Industry News Roundup - October 31, 2014
Friday, October 31, 2014
More trend reports released, first fine warnings issued for Paid Sick Leave law violations in NYC, and Long Island restaurants are sued for playing music without license; Each week we will share with you a recap of important topics in the press. Stay tuned to stay informed.
Food Tank, James Beard Foundation Debut Good Food Org Guide
The Daily Meal 10/27
The first annual Good Food Org Guide highlights community-based and national organizations that do important work in the fields of public health advocacy, food education, obesity- and food waste-prevention, and more food system issues
Burger King-Tim Hortons Deal Clears Antitrust Hurdle
Wall Street Journal 10/28
The $11 billion deal remains subject to other approvals, including Canada’s determination that the merger would provide a so-called net benefit to the Canadian economy. The proposed relocation of the storied American brand comes amid renewed debate in the U.S. over tax-inversion deals, which typically see a U.S. firm merge with a smaller one and move to a country where tax rates and rules are perceived to be friendlier.
California drought takes bite out of rice harvest
Associated Press 10/29
The $5 billion industry exports rice to more than 100 countries and specializes in premium grains used in risotto, paella and sushi. Nearly all U.S. sushi restaurants use medium-grain rice grown in the Sacramento Valley.
Chinese Coffee Is Coming Soon to a Shop Near You
According to Bloomberg, Switzerland-based trading company Volcafe Ltd. has partnered with Simao Arabicasm Coffee Co. to promote arabica beans from Yunnan, China's largest coffee-growing area. Volcafe will "source and process" the beans so that they can be exported to clients around the globe. A spokesperson for Volcafe notes the "Chinese mild arabica is still relatively new to the world coffee scene."
San Francisco Takes Up the War on Soda
According to NPR, both cities are proposing adding a tax — a two-cent-per ounce tax and a penny-per-ounce tax, respectively — on sugary drinks. Both cities note that the drinks' relationship with the ongoing obesity crisis and other health related problems are harmful. SF would like to use the funds raised by the proposed tax towards "childhood nutrition and recreation," while Berkley would like to add it to the "city's general fund."
The Music Industry Wants to Ban Music at Restaurants That Don’t Pay Royalties
An industry group charged with making sure music owners get their royalties has sued nine restaurants on Long Island, some of which have been pumping out contraband tunes for eight years now, from the sounds of it. Federal law requires restaurants to get licenses from up to three entities — ASCAP being just one — to play or perform copyrighted music; none of these nine establishments ever did, and now the lawsuits enumerate violations detected earlier this year at each venue by ASCAP sleuths.
(NYS Restaurant Association Mentioned)
What the U.S. Can Learn from How Denmark Pays its Fast Food Workers
n a new report, the New York Times compares the wages of fast food workers in the U.S. and Denmark. In the U.S. and in many countries, employees at McDonald's, Burger King, and Taco Bell live below the poverty line. But in Denmark, employees at Burger King make the equivalent of $20 per hour, or two-and-a-half times what employees at Burger King make in the U.S.
Some Bay Area restaurants ready to toss out tipping in favor of flat fee
SF Business Times 10/24
The five businesses in the Bay Area: Comal, Camino, Duende, Bar Agricole and Trou Normand each plan make the policy switch within the next few weeks, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. And the Business Times' staff has heard rumblings from several others that this is an attractive option because it distributes funds more equally between front-of-house and back-of-house staff.
NEW YORK CITY / NEW YORK STATE
First paid-sick-leave fines are on the way
Two businesses have received "notices of a hearing," informing them that they may face the maximum penalty if they take their case to a hearing, while three others will receive notices soon, she said. Each has one more chance to settle prior to a hearing. The five businesses run the gamut: two are restaurants, one is a parking garage, one is a medical office, and the last a nonprofit.
The DOH Says Pooches Are No Longer Welcome at Park Slope's Dog-Loving Bar The Gate
But as DNAinfo points out, the bar has gotten an A grade on all its past health inspections, so the crackdown is a sudden and surprising blow to all the dog-loving Slope residents out there. Gagnon is hoping to rally support from animal friendly organizations and drinkers before his hearing on November 18.
City has received 355 paid sick days complaints, but issued no fines
Daily News 10/29
The city has received 355 complaints about violations of its expanded paid sick days law - but hasn't issued a single fine, officials said Tuesday. A six month grace period sparing small businesses from enforcement ended Oct. 1, but no employer has been penalized for denying its workers the required five paid sick days a year.
Nine Long Island Restaurants Under Fire for Playing Music Without Paying Royalties
Most of the restaurants are on Long Island, and the suit is actually one of about 100 to 150 the organization launches annually against restaurants, which, unlike individuals, have to pay for the right to play licensed music.
ASCAP Sues 9 NY Restaurants Over Song Royalties
What’s a restaurant without some music to set the mood? A restaurant without royalty payments, according to granddaddy ASCAP. The century-old performance-rights organization, which stands for American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, is cracking down on ambiance this week. Lawsuits directed at 9 restaurants in Long Island, New York aim to pick up the tab for unlicensed music played in the eateries.
(NYS Restaurant Association Quoted)
9 LI restaurants sued over music payments
Music fans can buy copies of the song "Somebody's Baby," and play it to their hearts' content at no extra charge. But the owner of a restaurant who plays the song for customers had better make sure that somebody else's baby gets a royalty.
(NYS Restaurant Association Quoted)
NYPD vows ‘discretion’ when enforcing new 25 mph speed limit
NY Post 10/28
The NYPD said it will use discretion when enforcing the new 25-mph speed limit that Mayor de Blasio signed into law on Monday as part of his Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths.
Zagat: The New York City Dining Scene Thrives, Reaching Pre-Recession Levels
The votes are in! Today Zagat reveals the results of its 2015 New York City Restaurants survey covering more than 2,139 restaurants as voted on by 30,592 avid diners. Ratings and reviews are available today on Zagat.com and across Google Maps and Search. Zagat guidebooks will be hitting shelves at local retailers starting tomorrow.
RESOURCES / GUIDES
How to cultivate restaurant regulars
Nation’s Restaurant News 10/27
Three operators based in New York City, the country’s toughest restaurant town, share tips
Pre-shift meetings (VIDEO)
Nation’s Restaurant News 10/2014
NRN contributor Jim Sullivan discusses why these meetings should be mandatory for all employees.
TRENDS / TECHNOLOGY
11 Hottest Food & Beverage Trends in Restaurants and Hotel Dining For 2015 + 22 Buzzwords: The Whiteman Report
Three main threads work their way through consultants Baum+Whiteman's 2015 Food & Beverage Forecast: (1) How technology is profoundly changing the way restaurants ... at all price ranges ... will work in the near future; (2) How basic flavors of food and drink are being manipulated by chefs' and manufacturers' mashups; and (3) Because of this, why despite
what other pundits claim, "authenticity" is no longer relevant.
Technology in Restaurants Is on the Rise, and Diners Are Eating it Up
According to USA Today, a new national survey of 1,007 consumers by the National Restaurant Association shows that more than one-third of consumers are "more likely to use technology-related options in restaurants now than they did just two years ago."
New Restaurant Crowdfunding Site Offers Investors a Portion of the Profits
According to Washington City Paper, EquityEats — which launched Monday — connects "wannabe restaurateurs and investors," however, unlike other crowdfunding sites, investors receive an equity stake alongside typical investment-based perks like party invites and future discounts. Interestingly, the company also provides bookkeeping and other "business support" services for the restaurants.
Company Gets Employees to Complete Tasks by Bribing Them With Beer
According KARE 11, Minneapolis-based firm Colle + McVoy gives workers who fill out their time cards on time a free glass of beer. The agency is home to the Tapserver — a high-tech beer machine — that dispenses a decent range of local beers (ones chef David Chang would probably not approve of). The system rewards employees who fill out their time cards in an appropriately tech-y way: The employee scans their key card, the computer confirms they've completed the task, and beer is dispensed.
Taco Bell's New App Launches With Mobile Ordering and Unlimited Menu Customization
In a first for a national fast food chain, Taco Bell's new app offers users the ability to pre-order their food directly from the app and pay for it, all without waiting in line. The app also allows users in line or in the drive-thru queue to pay for their food via the app — no credit card swipe required.
Reserve: New App Is Your Concierge to Hot Restaurants Across the US
Today, a new app called Reserve enters the space, bringing with it the promise of "digital concierge service" and access to tables at restaurants in New York City, Los Angeles, and Boston. Reserve will roll out in San Francisco in the next few weeks, and the company is working towards adding DC, Chicago, and London to the list.
Food Photography Is About to Get a Lot More 3D
According to TechCrunch, the app turns your phone (or tablet) into a 3D scanner: "Simply hit record, revolve your camera phone or tablet around an object, and 3DAround stitches together all the photos into a 3D image the viewer can spin at will."
Prognostication: 2015 menu trends
Competition in the restaurant industry has never been this intense, consumers have never been this sophisticated and technologies have never moved this fast. This confluence of trends has led to a revolutionizing foodservice industry, according to Technomic. With these factors in mind, the market research firm has come up with its top 10 trend predictions for 2015, based on consumer and operator surveys and site visits.
Could Google Glass Be the Best Way to Train Fast-Food Employees?
The Glass program walked employees through everything from cooking chicken to closing down a store, and according to its developer, Interapt, the software resulted in faster training times. Interapt estimates that more-efficient training could ultimately save fast-food companies like KFC up to two percent in labor costs, translating to "millions of dollars" in savings. But fast-food franchise owners shouldn't get too excited yet: As Business Insider points out, the estimates — either in time saved or dollar amount — were not verified by KFC.
Customer Wi-Fi a win for restaurants
Nation’s Restaurant News 10/24
According to research from industry data and analysis firm Technomic Inc., 65 percent of consumers in 2014 expect restaurants in the quick-service segment to offer free access to Wi-Fi in their restaurants.
5 factors affecting U.S. restaurants
The restaurant scene is always evolving, from trends like spicy food and unique cocktails, to the growth of mobile payment and other technology. Jason Freed dives deeper into five factors affecting U.S. restaurants that owners and operators should keep top of mind when hosting today's consumers.