|HOUSTON, June 29, 1998 - A majority of Texas hospitality
business owners and managers say they would expect a decline in business
if a smoking ban were imposed on the hospitality industry, according to
a poll conducted for the Texas Restaurant Association which was released
this week at the annual Southwest Foodservice Expo.
Hospitality business owners and managers were also overwhelmingly in favor of having managers (61 percent) or customers (24 percent) decide smoking policies for their businesses instead of government (10 percent). Fifty-two percent of those surveyed agreed that their businesses would suffer under a complete smoking ban. Of that number, 54 percent thought their business would decrease by 20 percent or more, while 56 percent said they would be forced to lay off employees.
"We know that smoking bans can have serious consequences on business," said Texas Restaurant Association Executive Vice President Richie Jackson. "Smoking bans in California and Massachusetts have led to lower sales, lost jobs and business closings for many of our colleagues in the hospitality industry. These smoking bans threaten to handicap our ability to accommodate the choices of our customers; in turn threatening the success of Texas' hospitality business."
The poll found that 77 percent currently have designated smoking and non- smoking sections in their establishments, while 8 percent enforce no smoking restrictions, 15 percent don't permit smoking at all and 1 percent are undecided.
The survey indicated that these policies appear to be working well for both business owners and their customers. In fact, 94 percent of those who participated said that their current smoking policy meets their business needs, and 88 percent believed their customers were satisfied with their existing smoking policy.
"As business owners, we are faced daily with making decisions that meet
our customers' demands," said Cooper Stewart, vice president of Wizards
Sports Cafe in Richardson, TX. "Determining smoking policies is hardly
different than selecting menu items or business hours." Among other significant
findings of the survey are:
Three hundred Texas proprietors and managers in the hospitality industry
participated in the poll which was conducted by the Eppstein Group and
funded with a grant from The Accommodation Program, courtesy of Philip