy and kitchen assistant to the chef. It certainly makes a difference when the leadership can relate to the LRA members.”
A new award was created this year—LRA ICON. This award recognizes an establishment that has truly encapsulated the spirit of hospitality. Dating to the days of prohibition and still serving their famed Hurricane cocktail every day, Pat O’Brien’s was named the first LRA ICON. Shelly Waguespack, third generation owner accepted the award.
WASHINGTON -- The Internal Revenue Service today warned employers to be wary of third parties who are advising them to claim the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) when they may not qualify. Some third parties are taking improper positions related to taxpayer eligibility for and computation of the credit.
These third parties often charge large upfront fees or a fee that is contingent on the amount of the refund and may not inform taxpayers that wage deductions claimed on the business’ federal income tax return must be reduced by the amount of the credit.
If the business filed an income tax return deducting qualified wages before it filed an employment tax return claiming the credit, the business should file an amended income tax return to correct any overstated wage deduction.
Businesses are encouraged to be cautious of advertised schemes and direct solicitations promising tax savings that are too good to be true. Taxpayers are always responsible for the information reported on their tax returns. Improperly claiming the ERC could result in taxpayers being required to repay the credit along with penalties and interest.
What is the ERC?
The ERC is a refundable tax credit designed for businesses who continued paying employees while shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic or had significant declines in gross receipts from March 13, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2021. Eligible taxpayers can claim the ERC on an original or amended employment tax return for a period within those dates.
To be eligible for the ERC, employers must have:
To report tax-related illegal activities relating to ERC claims, submit Form 3949-A, Information Referral. You should also report instances of fraud and IRS-related phishing attempts to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.
Go to IRS.gov to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to claim the Employee Retention Credit :
Proceeds benefit the LRA Education Foundation and supports culinary arts in Baton Rouge area high schools
Metairie, La. – The Louisiana Restaurant Association Greater Baton Rouge Chapter will host its inaugural Oktoberfest presented by Mockler Beverage Company and Anheuser-Busch, Thursday, October 13, 2022 from 6-9 p.m. at Pointe Marie, 14200 River Road in Baton Rouge. The event will feature German-inspired cuisine from area restaurants and beers from local breweries, live music by The Chris Leblanc Band, live auction and games. Attendees must be 21 years or older to attend.
“We are pleased to offer our community a new event filled with familiar Oktoberfest fun,” said Jeff Conaway, LRA GBR Chapter President. “This is a fundraising event for a cause that is near and dear to our members – Louisiana ProStart. Our area has 19 high school culinary arts and restaurant management programs designed to attract young people to rewarding careers in our restaurants.”
Annually, the LRA GBR Chapter raises funds through two events. In the Spring, the GBR Chapter hosts a Golf Tournament which yields $60,000 for the LRA Education Foundation, which administers ProStart in Baton Rouge and across the state—61 programs in total.
LRA member restaurants participating and menu items are:
Attendees will also enjoy a complimentary beer stein in which to sample:
In addition, there will be a live auction for attendees to bid on a dine around package which includes: gift cards to 25 area restaurants; a tailgate package from Mockler Beverage Company and Superior Grill; a chef’s table for 10 people with wine from L’Auberge Baton Rouge; and a Chef’s Table for 6 people at Ruffino’s. The event features a German-style costume contest, a stein holding contest and a barrel roll for attendees to participate for a chance to win great prizes.
Tickets are $50 per person in advance. VIP tickets are available for $75 per person and includes a VIP area with open bar and a complimentary beer stein by City Group Hospitality.
PURCHASE TICKETS HERE
Sponsors are: Mockler Beverage Company and Anheuser-Busch, Ecolab, Louisiana Seafood, Louisiana Travel, L’Auberge, City Group Hospitality, First Horizon Bank, Repcon, Inc. and Country Pleasin’ Sausage.
For more information, contact Britney Ford at email@example.com or (225) 240-7189.
By Attorneys, Kelly McCall and Michelle Anderson Fisher & Phillips
Credit card swipe fees have been a thorn in the side of businesses and consumers alike. Businesses, including restaurants, pay credit card networks (such as Visa, AMEX and Mastercard) to allow them to accept credit card payments for purchases. Some businesses choose to pass this fee on to the consumers – a surcharge. Are these surcharges legal? If so, how should your restaurant protect itself while utilizing credit card surcharges?
What is a credit card surcharge?
A credit card surcharge is a way for businesses to have their customers who pay with a credit card cover the processing costs for accepting those credit card transactions. These surcharges typically range from 1.5 to 4 percent of the transaction amount. Credit card surcharges are not the same as convenience fees.
Convenience fees are charges passed on to customers for the privilege of paying for a product or service using an alternative payment method that is not standard for the business. For example, a business that traditionally accepts cash or checks but also offers credit card payments or the use of banking apps (PayPal, Zelle, Venmo) for convenience, might charge an additional fee for that convenience. Another example of a convenience fee is a restaurant offers curbside/take-out or delivery, it charges a convenience fee for these services, that it does not charge for in-person dining. The convenience fee is charged not for using a credit card, but for the privilege of accessing the services for take-out or delivery.
Is it legal?
A United States Supreme Court ruling in 2017 protected surcharges as a form of free speech from merchants. That does not, however, limit states from imposing restrictions. There are at least ten states that prohibit surcharges (and some convenience fees). Louisiana is not presently one of those states.
Businesses can also require a minimum purchase amount when a credit card is used, under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The minimums cannot be more than $10, and the minimum cannot be set higher than what other merchants in the same card network use.
Rules for credit card surcharges
There are rules for businesses to follow when it comes to credit card surcharges. If your restaurant is using credit card surcharges, then you must do the following:
· Check with your credit card network for any requirements or restrictions
· If doing business outside of Louisiana, check state law
· Clearly disclose the fact that there is a surcharge before the transaction
· Display the credit card surcharge on the receipt
· Keep surcharges below 4% of the transaction, or the amount of the fees the merchant pays to the credit card companies, whichever is less
Keep in mind, surcharges are only allowed for credit card purchases – not debit card or preloaded gift card transactions.
Should you use a surcharge?
Accepting credit cards costs restaurants more in comparison to cash. Processing fees and expenses like card readers and point-of-sale systems quickly add up, especially for small business owners. Consumers, however, are becoming overrun with fees. In some instances fees are costing almost as much as the meal itself. Businesses should evaluate the pros and cons and weigh that small profit against the potential profit loss from turning away some customers due to the surcharges. This is particularly true if other establishments in your local area are not including surcharges for accepting credit cards. Evaluate whether there is another way to cover the costs through pricing of your products and services versus having the additional charge on the bill. As with many things in business, just because you can is not necessarily the same answer as whether you should.
For more information contact the authors at Kmccall@fisherphillips.com or Manderson@fisherphillips.com
The theme highlights the key roles all employees play in keeping customers safe
Restaurant employees at every level of an enterprise are essential to making the foods they serve safe. That’s why this year for National Food Safety Month (NFSM), ServSafe’s goal is to help everyone — from frontline food handlers to executives — focus on the skills and knowledge that create a culture of food safety.
Between August 29 and October 2, the experts at ServSafe will curate free content including checklists, white papers, posters, and webinars focused on essential skills at every level. These include:
“The dining public should know that restaurants take food safety training seriously and are some of the safest businesses people frequent. National Food Safety Month is a way to bring that to the forefront for consumers,” said Sherman Brown, executive vice president of Business Services for the National Restaurant Association. “For more than 30 years, ServSafe has been the leader in preparing foodservice workers to deliver safe dining experiences for their guests, while also keeping themselves safe. With this content, we are helping operators and employees fortify their knowledge of food safety, while telling that story in their communities.”
NFSM, held annually in September, was created in 1994 by the National Restaurant Association to heighten awareness about the importance of food safety education. The 2022 NFSM is sponsored by Tork and Ecolab.
To join the NFSM conversation, follow ServSafe on Facebook and Twitter and use the hashtag #NFSM2022. For more information and the weekly resources, visit FoodSafetyFocus.com.
PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans joins the event as official coffee and food vendor
Beignet Fest returns September 24 to New Orleans City Park with an array of vendors doing their take on the iconic beignet. Leading the way, PJ’s Coffee joins the event this year serving its famous coffee, as well as beignets, which the brand introduced in their coffee shops last year.
“There’s nothing more New Orleans than coffee and beignets,” said Leslie Monson, CMO of Ballard Brands, parent company for PJ’s Coffee. “We received a tremendous response to serving beignets in our stores, and we’re excited to bring our coffee and beignets to the Beignet Fest.”
PJ’s Coffee joins long-time favorites including Loretta’s Authentic Pralines, widely known for its praline beignet and crabmeat beignet, as well as The Vintage, Old School Eats, The Howlin’ Wolf and more. Other new vendors of note include Stuph’d Beignets and Burgers, which will offer a creole crawfish beignet and bananas foster beignet, as well as the Delgado Culinary & Hospitality Club doing King Cake beignets.
The full menu includes:
PJ’s Coffee: Traditional Beignets, Pumpkin Spice-Filled Beignets, Chocolate Bavarian Cream-Filled Beignets
Loretta’s Authentic Pralines: Praline Beignet, Chocolate Praline Beignet, The Famous Crabmeat Beignet, Burger Beignet, Peanut Butter and Jelly Beignet
The Vintage: Traditional Beignets, Crawfish Beignets, Raspberry Beignets, Parmesan Truffle Fries
Old School Eats: Blackberry Cloud Beignets, No Brainer Beignets, Beignet Ole’, Trinity (sampler)
The Howlin’ Wolf: Award Winning Cheddar Bacon Beignets with Chipotle Crema
Oh, Taste and See: Beignet Bread Pudding, Shrimp Pasta, Gumbo
Any O’ Cajun: Crawfish and Corn Beignets, Crab Slider
Sweet Legacy: Fried Chicken & Beignets, Honey Pecan Beignets, Low Down Dirty Beignets
Afrodisiac: Jerk Chicken Beignet, Jamaican Beef Patty Beignet, Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Beignet
Stuph’d Beignets and Burgers: Creole Crawfish Beignet, Bananas Foster Beignets
Café Beignet: Traditional Beignets
Cocoa and Cream Catering: Fig & Cream Cheese Mardi Gras Beignet, Smoked Pulled Pork Beignet, Monte Cristo Beignet, Sampler Plate, Seafood Nachos
Delgado Culinary & Hospitality Club: King Cake Beignets
Dirty Dishes: Hot Sausage Stuffed Beignets, Dirty Mac
Jambalaya Girl: Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya, Jamburrito
Big O’s Original Pops: Cafe au Lait + Beignets Pop, Strawberry Lemonade Pop, Pralines ‘n Cream Pop, “Popsicle Po-Boy”
Valerie’s Creole Sneaux Catering: Snoballs, Natural Flavored Snoballs, Fruit Cup
Beignet Fest will feature a PJ’s Coffee Café as well as an Abita Beer Garden for folks to enjoy as they listen to live music throughout the day on two stages. Through a partnership with Children’s Hospital New Orleans, there will be a fully activated, sensory friendly Kids Village in keeping with the event’s charitable mission to support children with autism and related developmental challenges. There will also be an Artist Market with local artists offering a variety of artwork, handmade clothes and other crafts for sale. The 2022 Beignet Fest will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Festival Grounds in New Orleans City Park. Admission is $20 per person. Children 12 and under are free with a paid adult. Advanced tickets are on sale now and highly encouraged. PJ’s Coffee customers can get $15 tickets with a discount code offered at all their coffee shops through September 20. More information on the 2022 Beignet Fest and the full menu with descriptions can be found at www.beignetfest.com or by following @beignetfest on Facebook and Instagram.
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About Beignet Fest: Beignet Fest is a premier food festival in Louisiana that celebrates one of New Orleans’s most iconic treats: the beignet. From traditional sweet flavors to savory options with seafood, cheese and more, Beignet Fest serves up the best beignets in the South all in one place on one day. Proceeds from Beignet Fest benefit the Beignet Fest Foundation, which helps support autism programs for children and their families.
About PJ’s Coffee: Since its inception in 1978, PJ’s Coffee has set out to show that its coffee is the best in the business. Founded by Phyllis Jordan, a pioneer in the coffee industry, and owned and operated by New Orleans natives and brothers, Paul, Steven, and Scott Ballard since 2008, the company has stuck true to that mission and its New Orleans roots. So why is PJ’s Coffee better? Because its coffee comes from the top Arabica beans available, made using superior roasting techniques in small batches and everyone at PJ’s is passionate about the art of coffeemaking. From its roasters to baristas to bakers, everyone understands that the ‘Soul of Coffee’ is how it brings people together. It’s why PJ’s Coffee serves a wide variety of hot, iced and frozen coffee beverages, as well as organic tea and fresh breakfast pastries, including its New Orleans-style beignets. PJ’s Original Cold Brew™ Ice Coffee is brewed daily using a special cold-drip process that protects the flavor and strength of the beans, while producing a coffee that is two-thirds less acidic. PJ’s Velvet Ice® and Granita’s are frozen and blended beverage options that capture the distinct flavors of coffee or tea in a cold, smooth drink. And all of PJ’s flavored coffees offer no additional calories thanks to carefully selected flavor ingredients and techniques. The diverse menu comes together with a simple goal – to help people connect over a coffee, tea or beignet and get a distinct taste of New Orleans! With more than 145 operating stores, including four international locations, PJ’s Coffee continues to grow in the U.S. and abroad. For more information or to purchase your favorite flavor, visit pjscoffee.com or follow PJ’s Coffee on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Soaring costs across all parts of the business are creating challenges for restaurant operators
Restaurant operators expect business conditions to remain challenging
Profitability is down from pre-pandemic levels
Majority of Louisiana restaurants are understaffed and actively seeking to fill positions
Source: National Restaurant Association, national survey of 4,200 restaurant operators conducted between July 14 and August 5, 2022
Chef Pat Gallagher and Hotel Owner Lisa Condrey Ward partake in a discussion about the current state of the hospitality industry on the Northshore with "It's New Orleans Out to Lunch" host Peter Ricchiuti.
The podcast is recorded and broadcasted live from The NOLA Pizza Room at NOLA Brewing Company. Ricchiuti is a Senior Professor of Practice at Tulane University's Freeman School of Business.
This episode, the host chats with Chef Gallagher and Condrey Ward on topics including the short, but vast difference between the Northshore and the Southshore and how it isn't so different in the grand scheme of things. Also hot current topics like restaurant profit margins, supply chain issues, menu costs and catering to the current diner's appetite.
Chef Pat Gallagher is known statewide for his first restaurant The Winners Circle, which opened in Folsom, La in 1978. People from all over, especially the Southshore, would make the drive to dine on his culinary creations each weekend. Today, he owns four restaurants under his restaurant group, The Gallagher Restaurant Group.
Pat's Rest Awhile, Gallagher's on Front Street, Pat Gallagher's 527 Restaurant & Bar and Gallagher's Grill are all popular restaurants in the Northshore community. The Covington native has heavily invested in his community, and it has paid off, but it is never easy.
"During these times, that razor thin margin that you're talking about has gotten tighter than it was before," said Chef Pat Gallagher. "Because of cost of goods."
Chef Gallagher says they only recently raised prices on their menus, and customers have not complained. They understand it has to be done, and diners enjoy temporarily escaping their home life. With the rising cost of groceries, many patrons are eating out more to avoid waste, and time in the store.
Owner of the Southern Hotel in Covington is Lisa Condrey Ward. She and her husband bought the historic building with other family members, in 2011, after it sat vacant and depreciated since 1983. As a lawyer and preservationist, Condrey Ward put the hotel through a much needed $8 million renovation and opened it in 2014 with 40 guest rooms.
"When we stared, I anticipated our market was basically a 3-hour driving range, and that's probably predominantly true," said Condrey Ward. "One big surprise we had is the depth of business here on the Northshore, and the diversity of business was much greater than I thought. Some of the very first guests at the hotel, within the first week were from Europe."