Lancellotti took the helm at the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association after longtime president Marilou Halvorsen moved on to a national advocacy position. Lancellotti now leads the 80-year-old advocacy group with the concerns and priorities of thousands of restaurants and hotels in mind.
The organization wants people to know that the hospitality industry remains hard hit by the ongoing pandemic, even without the capacity limits of the first year-plus of the outbreak: NJRHA research found that 93% of restaurants experienced a decline in customer demand for indoor, on-premises dining in January due to omicron variant fears; and as a result, 80% of New Jersey restaurateurs say their business operations are worse now than three months ago. The NJRHA also found that 68% of restaurants said their sales volume was lower in 2021 than it was in 2019, indicating full recovery is still elusive.
Advocacy work for industries of this magnitude is important in any case—even more so when the struggle continues.