Industry News Roundup - March 14, 2014
Friday, March 14, 2014
The final ACA paperwork from the IRS arrived, the White House made Overtime Pay a priority, while Yahoo and Yelp became good friends; Our team is on top of important news across the industry. Each week we will share with you a recap of important topics in the press. Stay tuned to stay informed.
President Obama, in a first step toward a proposal that could ultimately allow millions of additional employees to qualify for overtime pay, signed a memorandum to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez March 13 asking the DOL to propose revisions to federal overtime regulations to reflect the “changing state of the workplace.”
Restaurants, retail shops and other small businesses often rely heavily on salaried workers such as managers and shift supervisors, because they tend to employ low-skilled workers in need of oversight, he said. Under the president's proposed rule, employers would be required to pay overtime to a larger number of salaried workers who earn income above a certain threshold.
Bloomberg Businessweek 3/12
Three other Nobel prize-winning economists’ names appeared on a letter warning that such an increase would hurt employment and saying “we need a mix of solutions that encourage employment, business creation, and boost earnings rather than across-the-board mandates that raise the cost of labor.”
Bloomberg Business Week 3/12
More than 500 economists slam minimum wage hike as a jobs killer
Fairly enough, titans of industry don’t get time-and-a-half pay when they stay late at the office plotting world domination. But over the years the “white-collar exemption” has been stretched absurdly to deny overtime pay to people who earn below-average pay, do very little supervising, and wear uniforms with collars that are every color but white.
Los Angeles Times 3/12
Most Americans support increasing the federal minimum wage, a top priority of President Obama, but not if it would cost the economy jobs, according to a new national poll.
Five hundred economists, including three Nobel laureates, on Wednesday urged Congress to junk President Obama's proposal to boost the minimum wage to $10.10, claiming it will cut jobs and raises prices.
Obama Will Seek Broad Expansion of Overtime Pay
NY Times 3/11
On Thursday, the president will direct the Labor Department to revamp its regulations to require overtime pay for several million additional fast-food managers, loan officers, computer technicians and others whom many businesses currently classify as “executive or professional” employees to avoid paying them overtime, according to White House officials briefed on the announcement.
IRS releases final paperwork rules for employers under ACA
New information-reporting rules for many businesses and their insurers are on their way under the Affordable Care Act -- and with less than 10 months to go before data-tracking is supposed to get underway, the impact on affected businesses could be overwhelming, the National Restaurant Association said today.
TECHNOLOGY & TRENDS
Nation’s Restaurant News 3/12
The restaurant industry has begun preparing for a big change in credit card technology and policies that will affect retail merchants in October 2015, both in economic terms and in operations.
Yahoo Integrates Yelp Reviews Into Its Search
Not to be left in the dust by the Google/Zagat partnership, Yahoo has forged its own relationship with a famously unreliable restaurant rating system: Yelp.
Starbucks App Allows Customers to Digitally Tip Baristas
A press release from the company reveals that an update to their iPhone app will let customers tip baristas directly from their phone, no paper money or credit card exchange required at the cash register.
Lollipop Kale Is the Best New Vegetable You’ve Never Heard Of
Grub Street 3/12
Recently, in food circles, there had been whispers of a vegetable called lollipop kale, supposedly a mythological-sounding cross between Russian red kale leaves and conventional Brussels sprouts.
Judge Rules Low-Flying Food-Delivery Drones Are Actually Legal
In a move that seems like great news for rogue burrito-makers, listless sushi chefs, and lager-deprived ice fishermen, an administrative law judge with the National Transportation Safety Board overturned an FAA fine against an aerial photographer who used commercial drones late last week.
Member Alert: “CHEWBACCA” POS Malware
Chewbacca is a relatively new variation of malware (Trojan.Win32.Fsysna.fej) targeting Point of Sale (POS) systems that run on Microsoft Windows.
McDonald's workers in three states — New York, California, and Michigan — have filed six lawsuits in the last two days claiming that the company and its franchises violated work-regulation laws, altered pay records, routinely made them work off-duty, and won't pay for uniforms, among other things.
Farm to fork: California drought to drive up food prices in the long term
New Haven Register 3/12
While it’s too early to tell precisely how much the drought will push up household grocery bills, economists say consumers can expect to pay more for food later this year because fewer acres of land are being planted and crop yields are shrinking.
As winter storms continue to wreak havoc in the Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast U.S., a bleak sales picture among limited-service restaurants is starting to emerge.
Vote for Your Favorites for the Annual Munchies Awards
The Munchies—the People's Choice Food Awards—are back for the third consecutive year and you have a chance to decide the winners in everything from Best Food City, to Best Food Truck, to Best Chef, to Best Craft Brewery.
A solid majority of Americans — 75% — say they tip less than the customary 20% when dining out, according to a new survey by vouchercloud.net, which researches consumer spending habits. Additionally, the website reports that 46% of Americans say they are tipping less in general than they did five years ago.Economist's Notebook: Hospitality job openings hit 6-year high
Job openings in the restaurants-and-accommodations sector* rose to a 6-year high in January, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) program.
Cuozzo Drops Epic Rant About Department of Health
In his latest rant, the Post's Steve Cuozzo criticizes the practices of theDepartment of Health, or as he calls it, "the Ministry of Mouse-Dropping Enforcement."
Andrew Zimmern on the Power and Problems of Yelp
Eater got Zimmern on the phone to talk a little more about why he has a problem with the online reviewing site, how he prefers to get his restaurant recommendations when he travels, and his thoughts on the power of Yelp.
Documentary on Tipping Raising Funds on Kickstarter
Montreal native Anna Savittieri has launched a Kickstarter to raise $1,500 to help her produce a short documentary on the "various ramifications of the tipping system."