Ease up on the 60-40 rule

Local restaurants struggle to obey an overburdening city ordinance.

Daily Editorial Board

Earlier this week, the Minnesota Daily reported that two members of the Minneapolis City Council are looking to change a 1983 ordinance that regulates alcohol sales in restaurants. Outside of the downtown area, at least 60 percent of a restaurant’s revenue must come from food sales while only the remaining 40 percent can come from alcohol sales.

While many restaurants in the University of Minnesota area try their best to meet this goal, it is sometimes impossible. As Greg Pillsbury, owner of Burrito Loco Bar and Grill in Dinkytown, puts it: “You’re not going to have three entrées and a beer, but you might have an entrée and three beers.”

The ordinance was originally designed to curb excessive drinking in residential neighborhoods, but many see it as a burden on small, independent businesses.

The Daily reported that councilmembers Gary Schiff and Meg Tuthill have proposed changing the ratio to 50-50. The Daily Editorial Board agrees that the city should make it easier for independently run businesses in our communities, including more residential areas.

By changing this ordinance and easing up on regulations, these businesses outside of the downtown area will be able to flourish without badgering patrons to purchase an extra plate of food. Instead of focusing on cooperative businesses that have struggled to maintain this arbitrary ratio, the City Council should focus on businesses that repeatedly violate regulations.

The modest proposal to alter the ordinance will give some relief to restaurant owners while still keeping a check on alcohol consumption.