Restaurant Research

Posted March 14, 2007 at 6:43pm

Officials at the Senate Rules and Administration Committee are expected to send a letter to the Government Accountability Office this week requesting a “top-to-bottom” review of the Senate restaurants, a panel spokesman said Wednesday. [IMGCAP(1)]

In a GAO report released Tuesday, the accounting firm Clifton Gunderson found the restaurants posted a $1.02 million deficit in fiscal 2006, a big jump from fiscal 2005, when the restaurants lost $680,965.

Since Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) took over the committee in January, officials have been meeting repeatedly with restaurant officials to discuss ways to bring them back into the black, Rules spokesman Howard Gantman said.

“Pretty much from day one, we’ve been closely looking at the books,” Gantman said.

What officials have found so far is that the restaurants have been doing better since the beginning of the 110th Congress, in part because there have been more people on Capitol Hill, Gantman said.

“The more visitors, the better they tend to do,” Gantman said.

Officials also noted that while things such as the restaurants’ catering operations tend to do well, the restaurants lag behind in personnel costs.

“We’re really at the stage of fact-finding right now, and are trying to determine what’s going on,” Gantman said.

The report did find that the restaurants have maintained proper management of their financial statements, something that was a problem in previous years, he said.

— Elizabeth Brotherton