Video & Recap of BFI Business Resiliency Forum – Rick Caruso & Adam Burke Featured

Thanks to all who were able to attend the BizFed Institute’s Business Resiliency Forum, many felt it was highly informative the provided insights from business leaders as to how they were able to sustain their businesses and maintain resiliency. We learned many economic lessons by operating through a pandemic and we need to share those lessons so that we’ll be better prepared when the next natural disaster hits. The biggest question of the day was “What is needed for a quick reopening of the economy?”

The content of the forum was guided by poll data provided by BizFed Board member Employer’s Group with a focus on tourism and hospitality since those industries are some of the hardest hit and amongst those in most need of recovery. We have learned many lessons. For example, we have learned how to operate with less capital and human resources. We explored and discussed what else was learned along the way so as to keep us fiscally healthy. So, we shared breakthrough strategies and tactics that impacted businesses over the last year. This was the purpose of the Business Resiliency Forum, to provide a platform by convening a virtual forum in which business intelligence and thought leadership could be exchanged.

Look at our all-star lineup:

Business Resiliency Forum Takeaways:

Adam Burke: (1) Tourism is a $2.5 trillion industry that employs 16 million people  (2) rear view mirrors are small that the windshield (3) Los Angeles is a premier tourism destination and we’re positioning for a return to that with all the sports events coming up with the re-opening and new opening of sports venues like Sofi Stadium, the Olympics, and more. Tourism generated $323 million to the city’s general fund which reduces the city’s general fund which equates to $900/household. (4) It will take collaborative effort for us to recover in order to reinvigorate the economy. 

Watch Adam Burke Clip

In a pre-completed flash poll, 82 respondents discussed the current business climate and the business outlook in 2021. BFI President Kevin Harbour presented the findings at the beginning of the forum. 

Tourism Panel: (1) Every state was open except CA (2) The pandemic caused a loss of 700k jobs which in turn contributed to homelessness (3) CA lost $6.3B in tax revenue (4) We suffered a major loss in travelers and we must figure out how to protect the economy and businesses prior to the next pandemic or natural disaster. (5) We need a better process for lifting quarantine restrictions. 6) SB 285 – California Tourism Recovery Act, which would transfer $45 Million to the “Calling All Californians” in-state travel campaign.

Watch Tourism Panel

Rick Caruso: (1) We need the government to learn from how the pandemic was handled. (2) Caruso felt that his #1 priority was to keep people healthy and at the same time protect their livelihoods (3) Entrepreneurs are the heart and soul of our city and Caruso properties never closed or turned off their lights. He felt a responsibility to enrich the lives of others with interesting properties. (4) $1.7 trillion in forced savings in American Bank accounts which positions the economy for a surge in spending

Watch Rick Caruso Clip

Restaurant Panel: (1) Many restaurants had to make adjustments in their supply chain strategy due to reduced availability of essential ingredients (for example baker’s cheese), meat (processing plants shutdowns) and highly inflated prices. (2) Change in menu items as a result whether it was reduced items on the menus or eliminating menu items. (3) There was an impact on labor in terms of work hours/shifts, hiring/layoffs/re-hiring. (4) Operations and facilities were impacted. The 25% occupancy rule forced restaurateurs to make tough decisions on whether they could afford to stay open with a 75% reduction in income. Many restaurants decided to eliminate inside dining permanently, others went to curbside or home delivery. (5) There’s a higher dependence on technology with online ordering. (6) There’s a new phenomena emerging in the form of “ghost kitchens” and a question as to whether they will become the new normal. 

Watch Restaurant Panel

Jonathan Parfrey Closing Remarks: (1) Referred to Adam Burke’s “the rear view mirror is small than the windshield” (2) Los Angeles is a sports city with major events that can be parlayed into change. (3) Every state is open except CA (4) $1.7 trillion in forced savings in American’s bank accounts which is on the table and primed for spending. (5) Concerns around government leadership during the pandemic (6)There’s a competitive advantage to being resilient (7) Restaurants have turned to rely on technology to run their business (8) 1.4 million workers pre-pandemic, with the currents numbers dropping to approximately 700k workers.

Watch Closing Remarks


Kevin Harbour
BFI President


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