July 18, 2022

Restaurant Beverage Program (RBP) Webinar

A big thank you to all of the attendees to our amazing Restaurant Beverage Program webinar, hosted on April 18th! Fast Eddie and Manny Diaz spoke at length, digging deep into the nit and grit of one of Los Angele’s most recent policy roll outs. We covered everything from eligibility to council districts so that our best local restaurateurs can get their over the counter alcohol approval ASAP.

The City of LA’s RBP Program enables restaurants compliant with pre-written conditions to obtain their Beer and Wine or Alcohol licenses much faster (and much cheaper) than the current CUP process.

Unfortunately, some Council Members have yet to vote on approving RBP in their district. It’s important to take action and let them know how important this policy is to your neighborhood! To catch the full webinar as well as our Q & A, check out our recording HERE!

As we all know, obtaining approval from the City of Los Angeles to serve alcoholic beverages is a long and expensive proportion. The process involves meeting with stakeholders, lobbying officials, and even requires a public hearing. Because the city doesn’t differentiate between the size of the operations, this process applies equally to a small mom-and-pop restaurant that closes at 10 PM and Dodger Stadium. As such, most restaurants spends $30k+ and wait a year before they are approved. Almost ever other city in California has a more straightforward way to restaurants to gain land use approvals for alcoholic beverage service.

Over the past four years, Eddie and Manny have been working with city staff and their coalition partners to advocate for change. All that hard work has been rewarded as the City of Los Angeles recently approved the Restaurant Beverages Program (RBP) This new process will allow restaurants taht sell alcoholic beverages to bypass the traditional Conditional Use Permit.

Eligible restaurants must agree to pay a fee and accept 50+ conditions on their operations to apply. These conditions include closing at 11 PM, not having entertainment, utilizing only table service, and not selling alcohol to-go. Restaurants that operate in this way are always approved, so RBP simply recognizes that fact and makes the process easier. If the condiments don’t work for a business, they. must file the traditional Conditional Use Permit.

Although this is a welcome change for the restaurant community, it may impact FE’s Planning and ABC team. Conditional Use Permit filings in Los Angeles account for the majority of staff hours and income from the Planning team. However, we expect to be the leader in the RBP filings and anticipate an increase in ABC projects. We also know that most of our clients will not accept the conditions and continue to hire us to obtain their CUPs.

Why did we work to advocate for a program that may affect our bottom line? Because it was the right thing to do.