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How restaurants should prepare for Hurricane Harvey

Restaurant Business - 25 August 2017
With a potentially historic hurricane bearing down on Texas, operators in the South Central area are scrambling to safeguard their employees and businesses. Here’s a preparation checklist that might help. The tips were compiled in 2012 by the National Restaurant Association from its Louisiana and Florida affiliates for Hurricane Isaac, a far less severe storm than the one that’s expected this weekend. Hurricane Harvey is anticipated to be the most severe storm the United States has seen since Katrina in 2005.
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Trump's immigration plan stokes fears of new restaurant labor woes

Restaurant Business - 3 August 2017
Restaurants’ struggle to recruit employees would worsen severely under a plan endorsed yesterday by the White House to restrict legal immigration, according to the proposal’s opponents. The measure would cut in half the number of foreigners who are granted permits to work legally in the United States. And the limited number of green cards would go first to applicants who speak English and have the skills needed to land higher-paying jobs.
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DOL asks franchisors to help enforce labor regs

Restaurant Business - 1 August 2017
The U.S. Department of Labor is urging restaurant franchisors to follow the lead of Sonic Drive-Ins in collaborating with the department to ensure franchisees comply with wage and hour laws. Sonic signed an agreement with the DOL last week that calls for the franchisor to provide licensees with instructional materials from the department on federal employment regulations. The DOL stressed that Sonic voluntarily agreed to the arrangement.
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Restaurants challenge NYC's plan to enforce menu labeling

Restaurant Business - 14 July 2017
The legal arm of the National Restaurant Association has filed a lawsuit seeking to block New York City from enforcing menu labeling requirements while a federal hold on disclosure rules remains in effect until next May. The move has implications that extend far beyond New York City. The industry fears that other jurisdictions might follow New York City’s lead and begin enforcing the rules themselves, leaving restaurant chains with a patchwork of requirements and potential penalties from coast to coast.
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6 anvils dangling over restaurateurs' heads

Restaurant Business - 12 July 2017
A plunge into the dynamics shaping upstart restaurant brands yielded bits of good news for the chain builders attending this week’s Restaurant Trends & Directions conference, including predictions of better macro conditions for 2017’s second half. But speakers also warned of potential dangers for the industry, noting that it’s not benefitted proportionately from general improvements in the economy.

7 issues on restaurant leaders' minds

Restaurant Business - 11 April 2017
First, the most amazing thing about Day One of the Restaurant Leadership Conference: There wasn’t an utterance from the stage about Donald Trump, Capitol mayhem or alleged meetings with Russians. Clearly a gathering of more than 1,000 top restaurant chain executives and franchisees had its own matters to dissect and discuss.
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Frequent fast-casual, QSR patrons plan further cutbacks

Restaurant Business - 10 April 2017
Frequent customers of fast-casual restaurants plan to cut back their visits by 13% in the next 12 months, according to a new study, adding one more indication of a significant slowdown in the industry’s fastest-growing sector.

Seattle warms to soft-drink tax

Restaurant Business - 24 February 2017
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has called on the city to adopt a 2-cent-an-ounce tax on sugared soft drinks as a way of simultaneously discouraging consumption and raising money for education.

Food quality isn't all-important at restaurants, new study finds

Restaurant Business - 21 February 2017
Ambiance and service attributes—not food quality—have the most dramatic positive impact on consumers’ willingness to pay more at restaurants, according to a new study.

Restaurants brace for day without immigrant workers

Restaurant Business - 15 February 2017
An unknown number of restaurants are planning to close tomorrow in a combination of support for immigrant employees and acknowledgement the establishments can’t function without them. A nationwide boycott called A Day Without Immigrants is encouraging persons of foreign origin to demonstrate their importance to the American economy by not working, spending or opening their businesses.

Restaurants get a delay of new overtime rules

Restaurant Business - 22 November 2016
A federal court has delayed enactment of new overtime rules until it can consider the merits of an action brought by representatives of the restaurant business and other industries to kill the new regulations altogether.

NYC joins push for scheduling restrictions

Restaurant Business - 19 September 2016
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said he intends to push through legislation that would require local fast-food restaurants to set and post work schedules two weeks in advance, and compensate employees whose hours are cut on shorter notice. He also pledged to mandate that employees on the closing shift be provided with at least 10 hours of downtime before they are required to report again for work. He said the stipulation is aimed at preventing “clopenings,” or having workers who close a restaurant also open it the next day.

It's official: Chefs have big egos

Restaurant Business - 31 August 2016
A new ranking of jobs by the self-assessed skill level of the holder confirms what restaurateurs have known since the invention of fire: The biggest egos under their roof tend to be the ones in the kitchen.

Consumers want healthy food-but are they buying it?

Restaurant Business - 25 August 2016
Despite consumer interest in healthful fare, some health-focused fast casuals are closing units. Nearly 60% of consumers place a large importance on fast casuals offering healthy options, according to research from Winsight Media’s sister company Technomic. But healthful fast-casual chains like Native Foods Cafe, LYFE Kitchen and Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh have had to shutter multiple restaurants due to under-performing sales.

Independents show they're not immune to tougher times

Restaurant Business - 24 August 2016
A pox has descended on the chain restaurant market, fouling traffic counts and rousing executives to spit in the direction of independent operations, the suspected pirates of lunch and dinner patrons. But being un-chained hasn’t spared some big-name indies from cueing the bugler to pucker up for taps, as these recent casualties suggest.

Pumpkin LTOs are coming out early-but are the pumpkins?

Restaurant Business - 19 August 2016
Year Two of a pumpkin shortage is upon the foodservice industry—at the same time restaurant chains are whipping up pumpkin LTOs earlier than ever. The PSL battle isn’t holding off until the fall, as per usual. McDonald’s recently announced that it’ll bring back its pumpkin spice latte at the end of August, besting Starbucks typical rollout around Labor Day.

Pokemon Go promos get patrons in the door: Survey

Restaurant Business - 12 August 2016
Close to 60% of Pokemon Go downloaders said they would go into a business serving up Pokemon-theme discounts, according to a July survey conducted by communications firm MGH. In addition, 60% said they have a positive perception of businesses with Pokemon-oriented promotions, while 38% said they would likely buy a product that plays off of the gaming phenomenon.

Seattle restaurant workers join fight against scheduling restrictions

Restaurant Business - 4 August 2016
A group of full-service restaurant workers have formed a coalition to oppose Seattle's plan to limit how far in advance restaurants and other employers can set and change staff schedules. The Full Service Workers Alliance of Seattle claims to include more than 1,000 Seattle restaurant workers in its grassroots movement that formed around an opposition to scheduling legislation. Some members have been outspoken about the city's efforts to require employers to set schedules weeks ahead of time and forego last-minute changes, arguing that workers appreciate the flexibility as much as employers.

Traffic slowdown brings flurry of restaurant losses

Restaurant Business - 4 August 2016
In the grimmest stretch yet in a bleak earnings season for the restaurant industry, Denny’s, Bravo Brio and Ignite Restaurant Group all posted losses for the second quarter, citing a slowdown that has some executives mystified.

How restaurants plan to cope with new overtime rules

Restaurant Business - 14 July 2016
Nearly every type of restaurant will be affected by the new overtime pay regulations that take effect Dec. 1, but the plans for coping—and the expected impact—vary greatly by its market type, according to new research. Quick-service restaurants are the most likely to raise managers’ salaries above the new $47,476 threshold that will exempt them from overtime pay, People Report learned in a survey of chain executives. More than two out of five (43%) said they plan pay increases.

Starbucks to co-develop Italian bakery chain

Restaurant Business - 13 July 2016
Starbucks will help an Italian bakery chain secure a foothold in the United States by serving as its development partner, according to reporters who were given a preview of an announcement the coffee chain plans to make tomorrow. In addition to helping the five-unit Princi chain secure locations on this side of the Atlantic, Starbucks has secured rights to feature the baker’s products in Starbucks Roastery stores starting next year, various media reported. The items will be produced within the high-end Starbucks variation, marking the first time the coffee giant has baked within its stores.

As gamers catch Pokemon, restaurants aim to capture sales

Restaurant Business - 12 July 2016
While much of the gaming world has been gripped by augmented reality app Pokemon Go, restaurants are finding ways to take advantage of the game’s popularity and cash in on the craze. Though some businesses were lucky enough to be chosen as attractions in the popular Nintendo game, others are drawing foot traffic and social media attention by offering specials and paying to be one of app’s player lures.

Starbucks promises a chainwide pay raise

Restaurant Business - 11 July 2016
Starbucks promised today to give every store employee and manager a wage increase on Oct. 3. In addition, the chain said it would double its stock awards to employees who have worked at the chain for at least two years. The changes will raise the annual compensation of unit employees by 5% to 15%, according to the announcement, which came in the form of a memo from CEO Howard Schultz to all 157,000 people who work in Starbucks’ 7,600 stores.

Shakeups in the cost of swipe fees

Restaurant Business - 11 July 2016
Running a debit card could get a lot more expensive for restaurant operators, if a conservative Texas congressman’s proposal to repeal the swipe-fee regulations goes through. Since the passing of the Durbin amendment (part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform in 2010), there’s been a limit to the fees operators and other retailers can be charged to process a debit card. But in a hearing set for July 12, the Representative, who currently chairs the House Financial Services Committee, will argue against that cap—and that could mean the fees for running a debit card could double, triple or more per transaction.

Judge frees restaurants to talk in confidence with anti-union pros

Restaurant Business - 28 June 2016
A federal judge has temporarily blocked enactment of a Department of Labor ruling that would have required restaurants and other employers to disclose any discussions they hold with consultants on how to avoid being unionized. The so-called persuader rule was scheduled to go into effect on Friday.

Credit card giant eases EMV liability, adoption

Restaurant Business - 17 June 2016
Restaurants lacking an approved EMV credit card processor will no longer have to pay fraudulent Visa or MasterCard charges under $25 starting Wednesday, Visa announced yesterday. The company said it was also capping the number of chargebacks that could be levied on restaurants to 10 per account, regardless of how large a tab was charged on an illegitimate card.

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