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News & Press: Industry News

Industry News Roundup - November 7, 2014

Friday, November 07, 2014  
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GrubStreet dives into the tipping culture, Republicans win in Midterm Elections, and nation's first soda tax is padded; Each week we will share with you a recap of important topics in the press. Stay tuned to stay informed.






Republicans to Chip at Obamacare by Redefining Work Hours
Bloomberg Businessweek 11/7
Newly empowered Republicans say they can’t repeal Obamacare and plan to chip away at the law piece by piece, starting with redefining full-time work in a way that could affect health coverage for 1 million people.

Soda Tax Wins in Berkeley as San Francisco Falls Short
Bloomberg Businessweek 11/5
The Berkeley initiative, which required a simple majority to enact a 1-cent-per-ounce tax, was approved by 75 percent of voters with 32 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press. San Francisco’s measure to impose a 2-cents-per-ounce tax was backed by 55 percent of voters, but required a two-thirds vote to pass.

Study: Mislabeled Shrimp Rampant at Restaurants and Grocers
NBC News 10/30
Oceana said it found about 30 percent of 143 shrimp products bought from 111 vendors were not what the label said. Bad labeling was discovered on shrimp sold at national and regional supermarkets and smaller grocery stores alike. Restaurants, from national chains to high-dollar eateries, were also selling poorly labeled shrimp, the group said. The survey looked at shrimp sold in Washington, D.C.; Portland, Oregon; and various spots around the Gulf of Mexico as well as New York City, which it deemed the worst offender.

The Golden Age of Airport Restaurants
NY Times Style Magazine 10/31
Indeed, thanks to a doubling of air traffic in the past 15 years — not to mention a general refinement of taste on the part of travelers — eating at the airport no longer means just preflipped burgers and cafeteria seating. Here, some stats on food’s rapidly ascending staging ground.

How Did Berkeley Pass A Soda Tax? Bloomberg's Cash Didn't Hurt
NPR 11/5
It's no secret that the American Beverage Association spent a lot of money to defeat soda tax initiatives in California this election season. As local media reported, ABA ads blanketed a Berkeley train station in the weeks leading up to Election Day. They were "plastered on the walls across from the trains, pinned to spaces near the ticket machine, and laid out on the floor of the station," according to

The Nation's First Soda Tax Passed in Berkeley, California
Eater 11/5
Yesterday, voters overwhelmingly passed Measure D in Berkeley, Calif., which puts a one-cent-per-ounce tax on everything from energy drinks to Pumpkin Spice Lattes to Coke. It's a landmark decision in a nation still caught within the clutches of Big Food even as it struggles to shed a decade-long obesity epidemic. In nearby Berkeley, Measure D adds nearly 12 cents to the price of each can of soda and 68 cents to the cost of a two liter bottle, according to CNN.

Nation's first soda tax is passed
USA Today 11/5
More than three-quarters of the votes cast were in favor of Measure D, according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters. The measure will place a 1-cent-an-ounce tax on soft drinks. It only needed a majority of "yes" votes to pass.

How the 2014 Midterm Elections Impact the Restaurant Industry
Eater 11/5
Ballot measures in four states tasked voters with deciding whether or not to raise the minimum wage; in others, voters debated everything from paid sick leave to a restaurant's food-to-booze sales ratio. Here's how results at the polls will trickle down to restaurant employees and diners in the coming months.

We Are the 20%: What Tips Mean to Servers, Bartenders, Doormen, and Baristas
GrubStreet 11/4
In this week’s issue of New York, Adam Platt tried (unsuccessfully) to go gratuity-free, as he wondered if it were time to topple the institution of tipping. Here we talk to some of the estimated 20 percent of workers who rely on tips — bartenders, servers, doormen, and baristas — about the difference gratuities make to them, why you should tip for coffee, and how they work their customers.

How Service Charges Could Fix America’s Tipping Problem
GrubStreet 11/5
This week, Adam Platt tackles the dense, complicated topic of tipping in America. One of the points he discusses is the rise of the service-charge model, which restaurants like Per Se, Chez Panisse, and Alinea have adopted. Nick Kokonas and Grant Achatz own the latter — along with Next and the Aviary in Chicago — and they've pioneered a ticket system where customers pay for the entire cost of a meal (including tax and service) upfront. It has proven so successful that Kokonas has take his program public, with restaurants like Trois Mec in Los Angeles and Aldea in New York getting onboard and, as a result, the system has greatly simplified the tipping issue. Could this be the wave of the future? Grub called Kokonas to get his thoughts.

Is It Time to Topple Tipping? Adam Platt Tries (and Fails) to Go Gratuity-Free
GrubStreet 11/4
But like lots of New Yorkers who are conditioned, when they travel, to desperately scatter the extra change in their pockets to an array of puzzled doormen, cabbies, waiters, and touts, what I noticed most about Singapore was the strange, blissful absence of tips.

Tipping: The Art of the Money-Flirt
GrubStreet 11/4
Aaron Blakely, the captain of Extra Fancy’s “street team,” leads the pack: He works the coveted weekend shifts, earns about $25 to $35 per hour in cash tips, and knows how to coyly seduce customers without coming off sleazy. He’s mastered the art of the money-flirt, and here are his tips of the trade.

What's at stake for restaurateurs on Election Day? 11/3
Taxes, immigration, wages and other issues that affect restaurant operations have been at the center of political campaigns across the country. Here’s a look at what’s on the line for restaurant operators in Tuesday’s midterm elections.

McDonald’s reorganizes US into four regional divisions
Nation’s Restaurant News 10/31
he Chicago-based burger giant is moving from three regional divisions – East, West and Central – to four zones: Northeast, South, Central and West. Each zone will be overseen by a designated president and will have its own identity and can suggest its own promotions and programs.

Starbucks: Fiscal 2014 results 'extraordinary'
Nation’s Restaurant News 10/31
CEO Howard Schultz says company plans mobile, customer experience investments.


Park Slope Is Fighting Back Against the DOH Crackdown on Dogs at Neighborhood Bar The Gate
Eater 11/5
A petition on the blog Park Slope Pet has garnered 472 signatures and a letter of support from the community board's district manager. The petition is aimed at changing the health code, which currently doesn't distinguish between businesses that serve food from those that only serve beverages. 

NYS Restaurant Association Fighting For Issues that Benefit Restaurants
Total Food Service 10/2014
(NYS Restaurant Association Featured)

Condé Nast Moves Into the World Trade Center as Lower Manhattan Is Remade
NY Times 11/2
It was the first wave in the migration of what will be 3,400 editors, writers and advertising executives at 18 magazines from Condé Nast moving to the World Trade Center, confirming both the long-awaited reconstruction of the complex and a shift in the culture downtown.


What do restaurant operators need to know about Ebola?
When it comes to newer risks like Ebola, restaurant owners can turn to local health departments, which should be in communication with the Centers for Disease Control and other public health agencies, for guidance. The New York State Department of Health has issued information with recommendations for the cleanup of Ebola-infected blood and other body fluids in non-health care settings. The guidelines are specifically designed for places where a symptomatic person under investigation for Ebola virus or who has been confirmed to have the virus has been present.

Are poor phone manners costing your restaurant?
Restaurant Hospitality 10/31
Bottom line: Every restaurant needs to train employees in the basics: how to answer the phone, how to take a message, how to pick up messages on the answering machine and how to be civil on the phone. You need to make sure that managers, chefs and others in charge actually pick up calls and messages. And finally, you need to teach your crew that a sale is a sale, and money spent over the phone is just as good as money spent at the counter or the table in your restaurant.

What grates on your bar customers
Restaurant Hospitality 10/31
With that said (here’s where I start to bitch again), there are two things happening at bars all over the country that grate on your customers and me. The first is a lack of acknowledgement when one approaches a bar. The second thing that bothers me about higher end restaurant/bars is bartenders who don’t measure when making cocktails. 

How to Encourage Loyalty
Restaurant Hospitality 10/23
Loyalty begins with the first visit, and it is reinforced with every aspect of the guest experience—from the service, to the first bite, to the atmosphere of the operation itself. Scoring points in these areas will help you win a customer’s loyalty and gain repeat business. Follow the tips below for ideas on how to make it happen.

3 Ways to Make the Most of Small Business Saturday 10/13
This annual event could be a huge opportunity to draw more customers into your store and boost holiday sales. Here are some effective ways to maximize your reach on Small Business Saturday.

How to get your guests to write reviews
eHotelier 10/31
Getting customers to talk to you online is the most important seal of approval a hotel can get, but getting them to actually write them is another issue. Here are some things that can help.




Google Maps App Adds OpenTable Restaurant Reservations
Wall Street Journal 11/5
In addition to providing turn-by-turn directions, business reviews, and photos, the new Maps lets users book a table for dinner without leaving the app. Previously the app offered a link to Open Table, but the new version saves users the step of clicking through to OpenTable’s mobile web site.

The Restaurant Dishes Come to Your Door
NY Times 11/5
The options for people who have no time to cook and don’t want to go out to eat every night can be disappointing. A group of entrepreneurs, including David Chang of the Momofuku restaurants, is starting a company that plans to make high-quality restaurant food that it expects to deliver in as little as 15 minutes. The secret, the group says, is technology.

David Chang Signs on to Create Menus for Latest Upscale Delivery Service, Maple
Eater 11/5
aster of the Momofuku empire David Chang is working with a new company called Maple to launch a mobile device-based food delivery system in the city. Chang is assembling a "culinary board of directors" to contribute recipes and dishes to the project, which will have a rotating seasonal menu, but won't offer deliver from specific restaurants a la Caviar.

A hard-to-get table and the Uber car to get you there
Crains 11/5
Restaurant reservation app Resy has integrated with Uber, allowing users to land a table at top New York City restaurants and book an Uber to get there on time.

Momofuku's David Chang backs new delivery service
Crains 11/5
Maple aims to deliver meals prepared in its kitchen to customers in 15 to 25 minutes.

Google Maps Partners With OpenTable to Offer Restaurant Reservations
Eater 11/5
Through a partnership with OpenTable, users in the U.S. can simply click on a restaurant within Google Maps, view the restaurant's basic information — typically its Google star rating, links to its website, hours of operation, and menu — and see user reviews. Instead of having to click away to the OpenTable app in order to make a reservation, available tables will be presented within Maps and users can confirm a reservation without opening a separate application.

Does Face Time Between Chefs and Diners Lead to Better Food?
Eater 11/4
A new study published in the Harvard Business Review reports that chefs make better food when they can physically see their diners. Using iPads, researchers from the Harvard Business School and University College London rigged several situations during which chefs and diners could (or couldn't) see each other during a meal service. They then solicited diner feedback, comparing it to comparable meals when neither cooks or diners could see each other during the meal.

David Chang Will Launch His Own Food-Delivery Start-up
GrubStreet 11/5
Unlike, say, Caviar, which now sherpas everything from Han Dynasty's dan dan noodles to Oddfellows pints directly from the establishments to your doorstep, Maple will deploy the kind of algorithms used by FedEx to centrally locate its commissary kitchens based on user data. and sign-ups. The idea is that the computational approach will vastly reduce delivery times.

Retailers get creative to communicate with shoppers through in-store signage
SmartBlog 11/3
In an increasingly digital age, in-store signage might not come to the top of retailers’ minds when it comes to communicating with shoppers. Retailers and brands alike are always thinking of ways to innovate on mobile applications or social media platforms, but some are keeping an eye in the store and finding new ways to engage shoppers through in-store signage.

Restaurant Offers No-Phone Discount, Wants Customers to Actually Talk to Each Other
Eater 11/3
According to the Des Moines Register, Sneaky's Chicken owner Dave Ferris will give diners 10 percent off their meals on Wednesday evenings for simply handing over their phone and engaging in conversation with each other instead. The phones are placed in boxes that servers bring to the table.

How unique beverage programs, customization, interactivity set operators apart
Smart Blog 10/31
As more consumers seek out craft beverages and premium drinks, many restaurants and retailers are taking their own beverage programs to the next level in order to set themselves apart. Now you’ll find artisan juice flights, tableside cocktail service, even coffee shops roasting beans to individual customer specifications. And while these unique beverage options certainly earn press and attention, they also speak to overall industry trends like customization and the integration of technology with the dining experience.

Starbucks to add delivery in 2015
Nation’s Restaurant News 10/31
Service to be integrated into mobile ordering and payment system

2015 restaurant trends: Tech, tickets, tipping, more
Nation’s Restaurant News 10/31
Technological innovation, food science, increasingly curious customers and rising labor costs will be driving factors in food and beverage trends at restaurants and hotels next year, according to a recent report by food and restaurant consulting firm Baum + Whiteman. See all 11 food and beverage trends to expect in 2015.


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