Industry News Roundup - July 25, 2014
Friday, July 25, 2014
Wage board panel is announced, travel and tourism bill goes to Senate, and AllergyEats Conference comes to NYC; Each week we will share with you a recap of important topics in the press. Stay tuned to stay informed.
Salt Reduction Gets Fair Shake
Operators take “stealth health” approach to cutting sodium levels. As the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalizes guidelines for the restaurant industry to voluntarily reduce sodium levels on menus, some limited-service restaurants are already using a “stealth health” approach to sodium removal, choosing to keep the effort mostly under wraps.
The Origins of Restaurant Reservations
As it turns out, the concept of restaurant reservations originated in the 18th century.
Travel and tourism bill moves to Senate
With the House of Representatives’ overwhelming passage of the Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act on Tuesday and the Senate Commerce Committee’s approval of the bill on Wednesday, Congress took a major step toward reauthorizing Brand USA, a global marketing program to promote the United States as an international tourist destination.
Time to Panic: There May Be a Global Kale Shortage
According to ABC News Australia, Bejo Seeds, a company that provides kale seeds to farmers across the world, has run out of seeds.
From Scratch Or Not? French Restaurant Law Stirs Controversy
If you go to France this summer, you might notice a new logo in restaurant windows or on menus. It's a simple graphic of a rooftop covering a saucepan, and it's supposed to designate fait maison, or homemade. It's designed to highlight places that make their own dishes rather than bringing in frozen or sous vide — prepared meals cooked in a water bath, sealed in airtight plastic bags and designed to be heated up later.
FDA Actually Has to Warn People Not to Eat Pure Powdered Caffeine
The FDA has issued a sternly worded safety advisory about anhydrous, or powdered caffeine, after a teenage boy from Ohio died in May from an overdose.
Taste NY feeds state's locavore biz
Local chefs respond to the governor's initiative to promote New York state food and beverages.
Amanda Cohen on Why Tipping Is a Devil's Bargain
This is Dispatches from Dirt Candy, a column from New York City chef Amanda Cohen that explores the realities of working in the restaurant industry. In today's installment, Cohen tackles tipping.
Should Restaurants Be Allowed to Add Gratuity?
A New York U.S. District judge has dismissed a class-action lawsuit filed against Darden Restaurants (and several other high-end NYC restaurants) alleging that adding automatic gratuities to customers' checks violated consumer protection laws.
NEW YORK STATE
Cuomo convenes wage board for tipped workers
Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed the state Labor Department Thursday to convene a wage board to possibly recommend raising the minimum wage for tipped workers in the food service industry.
New York unions’ drive to kill tipping
NY Post 7/21
In Albany this month, a coalition of Big Labor-funded groups rallied in support of a scheme to hike the minimum wage for tipped employees (e.g., waiters or bartenders) by as much as 80 percent.
NEW YORK CITY
City Hall to create task force aimed at lowering small biz fines
The de Blasio administration plans to announce the creation of Small Business First, an inter-agency initiative tasked with helping small businesses avoid penalties and fines by reshaping the city's regulatory structure.
Developer Forces Out a Whole Block of UES Restaurants
A developer is closing down most of the restaurants occupying a single block of the Upper East Side, in order to make way for a new high-rise.
New York’s Disappearing Restaurants
Epoch Times 7/22
As neighborhoods grow more fashionable, high retail rents force longtime restaurants out
(NYS Restaurant Association Quoted)
Red Rooster Opens Midtown Location—atop a Times Square Billboard
For a few weeks this summer, one of Manhattan's most exclusive dining spots is a table some 25 feet above Times Square.
RESOURCES, HOW-TO’S & GUIDES
Turning social media likes into restaurant traffic
If you can get all of your regular customers to come into your restaurant just one more time a year, and spend a little more for just one more meal, it will make a big difference in your business. That’s why getting your regular customers involved in your social media strategy is the key to success, according to Katrina Padron, CEO of Padron Social Marketing.
TECHNOLOGY & TRENDS
What's a Better Deal For Restaurants: Selling Tickets or Taking Reservations?
The online reservations and ticketing system from Chicago restaurateur and former derivatives trader Nick Kokonas is picking up steam.
Wendy’s Testing Build-Your-Own Sandwich Program
The trial launched at two restaurants in Columbus, Ohio, near Wendy’s headquarters. These units were also the first to be rebuilt with the company’s modern design.
MyCheck muscles in on NYC dining app scene
The phone app competes for diners and restaurateurs against Square and Cover. As of Thursday, it will be accepted at six more locations around town.
Former Jimmy John's CEO launching location aware mobile ordering platform
According to a company press release, Qmyfood grew out of Majewski's frustration as a restaurant operator with food waste generated by online and mobile ordering solutions, which rely on estimates of customer arrival times.
Foursquare Reveals Overhaul of Its Recommendation App
According to the company's blog, not only does the app have a new logo, but it will have a "personalized local search feature" which will make recommendations based on your use of the system.
No reservations: Restaurants deal with no-shows by ticketing
Trois Mec is a California restaurant that showcases the handiwork of French chef Ludo Lefebvre. Waylynn Lucas of CNBC's "Restaurant Startup" called it "one of my favorite restaurants in all of Los Angeles," but if you want to eat there, there are a couple of things you should know.
Hotel guests ordering more takeout, less room service
Chicago Tribune 7/22
While revenues from room service declined 9.5 percent from 2007 to 2012, according to PFK Hospitality Research, GrubHub found that takeout orders to hotels increased 125 percent in the past three years after analyzing orders delivered to 8,000 hotels across the country.
Applebee's Turns Its Instagram Over to Foodies for the Next Year
While more brands have been stocking up on user-generated and influencer content the past few years, Applebee’s latest campaign is an interesting example of a marketer going all in on the tactic to fuel its social strategy.
AllergyEats Announces 2014 Conference
The 2014 AllergyEats Food Allergy Conference for Restaurateurs & Food Service Professionals: How to Maximize Safety and Increase Customer Engagement, Loyalty, and Revenue is an event for restaurant chefs, owners, managers, college and university dining directors, and other foodservice professionals that strive to become more knowledgeable about accommodating food-allergic and gluten intolerant guests safely, comfortably, and profitably.
Table8 creators aim to fill restaurants' seats
USA Today 7/21
Table8 expects restaurants around the world to set aside tables for it to book nightly through Concur. It offers restaurants access to business travelers who spend up to three times as much as the median diner's tab. He calls Table8, "a digital maître d." Besides its promise of larger check sizes, restaurants get half the booking fee that Table8 users pay to make a reservation.