On July 12, Jamie Richardson, White Castle System’s vice president of government, shareholder, and community relations and chairman of the Ohio Restaurant Association, testified before the Congressional Joint Economic Committee on the negative impact excessive government regulations have on Main Street businesses. Richardson testified on behalf of the National Restaurant Association, which represents over 500,000 restaurant businesses in all fifty states.

Richardson highlighted the fact that growth in his company is slowing due to increasingly burdensome regulations such as ACA, changes to the long-established joint employer standard, newly implemented overtime regulations, and growing rulemaking from EPA and OSHA. In his testimony, Richardson stated that the cumulative effect of these burdensome regulations threatens advancement opportunities for the restaurant workforce and has a negative impact on business growth and investment.

“The mounting uncertainty and the collective effect of a legislative and regulatory regime that is hostile to job creation has brought us to a standstill,” Richardson told the committee.

“Restaurants run on narrow margins, and White Castle is no exception. In an environment where hard-working Americans are still struggling to make ends meet, we are facing record costs for labor and food, our two biggest investments, and a wide range of regulatory costs,” he said. “There is an equally daunting barrier of deciphering bureaucratic language written in a hieroglyphic text not even the most advanced ‘Google Translator’ can interpret.”

Richardson stated that government regulation is a top challenge for our nation’s restaurants. In the Association’s Industry Tracking Survey, more than one in five restaurant operators report government as their current top challenge—a higher proportion than the economy or building/maintaining sales volume.

Richardson highlighted the fact that before the implementation of regulations like ACA in 2012, White Castle was on the road to unit growth with 408 restaurants. Today the company has 390.

“We are a nation of entrepreneurs, a nation of citizens seeking life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness who for generations have been the greatest problem solvers and entrepreneurs the world has ever witnessed,” he said. “We are both proud of and grateful for the responsibility of serving America’s communities by creating jobs, boosting the economy, and serving our customers. Our industry is committed to addressing those challenges in a way that enables us to continue serving our customers with excellence.  But to do that effectively, we need Congress to address our nation’s growing bureaucracy.”

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