Get the latest updates and news on what is happening in the restaurant industry.
The Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) has revised the state alcohol license procedures to better accommodate alcohol license applicants as well as local governments. Starting on March 1, 2016, the DOR began a process of issuing temporary distilled spirits retail consumption dealer and retailer licenses, after a preliminary review, which are valid for 120 days while the Department completes its normal application review. For more information, please click here.
The DOR has also revised its alcohol licensing procedures for special events. For a summary of this process and additional information, please click here.
The DOR is also exploring whether state and local alcohol licensing procedures can be better integrated and streamlined.
Source: Atlanta Intown
by Setphanie Stuckey Benfield
As Mayor Kasim Reed’s Director of Sustainability, I’m proud to say that the City of Atlanta continues to lead as one of the nation’s top tier sustainable cities. Solid waste recycling plays a major role in achieving this goal and protecting our environmental health.
Like many of our peer cities, we provide a curbside, single stream recycling program for our residents, and currently accept all forms of recyclable material (household paper, cardboard, glass, cans, and plastics numbered 1-5 and 7).
Recently a few of our environmentally conscious residents inquired about how the City processes glass, and we want to be clear about our actions. The city contracts with WastePro to process our recycling. We continue to collect glass and recycle it to the fullest extent. However, glass is a commodity, and like any other commodity, markets fluctuate up and down. Right now market rates for glass are low. Because of these low rates, it is more cost efficient for much of the glass to be crushed and landfilled. If market rates improve and prices go up, the City’s contractor will recycle glass at a higher rate.
The other major recycling companies in the metropolitan Atlanta area have adopted similar policies related to glass: they collect glass but currently landfill it.
Sending glass to the landfill is environmentally sound. Glass is essentially made from liquid sand (silica). When crushed and sent to the landfill, glass takes up a minimal amount of volume and tonnage and does not produce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, unlike organic wastes.
While cities across the country have stopped processing glass for recycling and no longer accept glass as part of their residential recycling program, Atlanta remains committed to finding solutions that make sense for our economy and environment with our recycling program. We encourage residents to keep up their habit of placing glass jars and bottles in the Cartlanta bins because Waste Pro will resume glass recycling when the market rates improve.
Passionate and thoughtful residents who want the assurance that their used glass will always be recycled should drop their glass recycling off at the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (“CHaRM”), a city-supported recycling facility located at 1110 Hill Street, SE. CHaRM has a contract with College Park-based Strategic Materials which processes 250-300 tons of mixed glass and garbage daily and does recycle glass. CHaRM also accepts a wide variety of household hazardous waste, bulky trash, and other hard-to-recycle items.
Of course, the best approach to decreasing waste going into our landfills is to focus on the first two of the three R’s: reduce and reuse before you recycle.
Atlanta wants to be forward thinking in our recycling strategy. We know that markets recover, and we want Atlanta to have both the means and the mindset to make the most of that recovery.
By: Robert Wagner, CPA
Atlanta Q1 2016 restaurant sales volume grew an impressive 3.5% over Q1 2015. For the quarter ended March 2016 positive sales gains were reported at 71% of the 109 independent Atlanta restaurants surveyed.
In its survey of national restaurant sales TDn2K’s Black Box Intelligence, a restaurant sales and traffic-tracking company, reported national restaurant Q1 revenues declined by 0.4%.
Robert Wagner, NetFinancials president states that, “The Q1 2016 Atlanta restaurant sales increase represents the best comp sales results since Q1 2015. In Q2-Q4 2015 the Atlanta restaurant market struggled to absorb an unprecedented number of new, innovative restaurants offering fresh dining options to Atlanta consumers. The Q1 2016 increase is more typical of the comp sales increases we saw in Atlanta prior to Q2 2015. While it is too soon to declare that new-store absorption in Atlanta is complete, the broad-based sales improvement of Q1 2016 raises hope that much of the absorption has been achieved. We expect operators to see continued strong 2016 sales growth.”
“While Q1 2016 Atlanta sales comps are dramatic, they are particularly impressive when compared to the same-store sales decline at the national level. It is noteworthy that half of all restaurant brands tracked by Black Box Intelligence reported negative sales trends in Q1. In contrast 71% of Atlanta restaurants surveyed reported positive Q1 comp sales.”
Q1 Atlanta Q1 National
2016 Comp Sales: 3.5% -0.4%
Atlanta’s unemployment rate decreased to 5.2% in March 2016 from 5.7% in March 2015. The positive unemployment trend (and related solid employment growth), plus new city residents and abundant business visitors helped Atlanta overcome a bleak national sales trend to post good Q1 numbers.
The Sample: The 109 non-franchise restaurants were drawn from the metro Atlanta market. Total survey sales volume was $75 million for Q1 2016. The survey includes restaurants in Atlanta’s fast-casual, casual and fine-dining segments opened at least 15 months.
Robert Wagner, CPA is president of NetFinancials, Inc. which provides a full range of tax and accounting services for restaurant companies. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.netfinancials.com Direct: 404-874-7002
The NetFinancials quarterly Atlanta restaurant sales survey is provided as a public service to the restaurant industry. Copyright NetFinancials, Inc.
Draft Guidance for Industry: Voluntary Sodium Reduction Goals: Target Mean and Upper Bound Concentrations for Sodium in Commercially Processed, Packaged, and Prepared Foods
Source: U.S. FDA
This draft guidance, when finalized, will represent the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) current thinking on this topic. It does not create or confer any rights for or on any person and does not operate to bind FDA or the public. You can use an alternative approach if the approach satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations. To discuss an alternative approach, contact the FDA staff responsible for this guidance as listed on the title page.
I. IntroductionSodium is widely present in the American diet (most commonly, but not exclusively, as a result of eating or drinking foods containing salt). Average sodium intake in the U.S. is approximately 3,400 milligrams/day (mg/day). The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Dietary Guidelines) (Ref. 1) and Healthy People 2020 (Ref. 2) advise people to consume less than or equal to 2,300 mg of sodium per day.
Purpose and Scope
Approximately 75 percent of total sodium intake comes from processed and commercially prepared (e.g., restaurant) foods (Ref.3). This voluntary guidance aims to help Americans achieve the Dietary Guidelines-recommended sodium levels by encouraging food manufacturers, restaurants, and food service operations to reduce sodium in foods. It is intended to complement existing efforts by food manufacturers, restaurants, and food service operations to achieve these goals.
Click here to read more.
Table of Contents
By: Judson Wallace
The regulations and guidance presented in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 Section 120 can be pretty daunting. The “Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points” or HACCP system was originally proposed all the way back in the early 1970’s and after being adopted in the late 90’s, it continues to be tweaked and altered to reflect the concerns surrounding food safety.
In the most basic sense, HACCP can be thought of a seven step process. And when used properly, this process seeks to provide a framework of training and management that prevents foodborne illnesses. It also mandates a documentation trail to be traced and evaluated if a problem should occur. First, we will break down the seven steps, and later, we will show you how innovative new solutions can assist restaurants, food processors, and other operators in compliance with the HACCP system.
The Seven Steps of the HACCP system:
Source: National Restaurant Association
The Department of Labor will unveil new federal overtime regulations May 18, the White House confirmed in a fact sheet today.
According to the White House fact sheet, the new federal overtime rule will go into effect Dec. 1, 2016. Further details will be available in DOL regulations and technical guidance. The rule:
The NRA noted in a statement that we are appreciative that the DOL appeared to listen to restaurants’ concerns and did not include the burdensome “long” duties test that would have led to increased contentious disputes and litigation--something the DOL stated it wanted to avoid. However, the threshold for exempt employees in the final regulations is still too high.
Restaurants operate on thin margins with low profits per employee and little room to absorb added costs. More than doubling the current minimum salary threshold for exempt employees, while automatically increasing salary levels, will harm restaurants and the employer community at large.
More than 80 percent of restaurant owners and 97 percent of restaurant managers start their careers in non-managerial positions and move up with performance-based incentives. These regulations may mean that salaried employees, who have worked hard to get where they are, could be subject to becoming hourly employees once again.
Opposition will continue
The DOL moved ahead with these regulations despite widespread opposition. Hundreds of lawmakers have joined with employer and nonprofit groups in criticizing DOL for failing to accurately estimate the rule’s impact. We expect immediate legislative efforts to defund, block or nullify the rule, as well as possible litigation against the DOL over its process for issuing the final rule and some of its mandates. The NRA has been a leading force in D.C. on this issue and will continue to use all available legislative and legal options to block a damaging rule.
NRA analysis and webinar
We will provide our members with an initial analysis of the rule this week, followed by a webinar Thurs., May 26, 3 p.m. ET. The webinar will be hosted by attorneys Angelo Amador, senior vice president and regulatory counsel at the NRA, and Alex Passantino, partner at Seyfarth Shaw and former Acting Administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. Information on how to register for the webinar will be provided on Restaurant.org as soon as it is available.
Source: Food and Drug Administration
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today the publication of its final guidance for industry, “A Labeling Guide for Restaurants and Retail Establishments Selling Away-From-Home Foods – Part II (Menu Labeling Requirements in Accordance with 21 CFR 101.11).” The guidance is an important resource to help businesses comply with the menu labeling final rule. FDA guidance documents describe FDA’s interpretation of our policy on a regulatory issue. The draft guidance was announced in the Federal Register on September 16, 2015.The FDA intends to begin enforcing the menu labeling final rule one year from the date that the Notice of Availability (NOA) is published in the Federal Register. The NOA for the guidance is expected to be published in early May 2016.
This guidance responds to many frequently asked questions that the agency has received to date. It differs from the draft guidance by providing additional examples and new or revised questions and answers on topics such as covered establishments, alcoholic beverages, catered events, mobile vendors, grab-and-go items, and record keeping requirements.
The FDA is committed to working flexibly and cooperatively with establishments covered by the menu labeling final rule and to providing educational and technical assistance for state, local, and tribal regulatory partners to support consistent compliance nationwide. After release of the guidance, the agency will continue to conduct webinars and will hold menu labeling workshops that focus on specific stakeholder needs. The FDA will announce more information about these workshops at a later date. Covered establishments can send questions on menu labeling requirements to CalorieLabeling@fda.hhs.gov.
For More Information
New York, NY- April 27, 2016- Broadcast Music, Inc.®, (BMI®), the global leader in music rights management has promoted Jessica Frost to Executive Director of Industry Relations. In her newly-expanded role, Frost will continue her work to develop and cultivate relationships with industry associations and businesses across the country that use BMI music. Frost is based in Nashville and reports directly to Dan Spears, Vice President of Licensing, Industry Relations.
“Jessica’s ability to both educate business associations on the importance of having a music license and explaining the value that music brings to each establishment is second to none,” said Dan Spears, Vice President of Licensing, Industry Relations. “She has strong relationships in the industry and is a true advocate for our songwriters who rely on the licensing fees we collect so they can get paid for the music they create.”
Frost began her career at BMI in 1999 as a Customer Relations Executive for the Licensing team and moved through the ranks holding various positions until she was promoted to Senior Director of Industry Relations in 2013. Frost currently sits on the board of the Nashville/Midsouth Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Frost attended the University of Florida where she received her B.A.
Source: National Restaurant Association
If you employed an average of 50 or more full-time employees (including full-time-equivalent employees) in 2015, or if you offered a self-funded health insurance plan last year, deadlines are quickly approaching for you to file new forms with the IRS under the health care law: Forms 1095-B (Health Coverage) and Forms 1095–C (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage).
Recognizing the complexity of these massive new reporting requirements, the IRS late last year extended the filing deadlines to May 31 for covered businesses that file paper returns, and June 30 for employers who file electronically. Groups that file 250 or more returns are required to file electronically.
What is a 1095 form?
The 1095 forms are aimed at helping the government enforce the Affordable Care Act’s employer and individual mandates, including identifying whether certain large businesses make offers of health care coverage to full-time employees. The forms also help determine which individuals may qualify for federal tax help to buy health insurance through government-run exchanges.
The Treasury Department and IRS first unveiled the forms in regulations issued in March 2014 to implement the ACA’s information-reporting rules for insurers and certain employers. The information-reporting requirements take effect for calendar year 2015, with reporting beginning in 2016.
The 1095 forms collect information required under new sections 6055 and 6056 of the tax code. Section 6055 requirements apply to any entity that offers a health plan, such as self-insured employers and health insurers, and tell the IRS who was enrolled in coverage and for what month. Section 6056 requires businesses that employ 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees to certify whether they offered minimum essential coverage (MEC) to full-time employees.
Employers who offer MEC to employees during a calendar year are required to report to the IRS certain information about individuals covered by MEC and also to provide a statement to those individuals.
What is the difference between Form 1095-B and Form 1095-C?
The 1095-B and 1095-C forms are similar in that they report information to the IRS and furnish information to taxpayers about health care coverage.
Because this is the first year the reporting rules are in effect, and since so many questions remain about the requirements, the IRS says employers that put forth a “good-faith effort” will be considered to be in compliance for this year even though there may be errors in their filing.
These days serving alcohol is a big part of what’s expected by restaurant patrons. Whether it's coming in for a beer after work or getting together with friends for a nice dinner - the alcohol options behind the bar matter and people are loyal to their brands. Unfortunately the hardest part about maintaining your alcohol inventory is purchasing your products and many restaurateurs don't realize there are simpler, more streamlined ways to restock inventory, pay invoices, and ensure they're getting the best price for their products.
Understand Alcohol Complexities
The alcohol industry is rife with varying rules and regulations - not only by location, but also by product. With each state setting and abiding by their own rules, the Three Tier System (manufacturers sell to distributors, who sell to retailers) is what governs the sale of alcohol and simultaneously adds complexities to the purchasing process. Depending on your business, you could end up paying alcohol invoices according to a variety of different regulations – especially if you have operations in different states.
Aside from the burden of ensuring invoices are paid on time and according to the correct alcohol regulations, restaurateurs often have to manually write checks for delivery, maintain escrow accounts, and contend with the concern of consequences if they are a day late on payment.
There are several ways to combat these problems, but the most immediate solution is to start automating purchases with electronic payments. When it comes to payment, compliance, reconciliation, insight into purchasing data, and integration into back office and accounting systems, solutions such as Fintech streamline your beverage alcohol business. Electronic payment also alleviates several manual processes that restaurants face on a weekly and sometimes daily basis, such as inventory control, restaurant accounting, and cost analysis.
Stop Leaving Money on the Table
With a business to run there isn't always time in the day to compare prices to previous costs or to scour bills to see where you could be saving money. In situations like this, it's ideal to let your vendors do the work for you. Start asking your distributors for their price list and broken case reports and for purchasing insight into where extra fees are piling up and where discounts have been lost.
Fintech has partnered with the Georgia Restaurant Association to provide its members with a one source solution for their beverage alcohol business. Visit http://go.fintech.net/GRA for more information on exclusive discounts for GRA members and to begin a free 30 day trial for your beer, wine, and liquor deliveries.