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  • 01 Apr 2015 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Source: CohnReznick

    Last year, as a result of the Georgia Restaurant Association’s relentless lobbying efforts, the Georgia Department of Revenue (GADOR) finalized a sales and use tax regulation for restaurants and similar establishments that sell prepared food. The finalized regulation could result in significant tax savings and may entitle certain food establishments in the state of Georgia to a refund.

    Issue


    GADOR has clarified that sales tax is no longer required on the following items:
    • Disposable food packaging – single-use, disposable packaging used to contain food that is given to the customer such as boxes, wrappers, cups, dinner plates, and similar items
    • Items for sale – food ingredients and other items such as a toy, which will be resold by the establishment
    • Single-use items provided with meals sold – single-use items provided or made available to customers free of charge as a component part of a meal such as straws, swizzle sticks, stirrers, napkins, disposable silverware, toothpicks, and wet-naps
    • Food items provided with meals sold – condiments and other food items that are made available to the customer free of charge
    The regulation also identified items and instances where sales and use tax must be paid:
    • Items used or consumed by the restaurant – tangible personal property not purchased for resale to the customer such as table covers, cloth napkins, silverware, and floral arrangements. These items may also include the cost of complimentary meals furnished to employees or customers, as well as single-use items such as paper towels, plastic utensils, plastic wrap, and paper placemats.
    • Gratuities – gratuities are taxable when negotiated in advance of a meal or event, unilaterally added to the bill by the seller, or mandatory under certain conditions
    • Other service charges – charges by the restaurant that are necessary to complete a taxable sale such as ID checking services and a fuel surcharge when delivering food
    Tax Refund Opportunity

    In Georgia, taxpayers have three years from the date of payment of the tax to amend sales tax filings in order to claim a refund of taxes previously paid.

    Taxpayers that have paid tax on items that the regulation has clarified as exempt may request a refund of the sales tax improperly paid. Taxpayers should request and examine past invoices from their vendors and suppliers to determine whether a tax was assessed on exempt items.

    Standard procedures for requesting a refund are provided within OCGA §48-2-35.1 and should be followed:
    • A restaurant should request a refund directly from its vendors and suppliers. The request should be made in writing accompanied by a completed Georgia Form ST-5 Exemption Certificate. The vendor can request a refund directly on behalf of the restaurant and then forward the taxes to the taxpayer or the vendor can waive their right to claim a refund of taxes by providing the taxpayer with a completed Form ST-12A Refund Waiver.
    • If the restaurant receives a completed Form ST-12A Refund Waiver, the restaurant may directly apply for a refund from the Georgia Department of Revenue.
    • If the vendor takes no action to provide a refund of taxes paid or does not provide a valid Form ST-12A within 90 days, the restaurant may directly file for a refund with Georgia by completing the Form ST-12 Refund Request along with Form ST-12B Purchaser’s Affidavit.
    What Does CohnReznick Think?
    Restaurant operators should proactively seek to maximize both their bottom line and cash flow as restaurants are faced with increasing food and labor costs, rising local and federal tax rates, and competition from other concepts. The potential sales tax refund opportunity coupled with the exempt treatment of certain current and future purchases can greatly assist Georgia restaurant operators in achieving both objectives.

    Contact
    For more information, please contact Stephanie O’Rourk, a CohnReznick partner who leads the Firm’s Hospitality Industry Practice in Georgia, at stephanie.orourk@cohnreznick.com or 404-250-4079, or Gary Levy, a CohnReznick partner and the Firm’s Hospitality Industry Practice Leader, at gary.levy@cohnreznick.com or 646-254-7403.

    To learn more about CohnReznick’s Hospitality Industry Practice, please visit our webpage.

    © 2015 CohnReznick LLP

    About CohnReznick
    CohnReznick LLP is one of the top accounting, tax, and advisory firms in the United States, combining the resources and technical expertise of a national firm with the hands-on, entrepreneurial approach that today's dynamic business environment demands. Headquartered in New York, NY, and with offices nationwide, CohnReznick serves a large number of diverse industries and offers specialized services for middle market and Fortune 1000 companies, private equity and financial services firms, government contractors, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations. The Firm, with origins dating back to 1919, has more than 2,700 employees including nearly 300 partners and is a member of Nexia International, a global network of independent accountancy, tax, and business advisors. For more information, visit www.cohnreznick.com.

    Any advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues. Nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. This has been prepared for information purposes and general guidance only and does not constitute professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional advice. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication, and CohnReznick LLP, its members, employees and agents accept no liability, and disclaim all responsibility, for the consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based on it.
  • 27 Mar 2015 9:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    HOUSTON, March 23, 2015 -- Sysco Corporation (NYSE: SYY) today launched its second “Share My Plate” Instagram promotion and photo contest, which runs through April 30 and benefits Share Our Strength, a national non-profit organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America.

    Entering the contest is a snap. Participants can take a photo of their meal when dining or eating out and submit images to Instagram. Those who do not have an Instagram account can submit images to Sysco’s corporate Facebook or Twitter pages or via www.Sysco.com/sharemyplate. Food Network star and Sysco ambassador Chef Robert Irvine will judge the contest, looking for high-quality photos with delicious and appealing items. Contest participants are eligible to win up to $1,000.

    For every image shared, Sysco will donate 50 cents to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. Last year, more than 12,000 images were submitted and each helped support this worthy cause.
    How to participate:

    • Dine out and snap a photo of your meal.
    • Upload the photo with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Iconosquare.
    • Tag your photo with #ShareMyPlate. (Sysco employees must also include the hashtag #SyscoEmployee.)
    • Describe the dish in the caption and tag the restaurant.

    For more information, go to www.Sysco.com/sharemyplate. Click on “Official Rules” for complete contest details and guidelines.

    # # #

    Sysco Corporation
    1390 Enclave Parkway
    Houston, TX 77077

    Media Contact:
    Wendy Olson
    Director, Communications
    281-584-1759

    About Sysco
    Sysco is the global leader in selling, marketing and distributing food products to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, lodging establishments and other customers who prepare meals away from home. Its family of products also includes equipment and supplies for the foodservice and hospitality industries. The company operates 194 distribution facilities serving approximately 425,000 customers. For Fiscal Year 2014 that ended June 28, 2014, the company generated sales of more than $46 billion. For more information, visit www.sysco.com or connect with Sysco on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SyscoCorporation.

    About No Kid Hungry
    No child should go hungry in America, but 1 in 5 kids will face hunger this year. Using proven, practical solutions, No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger today by ensuring that kids start the day with a nutritious breakfast and families learn the skills they need to shop and cook on a budget. When we all work together, we can make sure kids get the healthy food they need. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of national anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength. Learn more at NoKidHungry.org.
  • 19 Mar 2015 11:42 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Source: National Restaurant Association

    Patent trolls are attempting to extract large settlements from restaurants simply for using common technology that’s a part of doing business and serving customers.

    Patent trolls, also known as patent assertion entities, are companies that seek to profit by claiming patent infringement that cover common business technologies. So what are they after?

    For Culver’s, a 538-location casual-dining chain, it was payment for the use of two technologies used by many restaurants: an online calorie calculator and shortened web links in text-message marketing. In the latter case, Culver’s paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle. It was either settle or pay more than $1 million in litigation costs.

    Culver’s is far from the only restaurant targeted for using an online calorie calculator. Starting in 2011, the same patent troll that went after Culver’s sued more than 50 other restaurants and retailers for using the same technology.

    Steven E. Anderson, vice president and general counsel for Culver’s, told the company’s story before a recent hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is considering legislation to curb abusive patent infringement lawsuits.

    “When we receive a patent troll demand letter, we have lost,” Anderson said. “These patent assertion entities are quite happy to tell us that we are welcome to test their claims in litigation, knowing that a trial is cost-prohibitive, with typical attorneys’ fees of well over $1 million.”

    Restaurants have been among patent trolls’ favorite targets, and the National Restaurant Association is seeking reforms to end the abusive lawsuits, including:

    An end to vague demand letters designed to extract early settlements
    Specific explanations from patent trolls about exactly how a targeted business is infringing upon the troll’s patent(s)
    Allowing lawsuits against the end-users – like restaurants – to be stayed while claims against the manufacturer of the technology proceed first
    A bipartisan bill is pending in the House of Representatives, and similar legislation is expected to be introduced in the Senate in the coming weeks. The NRA is an executive committee member of United for Patent Reform, a broad coalition of businesses pressing Congress to end the frivolous patent lawsuits.

    Contact your member of Congress and urge them to support reform: http://united-for-patent-reform.rallycongress.com.
  • 17 Mar 2015 9:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

    -Prestigious Award Recognizes Coca-Cola Company Veteran For Extraordinary Achievement, Leadership and Long-Standing Commitment to The Foundation-

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 17, 2015 – The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) today announced that Carlton Curtis, vice president of industry relations for The Coca-Cola Company, has been honored with the 2015 Thad and Alice Eure Ambassador of Hospitality Award. This prestigious award is a tribute to an individual who has shown extraordinary achievement and exemplary leadership in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Curtis will be recognized at a national industry awards gala dinner, hosted by the NRAEF, on April 14, 2015, during the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) Public Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

    “It’s a privilege to recognize Carlton and his lifetime of achievements with one of the NRAEF’s and the industry’s highest honors,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president, strategic operations and philanthropy, NRA and NRAEF. “During his tenure with Coca-Cola and as a member of the NRA and NRAEF boards, Carlton has been steadfastly passionate and committed to improving the industry. He is a tremendous industry advocate, and an exemplary role model within the nation’s restaurant and foodservice sector.”

    Curtis has spent more than four decades with Coca-Cola, while volunteering his time, resources and expertise to restaurant operators and retailers around the globe in an effort to raise the stature of the industry. He has served as Chairman of the Board of the NRAEF, serves on the Board of Directors of the International Franchise Association (IFA), is the current chair of IFA's Diversity Institute, and is a member of the Hall of Fame of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America (DiRōNA). He is an emeritus trustee of the University of Georgia Foundation and is a past president of the University of Georgia's Alumni Association.

    Coca-Cola is an integral and long-standing partner of the NRAEF. Coca-Cola has donated nearly $8 million to the NRAEF and NRAEF Foundation over the last decade. This funding has helped fuel educational programming geared towards bolstering the industry’s workforce.

    “Over the years, Coca-Cola, has been proud to partner with and support the NRAEF and specifically the ProStart program through our community investments,” said Carlton Curtis, vice president of industry affairs, The Coca-Cola Company. “We believe it is critically important to inspire, educate and advance the next generation of restaurant and foodservice leaders.”

    ProStart, is one of the largest industry-supported career technical education programs in the nation. Every year Pro-start impacts 118,000 students across 48 states by connecting the industry and the classroom to train students with the skills that help them achieve exciting, rewarding and long-term careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry.

    For more information on the ProStart program, visit NRAEF.org/ProStart or find us on Twitter or Facebook. For more information on the NRAEF, visit NRAEF.org.

    About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation:

    As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF exists to enhance the restaurant industry’s service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities. The NRAEF works to attract, develop and retain a career-oriented professional workforce for the restaurant industry. In 2015, the restaurant and foodservice industry is projected to comprise 1 million outlets and a workforce of 14 million employees, making it one of the nation's largest employers. For more information on the NRAEF, visit NRAEF.org.
  • 17 Mar 2015 8:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    MenuTrinfo® provides accurate nutritional information through state-of-the-art technology established off of the USDA database.

    FORT COLLINS, Colo. (March xx, 2015) – Restaurants and similar retail establishments have now had time to grasp the Food and Drug Administration's final menu labeling guidelines and how the ruling affects them. The regulations cover what and how items need to be labeled and also goes one step further to outline acceptable ways foodservice operators should measure the accuracy of nutritional disclosures.

    Once menu items have been labeled, the guideline requires foodservice establishments to certify on a reasonable basis how their nutritional values were determined. Some of the methods approved as evidence of a “reasonable basis" include nutrient databases, laboratory analyses and cookbooks.

    MenuTrinfo® has proven its worth over the last 5+ years by providing certified nutritional analysis to the food service industry through the company's nutritional database, which was established off of the USDA database.

    Through its certification process and seal, MenuTrinfo is helping operators flip the fear by backing and certifying their nutritional information. MenuTrinfo also offers an extra layer of protection throughits extensive insurance policy that covers any errors or omissions that may occur during the nutritional analysis process.

    “MenuTrinfo has been certifying the nutritional content of menu items for several years. We knew this was coming and are able to give our clients peaceof mind because they know that no matter what we have their back,” said Betsy Craig, CEO and founder of MenuTrinfo.

    In addition to the certification seal, MenuTrinfo's nutritional services can include:
    • Certified Nutritional Book each location
    • Nutritional certification seal for menus, menu boards and compliance
    • Maintenance and storage of recipes and proprietary information on a secure system
    • Nutritional analysis for new menu items
    • Nutritional help desk
    "We give our clients a third-party certification seal that they can place in public view. This shows diners they can trust the accuracy of the information and gives food service establishments the credibility they need should the FDA question them," Craig said.

    MenuTrinfo has been prepared for menu labeling since it was first proposed under the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and has provided partnership services to food service establishments ranging from movie theaters to pizzerias and everything in between.

    About MenuTrinfo®

    MenuTrinfo® is dedicated to helping foodservice operators protect the lives and health of their customers by meeting or exceeding new nutritional labeling regulations as required by law. Thecompany partners with restaurants to provide safe products and procedures that meet a wide range of dietary restrictions. Its nutritional analysis is the only full-service solution for nutritional labeling that is insured and based on an FDA-approved process. MenuTrinfo clients cover the spectrum of food service, from large universities to restaurants and catering operations. For more information, go to www.menutrinfo.com or call (888) 767-MENU (6368).
  • 13 Mar 2015 3:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Date: March 13, 2015
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Atlanta, Ga. (March 13, 2015) – On Friday, March 13, 2015 the House passed HB 535: Georgia Brunch Bill, allowing municipalities to opt in to permit their restaurants to start serving alcohol at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays. This bill creates a level playing field with state-owned facilities such as the Georgia World Congress Center, Lake Lanier Islands, as well as the many other private country clubs in Georgia. 

    The bill will now crossover and go to a vote in the Senate. If the Senate passes the bill and the Governor does not veto, it could essentially take about 60 days for municipalities to approve these new ordinances. The Georgia Restaurant Association worked closely with elected officials to support this initiative.

    The passing of the Brunch Bill will have a huge economic impact on restaurants and the state of Georgia. Each restaurant that can sell alcoholic beverages in Georgia will generate an average of $480.77, or $25,000 per year. There are roughly 4,000 restaurants in Georgia that could benefit from this bill, which would mean a total of $100 million in additional revenue. These changes will help drive jobs and economic growth in our state.

    Click here to learn how you can support HB 535. 

    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 $17 billion which provides more than 421,800 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.

    # # #
  • 13 Mar 2015 10:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Kyma Restaurant in Buckhead invites you to attend their Industry Wine Tasting Night featuring world-renowned Yiannis Tselepos, Winemaker & CEO of Tselepos Estate Winery in Greece.

    This complimentary wine tasting will be paired with complimentary hors d'oeuvres prepared by Executive Chef Pano Karatassos.

    Please RSVP to events@buckheadrestaurants.com by Friday, March 27.

    This event is open to all restaurant managers / owners / sommeliers / beverage managers in the Atlanta area. Guests are welcome, but please include all guests in the total RSVP number. 

    Date: Monday, March 30, 2015
    Time: 2 to 4 p.m., drop in as you please
    Location: Kyma | 3085 Piedmont Rd. Atlanta GA 30305

  • 13 Mar 2015 8:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Source: Food and Drug Administration

    Contains Nonbinding Recommendations

    Additional copies are available from:
    Office of Nutrition, Labeling and Dietary Supplements
    Food Labeling and Standards Staff, HFS-820
    Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
    Food and Drug Administration
    5100 Paint Branch Parkway
    College Park, MD 20740
    (Tel) 240-402-2371
    http://www.fda.gov/foodguidances

    You may submit written or electronic comments regarding this guidance at any time. Submit written comments to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Submit electronic comments to http://www.regulations.gov. All comments should be identified with the docket number listed in the notice of availability that publishes in the Federal Register.

    Please click here to access the full guidance from the FDA. Additional resources include: 

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    Food and Drug Administration
    Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
    March 2015

  • 09 Mar 2015 3:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Source: Dinova

    The numbers are in on the resurgence of corporate dining in America in 2014. Atlanta-based Dinova released their full-year statistics earlier this month, revealing that U.S. companies increased their dining spend by 5.6 percent last year. The holiday season was most fruitful for restaurants as they entertained corporate group outings and client gatherings; Dinova reported that companies increased their December spend by a whopping nine percent year-over-year. Dinova projects corporate dining spend will rise in 2015 somewhere where between five and 8.5 percent.

    Dinova connects restaurants and corporations in a nationwide network, driving valuable business dining to restaurants and enabling corporations to reduce travel and entertainment expenses. Dinova’s network includes more than 12,000 independent and chain restaurants, encompassing all price levels and cuisines. Nearly 500 restaurant locations in Georgia are in the Dinova network. Dinova’s corporate clients spend more than $2.5 billion annually on dining and catering.

  • 05 Mar 2015 11:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    House Bill 535: Brunch Bill; would allow for municipalities to opt in to permit their restaurants to start serving alcohol at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays, this creates a level playing field with state-owned facilities such as the Georgia World Congress Center, Lake Lanier Islands, as well as the many other private country clubs in Georgia.

    The passing of the Brunch Bill will have a huge economic impact on restaurants and the state of Georgia. Each restaurant that can sell alcoholic beverages in Georgia will generate an average of $480.77, or $25,000 per year. There are roughly 4,000 restaurants in Georgia that could benefit from this bill, which would mean a total of $100 million in additional revenue. These changes will help drive jobs, tourism and economic growth in our state.

    Support the Brunch Bill:

    1. Look up your local senator and representative here. Send them an email asking them to support HB 535: Brunch Bill. Let them know that you live in their district, and that this is important to you. View talking points and fact sheet or download a sample letter.
    2. Contribute to the GRA Political Action Committee. With your contribution, the GRA can become more effective in passing the Brunch Bill. Your contributions will help fund our efforts to make a change and will be used towards our political lobbying efforts.
    3. Use #GABrunchBill to show your support and educate the public on this initiative. View sample social media posts.
    If you have additional questions, please contact the Georgia Restaurant Association at info@garestuarants.org or (404) 467-9000.
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