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  • 25 Nov 2014 11:32 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

    Constituent Update

    November 25, 2014

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has finalized two rules requiring that calorie information be listed on menus and menu boards in chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments and vending machines to help consumers make informed decisions about meals and snacks.

    The menu labeling final rule applies to restaurants and similar retail food establishments if they are part of a chain of 20 or more locations, doing business under the same name, and offering for sale substantially the same menu items. A restaurant or similar retail food establishment is generally defined as a retail establishment that offers for sale restaurant-type food, which is generally defined as food that is usually eaten on the premises of the establishment, while walking away, or soon after arriving at another location. Examples of restaurants and similar retail food establishments include sit-down and fast-food restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops and grocery and convenience stores. The menu labeling final rule also requires calorie labeling for certain alcoholic beverages and certain foods sold at entertainment venues such as movie theaters and amusement parks. The FDA also clarifies in the menu labeling final rule that certain foods purchased in grocery stores or other retail food establishments that are typically intended for more than one person to eat and require additional preparation before consuming, such as pounds of deli meats and cheeses and large-size deli salads, are not covered.

    To help consumers understand the significance of the calorie information in the context of a total daily diet, the FDA is requiring a succinct statement that says, “2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary” to be included on menus and menu boards. The menu labeling final rule also requires covered establishments to provide, upon consumer request, written nutrition information about total calories, total fat, calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, fiber, sugars and protein.

    Restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are covered, including those that voluntarily register with FDA to comply with the menu labeling requirements, will have one year from the date of publication of the menu labeling final rule to comply with the requirements.

    The vending machine final rule requires operators who own or operate 20 or more vending machines to disclose calorie information for food sold from vending machines, subject to certain exceptions. Vending machine operators that are covered, including those that voluntarily register with FDA to comply with the vending machine labeling requirements, will have two years from the date of publication of the vending machine labeling final rule to comply with the requirements.

    For more information:
  • 24 Nov 2014 9:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Source: National Restaurant Association

    The Small Business Administration is working with the National Restaurant Association to promote Small Business Saturday. SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet urges shoppers to patronize local restaurants while shopping Nov. 29 and encourages restaurants and other merchants to extend their hours that night to increase foot traffic.

    As part of the partnership, Contreras-Sweet (center) visited i Ricchi restaurant Monday in Washington, D.C., with NRA President and CEO Dawn Sweeney (right). Owner Christianne Ricchi (left) shared her challenges and triumphs over 25 years as an independent restaurant owner, as well as plans for the future. Ricchi introduced her to several employees who have worked at the restaurant for more than 20 years.

    "The country is growing on the backs of small business," Contreras-Sweet said, noting that small businesses such as i Ricchi generate jobs.

    In between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consumers can promote local jobs while buying gifts for their loved ones, visiting local restaurants and sampling craft beers, Contreras-Sweet said. The SBA and the NRA are encouraging restaurant owners and guests to share their Small Business Saturday experiences on social media with the hashtag #DineSmall.

    They're also asking restaurants to create special menus for Small Business Saturday and promote them on social media sites with the hashtage #ShowUsYourMenu.

    More Tools:

    How to stand out on Small Business Saturday

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  • 21 Nov 2014 3:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Source: National Restaurant Association

    (Washington, D.C.) National Restaurant Association President and CEO Dawn Sweeney issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s announcement on immigration:

    “The National Restaurant Association has long advocated for sensible immigration legislation at the federal level. The nation needs a solution, and the restaurant industry, representing the diversity of our great nation, home to generations of immigrant workers and their families, would like to see progress made on federal legislation.

    “We are concerned that the President’s executive action on immigration will negatively impact Congress’ ability to accomplish real and lasting reform. Immigration reform is a highly charged issue that requires deliberate and constructive bipartisan dialogue. We have worked vigorously with both parties to move legislation forward to the benefit of our membership and our workforce. We hope that the debate over process will not derail progress on common sense immigration reform measures in the next Congress.”

    ###

    Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 990,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13.5 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry's largest trade show (NRA Show May 16-19, 2015, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids' menu options. For more information, visit www.restaurant.org and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube.

    View this release online: http://www.restaurant.org/Pressroom/National-Restaurant-Association-Statement-on-White

    More news and information from the National Restaurant Association: http://www.restaurant.org/Pressroom.
  • 18 Nov 2014 4:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Space deadline is December 5, 2014

    Atlanta Magazine, Publisher of the State of Georgia's official tourism guide, is excited to announce an opportunity for members of GRA. Get your restaurant's information in front of the millions of visitors to Georgia – 700,000 Circulation / Plus free digital and iPad versions of the Travel Guide. 

    The theme of Tourism in Georgia for 2015 is all about the Culinary Experience.  

    Please don’t miss this opportunity to advertise your unique dining experience for visitors “must do” lists!

    MEDIA KIT -http://www.marketgeorgia.org/master/files/resources/120/GTG15MediaKit_email.pdf

    Contact Jill Teter, Atlanta Magazine, Travel Sales Director at 877-554-0780 or jill-teter@comcast.net

  • 18 Nov 2014 1:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: National Restaurant Association

    (Washington, D.C.) Today the National Restaurant Association (NRA) sent a letter to Congress urging the House and Senate to extend or make permanent key tax extenders vital to the restaurant and foodservice industry. 

    In his letter, NRA Vice President of Tax and Profitability Dave Koenig writes, “The restaurant industry plays an important role in our economy by generating an estimated $683.4 billion…It is one of the nation’s largest private job creators, employing approximately 13.5 million people, representing nearly ten percent of the U.S. workforce. Before adjourning for the year, we urge Congress to extend seamlessly, enhance or make permanent several tax extenders of particular importance to the food service industry.” 

    The letter highlights four key provisions that will have a significant impact on restaurants: 

    • A 15-year depreciation schedule on restaurant-building improvements and new construction, retail improvements, and leasehold improvements. Without congressional action, the depreciation schedule will remain at 39.5 years.
    • Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which offers businesses tax credits of $2,400 to $5,600 for hiring employees from demographic groups who historically have a hard time finding employment.
    • The enhanced tax deduction for businesses and individuals that donate food inventory to charity.
    • Expensing at a $500,000 level with inclusion of qualified real property (i.e. restaurants) as property eligible for such treatment.

    Koenig warned Congress that, “the failure to act during the Lame Duck session will inject instability and uncertainty into the economy and weaken confidence in the employment marketplace.  By acting promptly, Congress will provide taxpayers with the certainty they need to expand their businesses and hire workers.”   

    NRA has also engaged 30 state restaurant associations and more than 500 additional groups to send a letter to Congress on Tuesday, urging members to vote to renew and permanently extend tax provisions during the current lame duck session. 

    A copy of NRA’s letter can be found here.

    A copy of the Depreciation Fairness Coalition letter can be found here.

    ###

    Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 990,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13.5 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry's largest trade show (NRA Show May 16-19, 2015, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids' menu options. For more information, visit Restaurant.org and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube.

    To view this release online visit: http://www.restaurant.org/Pressroom/Press-Releases/National-Restaurant-Association-Urges-Congress-(1) 

    More news and information from the National Restaurant Association: http://www.restaurant.org/Pressroom

  • 17 Nov 2014 4:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Date: November 17, 2014
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    The Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA), Georgia’s only not-for-profit representing the state’s foodservice industry, has elected Jamie Durrence, managing partner for Daniel Reed Hospitality, to the GRA’s Board of Directors.

    Durrence has been a restaurateur for over 15 years, bringing a vast amount of expertise and creativity to his concepts and Savannah’s culinary scene as a whole. Daniel Reed Hospitality owns and operates four concepts in the historic district of Savannah including Local 11ten Food & Wine, Perch Rooftop Lounge, The Public Kitchen & Bar and Soho South Cafe.

    “Jamie is extremely passionate about the restaurant industry, striving to create a unique quality dining experience while maintaining valuable relationships with his patrons, staff and community. We are thrilled to welcome him to GRA’s Board of Directors,” said Karen Bremer, GRA’s executive director. “We believe his ambition to showcase the positive aspects of our industry to others will be very valuable to the GRA as we continue to gain a stronger presence around the state.”

    Durrence has been an active member of the GRA since joining several years ago. In 2013, he was nominated as a finalist for Restaurateur of the Year at the 7th Annual GRACE Awards. Durrence was also involved in the Edible Agricultural Tour of Georgia (EAT GA), a multi-city dining tour that celebrates the relationship between Georgia farms and local restaurants. Durrence hosted a dinner at Soho South Cafe featuring a six-course meal of specialty crops, meats and dairy from Sweet Grass Dairy, Georgia Buffalo, Vince Baker’s Culinary Herbs, Kachina Farms to name a few, and his own family’s farm, Durrence Farms.

    About the Georgia Restaurant Association
    The GRA’s mission is to serve as the voice for Georgia’s restaurants in advocacy, education and awareness. The GRA is sanctioned by the National Restaurant Association to operate Georgia’s only not-for-profit representing the state’s foodservice industry. The GRA serves as the unified voice for over 16,000 foodservice and drinking places in the state of Georgia with total sales in excess of $16.5 billion which provides more than 405,800 jobs. From large chains to start-ups, the GRA helps make Georgia a better place for restaurants to do business and helps make restaurants better for Georgia.

    For media inquiries, please contact Rachel Bell, manager of marketing and communications, at (404) 467-9000 or rachel@garestaurants.org.
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  • 17 Nov 2014 11:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Source: National Restaurant Association 

    When seeking to profit in business, avoid the following myths and prosper as a responsible restaurant operator.

    Myth: Buying larger quantities to get volume discounts saves money.
    Answer:
    Not after accounting for the extra waste, theft, spoilage, larger portion sizes and overall carelessness that results when more products are purchased than are needed. Smart operators purchase just what they need even if the price/unit is a little higher. They know they will make more money if they focus on product use, not quantity discounts.

    Myth: It is better to have cash overages than shortages.
    Answer:
    Although neither is great news, cash overages are often an indication of unrecorded sales ‑ one of an operator's worst nightmares.

    Myth: Keeping food costs low means larger profit margins.
    Answer:
    Many of the most profitable restaurants in the country have high food costs, some as much as 45 percent to 50 percent. The issue is not how high or low food costs are, but rather how many gross profit dollars your menu items generate. That's why menu items should be promoted based on their gross profit contribution (dollars) rather than having a low food cost (percentage).

    Myth: Only the chef or the manager on duty should check in deliveries.
    Answer:
    The chef and the manager on duty are usually the two people in the operation with the least time to always do a complete, thorough job of checking in deliveries. Many companies use an hourly employee who is trained to be a dedicated receiving clerk during certain hours of the day. An hourly employee generally has the uninterrupted time to devote the attention necessary to do a proper job checking in each and every delivery.

    Myth: Profit-and-loss statements should be prepared and reviewed monthly.
    Answer:
    It is of limited value to compare a monthly P&L with a previous month. There may be a different number of total days or a different number of weekend days that will invalidate any meaningful sales comparison. Many restaurants do more than 50 percent of their sales on two days of the week ‑ Fridays and Saturdays. Many restaurant operators prepare their P&Ls on a four-week, 28-day cycle so that each P&L reflects the same number of days each week.

    Myth: The most important part of pricing the menu is determining each item's food cost.
    Answer:
    Costing out each item is very important, particularly when determining their gross profit contribution. However, determining what customers will pay in your immediate market is the most important consideration. While not an exact science, shopping the local competition plus an evaluation of your customers' income levels and spending habits should provide valuable information for a framework on pricing decisions. Also, ask your servers how much they would charge for a menu item. After all, servers are closer to your customers than anyone else.

    Myth: The best accountant in most restaurants is the bookkeeper
    Answer:
    Actually, it's usually one of the bartenders. Their accounting skills are honed through years of experience keeping track of liquor usage and unrecorded drink sales with elaborate counting schemes using glasses, stir sticks, toothpicks, pennies and even olives.

    Myth: Using garbage cans in the kitchen is a good way to dispose of trim and waste.
    Answer:
    Smart operators use clear plastic food boxes to deposit kitchen scraps and trim. Managers take a moment to inspect the contents of each box at the end of the shift.
  • 17 Nov 2014 11:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    A Major Television Production Co & A Major Cable Network have come together to find the best bar in Atlanta.

    • Do you own the best bar in town?
    • Do you believe your staff is amazing and your customers are the coolest?
    • Do you think you are the main reason why your bar is so great?
    • Would you be willing to put your theory to the test against a competitor?

    For more information, email your contact info to atlbars@pitmancasting.com or call (818) 666-3606


  • 14 Nov 2014 10:58 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Source: National Restaurant Association

    Two important and bi-partisan tax extender bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives that would make permanent certain tax incentives

    1. H.R. 5264, which will renew and make permanent the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), and;
    2.  H.R. 4212, which will make permanent the 15-year depreciation schedule for restaurant improvements and new construction
    Restaurants, as an industry, are the nation’s second-largest private-sector employer. Our industry is known for giving opportunities to low-skilled and unskilled workers to gain valuable experience, earn a living, and improve their situation. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is one tool that allows us to make those opportunities possible for disabled veterans, individuals receiving certain types of public assistance, people with disabilities, and other groups that are historically difficult to employ. With its tax credits of $2,400 to $5,600 per worker, the WOTC helps open doors for those who might otherwise have no option but to collect public assistance. This means the WOTC, in addition to opportunities, helps create savings for both business owners and federal, state and local governments. H.R. 5264 will keep those opportunities alive.

    Like other high-customer volume businesses, restaurants must constantly make improvements to keep up with structural and cosmetic wear and tear caused by customers and employees. As an example, the restaurant industry alone has more than 130 million customers patronize restaurants each day. Unfortunately, the 15-year depreciation schedule for these properties expired at the end of 2013, and a 39-year schedule is now used. Even when it was in effect, the 15-year depreciation schedule was only temporary and had to be frequently renewed, a process that creates economic uncertainty for businesses. H.R. 4212 will provide certainty by ending the need for renewal, encourage restaurant owners to re-invest in their business, and help drive economic growth through additional construction.

    Across the country, the restaurant industry is creating jobs for millions of Americans, whether it's their first job or life-long career. These pieces of legislation will help restaurateurs nationwide continue to provide opportunity and pathways to success for individuals of all backgrounds and skill levels looking to enter the foodservice industry.

    Take Action

  • 12 Nov 2014 11:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Source: Affairs to Remember Caterers 

    City of Atlanta declares "Affairs to Remember Caterers Day" in official Proclamation

    Affairs to Remember Caterers, Atlanta's first Zero Waste Zones caterer, today announced that it has diverted one million pounds (500 tons) of recoverable materials from Georgia landfills. The City of Atlanta has proclaimed "Affairs to Remember Caterers Day" in recognition of the impact and leadership the milestone demonstrates.

    As Atlanta's Greenest caterer, Affairs to Remember met this significant goal primarily through recycling, composting and food bank donations, all part of Legacy Green, the company's sustainability program.

    Affairs to Remember Caterers Day
    Sponsored by Councilmember Felicia Moore, the City of Atlanta officially proclaimed Tuesday, November 11, 2014, as "Affairs to Remember Caterers Day" in recognition of their sustainability efforts, and in particular the milestone of having diverted one million pounds of recoverable materials from Georgia landfills.

    Councilmember Moore read the Proclamation at a National Restaurant Association event, hosted by the Georgia Restaurant Association, at The Coca-Cola Company headquarters when re-launching the Zero Waste Zones program in Atlanta. Affairs to Remember Caterers' General Manager Richard Wilner accepted the Proclamation and offered words of gratitude and noted the partnerships and mentors instrumental in the development of Legacy Green.

    Among the distinguished guests were Jon D. Johnston, Chief, Materials and Waste Management, Environmental Protection Agency; Laura Turner Seydel, Chairperson, Captain Planet Foundation; and Holly Elmore, Founder & CEO, Elemental Impact.

    Laura Turner Seydel, Captain Planet Foundation
    "Environmental Sustainability has become a lifestyle for today's young people. When they join Corporate America, they expect their business partnerships and vendors to embrace these values. Affairs to Remember Caterers has been a role model corporate citizen in our community in the area of sustainability, and I applaud them for this significant accomplishment!" said Laura Turner Seydel, Chairperson, Captain Planet Foundation.

    Seydel continued, "We need more companies to take their lead as they have proven that you can do good business and be a top tier company in sustainability at the same time. We need more exemplar companies that have made caring for people and our planet a priority."

    Laura Turner Seydel is an international environmental advocate and eco-living expert whose environmental focus - which is broad - includes creating a healthy and sustainable future for children.

    Holly Elmore, Elemental Impact
    Elemental Impact, an organization that works with organizations to help create best operating practices specific to sustainability, was an early partner to Affairs to Remember Caterers during the development of Legacy Green, the company's sustainability program.

    Founder & CEO Holly Elmore, Elemental Impact, said, "We at Elemental Impact are proud of Affairs to Remember's progress and accomplishments in the realm of sustainability. From the beginnings of Legacy Green - a pioneering effort in the Atlanta catering industry - to today's accomplishment of having diverted one million pounds away from local landfills, I personally congratulate Patrick Cuccaro, the owners of Affairs to Remember and every employee who made this milestone a reality. Congratulations!"

    Patrick Cuccaro, Affairs to Remember Caterers
    "Legacy Green has grown from a commitment coupled with action - to go 'Green' and the abolishment of polystyrene products within our walls - and today serves as an example of how others in the catering industry can make a difference," said Patrick Cuccaro, Managing Director, Affairs to Remember Caterers.

    "Imagine, if you will, the impact we as a city and as an industry would see if every foodservice company diverted even 50 percent, or better yet, 80% of their current waste away from landfills. It would change the world as we know it."

    Cuccaro continued, "We've learned a lot in our first 37 years of special event-making, and we continue to gain experience and glean expertise in all areas of our business. Most recently, in the sustainability arena, we launched a new lunchtime delivery of 100% compostable boxed lunches, also available as a lunch buffet. In some ways, we feel like we've just begun, and that speaks to our excitement for the next 37 years!"

    About Affairs to Remember Caterers
    Affairs to Remember Caterers is one of the largest privately held, full-service luxury catering companies in the United States and Atlanta's first Zero Waste Zones caterer. Our award-winning services include expertise in off-premise catering, site selection, décor, music, entertainment, tent rental, lighting, linens, ice carvings and photography. Our 37 years of success can be attributed to the company's innovative menus, impeccable service, attention to detail, and reliability. Clients count on us to guide them through an exciting, memorable experience. For more information, please call (404) 872-7859 or visit www.affairs.com.

    Contact
    Travis S. Taylor
    Director of Communications
    (404) 872-7859 x22
    travis@affairs.com

    # # #

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