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  • 27 Jan 2015 11:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Source: National Restaurant Association

    The restaurant industry will reach some landmark numbers in 2015 – more than $709 billion in sales, one million locations and 14 million employees - according to the National Restaurant Association's 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast released today.

    The good news: sales growth is expected to accelerate and represent the sixth consecutive year of real (inflation-adjusted) sales growth for the industry.

    The bad news: growth rates are still modest in historical terms, as the economy continues its struggle to reach normalcy after the Great Recession, begging the question “Is this the new normal?”

    It might just be. America’s restaurants are expected to post record sales and continue to be a leading job creator in 2015, but the operating environment will remain challenging due to the slower-than-normal economic recovery after a recession, as well as rising costs.

    “Population growth and Americans’ continued desire for convenience and dining out continues to fuel industry growth,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for the National Restaurant Association. “Certain components of the business climate remain a challenge, however, as regional variability in employment levels and disposable income gains still put a damper on the overall environment.”

    “Total restaurant industry sales are expected to advance at a 3.8 percent rate this year. That’s lower than the compound, pre-recession annual sales growth rate the industry experienced, but still a positive sign that the industry is in a better place now than six years ago,” Riehle said.

    Sales in the tableservice segment are expected to reach $220 billion in 2015, a 2.9 percent gain over 2014 sales, while sales in the quickservice/fast casual segment are projected to grow by 4.3 percent and reach $201 billion.

    Looking at the state level, the top five states for restaurant sales growth in 2015 are Arizona, Florida, North Dakota, Texas, and Colorado.

    Job gains expected in 2015 and over next decade
    As sales growth improves in 2015, restaurant industry employment will perform even better. In fact, this will be the 16th straight year in which restaurant industry employment growth will outpace overall employment growth.

    Restaurants will employ 14 million individuals this year as the nation’s second-largest private sector employer, representing one in 10 working Americans.

    Eating and drinking places – the largest subcategory of the foodservice industry – are projected to add jobs at a 3.2 percent rate in 2015, a full percentage point above the projected 2.2 percent gain in total U.S. employment.

    In addition, the NRA projects that restaurant industry employment will reach 15.7 million by 2025, an increase of 1.7 million positions during the 10-year period. Over that decade, the top five states for restaurant employment growth are Arizona, Florida, Texas, Georgia, and Utah.

    Challenges include food costs, increased labor competition
    While the restaurant industry is expected to grow this year, operators will continue to face a range of challenges, according to the NRA’s forecast. The top challenges cited by restaurateurs include food costs, building and maintaining sales volume, the economy, and recruiting and retaining employees.

    Food costs continue to put pressure on many restaurateurs’ bottom lines. Average wholesale food prices jumped more than 5 percent in 2014, which represented the fifth consecutive annual increase. During the last five years, average wholesale food prices rose roughly 25 percent. Operators can expect to get pricing relief on several of the major commodities in 2015, including dairy and pork.

    Restaurants are expected to spend $253.6 billion on food-and-drink purchases this year.

    “The wholesale food cost levels of many key commodities are putting significant pressure on many restaurateurs’ bottom lines. While price inflation is expected to ease for some items, the increases that have occurred over the past several years have pushed prices to an overall elevated level. Slowing price growth is obviously good news, but it doesn’t mean that food costs will be back down to what they were before those increases started,” Riehle said.

    Competition for employees is also on the rise. “With the economy slowly improving and the jobless rate trending downward, restaurant operators are finding that the competition for employees is intensifying. While not quite at pre-recession levels, the challenge of recruiting and retaining employees is making its way back onto the top-challenges list for restaurant operators, who have benefited from a deeper labor pool for the past several years,” Riehle added.

    The National Restaurant Association’s comprehensive, annual outlook for and overview of the U.S. restaurant industry, covering national and state-by-state sales and employment forecasts, as well as workforce, segment, consumer, technology and menu trends. For details, visit

    View the NRA's Video

  • 22 Jan 2015 11:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Source: National Restaurant Association

    The fight to change the health care law’s definition of “full time” has moved to the Senate, where the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, or HELP, made the impact of the law’s 30-hour definition the topic of a hearing Thursday.

    While the hearing focused on the impact of the 30-hour definition and not specific legislation, a vote to change the Affordable Care Act’s definition of full time to 40 hours could be coming soon. A bipartisan bill to make the same change, the Forty Hours is Full Time Act, has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Thirty other senators have also signed on as cosponsors. Sixty votes are needed to bring the bill before the full Senate for a vote.

    The House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to change the full-time definition to 40 hours earlier this month. Starting this year, the law requires businesses with 100 or more full-time-equivalent employees—generally defined as those who average at least 30 hours per week—to offer health care benefits to those employees and their dependents or face penalties in 2015. The requirement will expand next year to include businesses with 50 to 99 full-time-equivalent employees.

    The National Restaurant Association has been a leading advocate for changing the full-time definition, as restaurateurs are concerned that a 30-hour definition will lead to more rigid scheduling practices in the industry at the expense of the flexibility that attracts millions of employees to work in restaurants.

    HELP Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said many of the employees affected by the law will come from service sectors, like restaurants, hospitality and retail.

    “Many businesses can’t afford [the health care law’s] mandate and must reduce their number of full-time employees. The result of all this is that thousands of workers are getting a pay cut,” Alexander said. “Their work schedules are being reduced to 29 hours a week and below. This is not enough money for these workers to earn a living.”

    Restaurants were a prominent voice in the hearing, with the NRA submitting testimony for the record and Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, testifying on how the 30-hour full-time definition is affecting scheduling at CKE.

    “Currently, employers have been free to decide whether to offer health care insurance for those working less than 40 hours, and many of them do,” Angelo Amador, NRA senior vice president and regulatory counsel, wrote in his testimony. “Nevertheless, these decisions have been based on the economic reality of each business, and for many employers, it is not feasible to bear either the cost of health care coverage or the new penalties for doing so.”

    The NRA is also a leader and co-founder of the More Time for Full Time initiative, which on Thursday sent a letter signed by more than 400 organizations to the full Senate signed by more than 400 organizations, urging senators to cosponsor the Forty Hours is Full Time Act. The NRA also submitted a letter as part of the Employers for Flexibility in Health Care (E-FLEX) Coalition in support of the change.

    Puzder testified that the ACA’s 30-hour full-time definition was already creating challenges for employees.

    “Our restaurant managers often tell me how difficult the Affordable Care Act’s 30-hour threshold makes it for them to give crew members the hours they need just to get by,” Puzder said. He noted that CKE has long offered ACA-compliant health care plans to employees at and above the general manager level and offers coverage to more than 5,000 more employees who work more than 30 hours a week. Of those, he said, only 420 enrolled.

    “The tradeoff for this low enrollment rate has been a reduction in the hours of thousands of our employees, and I believe hundreds of thousands, if not millions of American workers,” he said. “I respectfully submit that the tradeoff isn’t worth it.”

    The NRA is asking restaurant operators to contact their senators and urge them to support the Forty Hours is Full Time Act.

    Tell your senator to support the Forty Hours is Full Time Act.
  • 22 Jan 2015 11:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Do you have a unique restaurant or food concept that deserves an investment? Do you think you can turn a huge profit? Restaurant moguls Joe Bastianich and Tim Love are looking to invest their own money into America’s next generation of culinary superstars! If you impress, they invest!

    Whether you are looking to open your first restaurant, or hoping to expand to a second location, we want to hear from you!

    To apply, visit*Must have a minimum of two owners and be 18 years or older.

    If you have any questions, please e-mail

    Learn more: Restaurant Startup 3 Flyer.pdf

  • 22 Jan 2015 9:11 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Atlanta (Jan. 21, 2015) – Karen Bremer, executive director of the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA), was elected to serve on the board of directors for the National Restaurant Association (NRA). The NRA is governed by a volunteer board of directors and led in Washington, D.C. by a president and chief executive officer. On average, the board consists of 90 to 95 directors from across the country who represent every facet of the restaurant industry.

    With over 35 years in the hospitality industry, Bremer is a founding member of the GRA and the past president of the GRA Board. She serves on the board of directors for the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB), the DeKalb Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Council of State Restaurant Associations. She also sits on the Industry Advisory Board of Georgia State University's Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration and is a trustee of the Arby’s Foundation. She has also been inducted to Les Dames d'Escoffier International and the International Women's Forum. Bremer was the former owner of Dailey’s and City Grill restaurants and was a top executive with the Peasant Restaurant Group, starting out as a manager and ultimately being named its president.

    Bremer has garnered numerous awards including the ACVB Member of the Year Award in 2002 for her role in founding Downtown Atlanta Restaurant Week. In 2009, Bremer received the Lifetime Achievement GRACE (Georgia Restaurant Association Crystal of Excellence) Award for her outstanding contributions to Georgia's restaurant industry. Bremer has also been listed as a notable Georgian by Georgia Trend Magazine in 2013, 2014 and 2015.


    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, contact Rachel Bell, manager of marketing and communications, at (404) 467-9000 or via email.
  • 21 Jan 2015 3:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It’s a new tradition at a 79-year-old festival! The “Backyard Barbecue & Brews VIP Experience” is BACK this year and it is one of the best ways to enjoy the Atlanta Dogwood Festival.

    This ticketed event will offer a special tented area on Saturday & Sunday featuring some of Atlanta’s favorite restaurants providing their take on traditional backyard barbecue and picnic fare. It will also include local craft beer and wine tasting, private restrooms and more! Backyard Barbecue & Brews will take place in a large tented area in the Meadow, overlooking the main stage. The attendees of this event will include those that have purchased tickets, key sponsors and media.

    Here's your chance to show your take on traditional outdoor barbecue. Restaurant space is limited!

    EVENT DATE: Saturday, April 11 and Sunday, April 12, 2015
    TIME: 1 – 5 p.m.

    The event will be publicized over a broad spectrum of media including: television, radio, print, online and email blasts. As a participating restaurant, you and/or your logo will be included on the Atlanta Dogwood Festival’s website, email newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, press releases and more! We are also working with the Georgia Restaurant Association as a promotional partner of the event.

    There is not a fee to participate in this event. We simply ask that you provide food samples that showcase your restaurant and that you staff your station throughout the event (we will also have volunteer support). We will let you know the week of the event the number of samples required. We are estimating 500-600 attendees per day. This event SOLD OUT last year. We also ask that you promote Backyard Barbecue & Brews internally via in-house promos, email blasts, Facebook, etc.

    We require that all restaurants stay the duration of the event with samples in order to provide the best experience for the attendees. As a 501-c3, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival uses the Friends of Dogwood event as one of its major fundraisers. All of the proceeds of the event support the Atlanta High School Art Exhibition, which provides scholarships to local high school students.

    Click here to download an application or fill one out online at

    PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION & LOGO AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. We look forward to working with you to make this a great event! Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

    Launch Atlanta
    678.560.2466 Ext. 4
  • 15 Jan 2015 3:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Source: National Restaurant Association 

    The National Labor Relations Board’s recent decision to consider McDonald’s and its franchisees as “joint employers” in a series of labor practice complaints could have severe, negative consequences across industries and discourage people from purchasing franchises, according to former NLRB member Peter Kirsanow.

    The NLRB’s December ruling, which overturned 30 years of established law by holding franchisors responsible for the labor practices of their franchisees, could ultimately result in less independence for franchise owners and fewer jobs being created, Kirsanow, a labor attorney who serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, wrote in an op-ed for

    “As a former member of the National Labor Relations Board, I am a firm believer in the agency's mission to safeguard the rights of employees, remedy unfair labor practices and interpret the law as it applies to private-sector employers and unions,” Kirsanow wrote. “Today, the impartial balance that is supposed to guide the agency's practices has been replaced with an overreaching agenda clearly tilted to favor the interests of organized labor. Sadly, the board's recent actions don't protect the jobs of employees — they eliminate them.”

    Prior to last month’s decision, the NLRB required that both employers have responsibility for matters directly related to employment of an individual, such as hiring, firing, supervision and discipline in order to be considered joint employers. The National Restaurant Association opposes the NLRB’s ruling, which threatens the franchise business model and has the potential to affect many of the restaurants in the U.S.

    The decision in the cases involving McDonalds was one of two anticipated rulings that address the board’s treatment of joint employers. A decision is expected soon in a case brought by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters against Browning-Ferris Industries that will determine whether a staffing agency can be considered a joint employer. The NRA filed an amicus brief in that case urging the NLRB to preserve its long-held standard that treats franchisees as independent business owners.
  • 12 Jan 2015 1:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Source: National Restaurant Association 

    As the industry prepares to comply with new menu-labeling requirements, the National Restaurant Association has expanded its partnership with nutrition specialist Healthy Dining to better provide restaurants with access to food and menu analysis and implementation of best practices.

    “As restaurants with 20 or more locations begin navigating the Food and Drug Administration’s menu- labeling standard, we are looking forward to working with Healthy Dining to provide expert nutrition analysis and guide restaurateurs through the compliance process,” said Joan McGlockton, the NRA’s vice president of industry affairs and food policy. “Our partnership with Healthy Dining will not only give members the knowledge needed to comply with the legislation, but also the ability to serve their customers well every day.”

    With the FDA’s menu-labeling rules finalized, Healthy Dining’s registered dietitians are now able to advise restaurants with accurate nutrient analysis so operators can accurately present calories on the menu as well as additional information upon request, the company’s president, Anita Jones-Mueller said.

    “Like never before, nutrition is on the minds of consumers,” she noted. “It is our passion to partner with restaurants and help them prosper in this nutrition-focused era.”

    Healthy Dining and the NRA already have collaborated on, which highlights more than 4,000 dietitian-recommended menu choices for healthful and nutritious options at participating restaurants nationwide. The company also partnered with the NRA to help create the Association’s Kids LiveWell program, promoting healthful kids’ meals and menu options that feature lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and unsaturated fats.

    “Our expanded partnership with Healthy Dining solidifies our commitment to collaborating and contributing to a healthier America,” McGlockton said. “With their help, we’re now able to provide the public with an online, growing resource that empowers U.S. consumers to make informed choices when dining out,” McGlockton said.

    NRA and state association members are entitled to a 20-percent discount on Healthy Dining’s nutrition services and/or to join the Kids LiveWell program. To contact Healthy Dining, e-mail Erica Bohm at or call 858-541-2049 x7112.
  • 08 Jan 2015 8:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Source: National Restaurant Association

    Just two days into its new session, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to change the health care law’s definition of “full time” from 30 hours to 40 hours a week.

    It’s the third time in less than a year that the Save American Workers Act, co-sponsored by Rep. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) has passed the House. Now, the focus shifts to the Senate, where the bipartisan Forty Hours is Full Time Act was introduced Tuesday by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), LIsa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)..

    Changing the health care law’s full-time definition has been a leading advocacy priority for the National Restaurant Association since the law was passed in 2010. The NRA is concerned a 30-hour definition of full-time would lead to more rigid scheduling practices in the industry at the expense of the flexibility that attracts millions of employees to work in the industry. Under the health care law, businesses with 100 or more full-time-equivalent employees - generally defined as those who average at least 30 hours per week - are required to offer health care benefits to those employees and their dependents or face penalties in 2015. The requirement will expand next year to include businesses with 50 to 99 full-time-equivalent employees.

    “We have long supported this bipartisan effort to set the definition of full-time under the ACA to 40-hours per week, reflecting more traditional workforce patterns - an issue critical to our industry,” said NRA CEO Dawn Sweeney. “Now that the House has done its part, we thank Sens. Collins and Donnelly for introducing the 40 Hours is Full Time Act and urge the Senate to come together and move this critical legislation forward for the good of restaurants and the business community at large.”

    Sweeney and NRA Chairman Jack Crawford, along with NRA advocacy staff, met with several members of the House and Senate in the days leading up to the House vote to build support for the legislation. Crawford spoke at a press conference alongside Collins and Donnelly in support of the Senate bill.

    As a leader of the More Time for Full Time initiative, the NRA joined more than 300 other organizations in sending letters to the House and Senate in support of changing the full time definition. Young cited the letter during debate on the bill.

    Passing the bill in the Senate is expected to be more challenging, as 60 votes are required to bring it to a vote. The NRA and More Time for Full Time initiative urge restaurateurs to write to their senators and ask them to support the bill. Write to your senators today.

    The NRA also asks restaurant operators to share their stories of how the health care law’s full-time definition is affecting their business on the More Time for Full Time initiative’s Facebook page.
  • 06 Jan 2015 1:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    NOVEMBER 28, 2014

    Event to Benefit The Giving Kitchen

    Popular gathering featuring more than 50 of Atlanta’s most celebrated restaurants and bars, a one-of-a-kind live and buy-it-now auction, and a live musical performance by Yacht Rock Revue. Anticipated and revered, yet still laid-back and fun - Team Hidi has sold out every year.

    TH3 is the only tasting event that supports those in the restaurant industry around Atlanta.

    Hosted in a larger venue to accommodate the incredible support shown by the community, tastings from restaurants including Muss & Turners, 4th & Swift, Local Three, Kimball House, The Optimist, Six Feet Under, The Wrecking Bar, The Luminary, Empire State South and many others will be offered. Specialty drinks from the city’s best bartenders will also be on site.

    WHEN: Sunday, January 25, 2015 ~ 5 to 9 p.m.

    WHERE: Georgia Room at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot
    65 Martin Luther King Jr Dr. SW
    Atlanta, GA 30303
    Valet available; self-parking adjacent to venue

    TICKETS: Available via on December 1, 2014 ~ $150

    The Giving Kitchen (TGK) was established in 2013 to provide assistance to members of Atlanta’s restaurant community who find themselves facing unanticipated hardship.

    All proceeds from this event support TGK’s emergency assistance programs. The Giving Kitchen provides financial support to members of Atlanta's restaurant community facing unanticipated crises. In the last year, TGK has helped more than 60 employees find peace of mind during emergency situations. This growth continues as word of TGK spreads, as evidenced by the sharp increase in applications for assistance. With over 200,000 workers in the Atlanta restaurant industry alone, TGK needs your help more than ever.

    The Team Hidi event is our single largest fundraising event and we rely on our patrons and auction bidders to fund our grant programs for the coming year.

    As unique as its mission, TGK’s origin is a compelling testimony to the caring, generous nature of Atlanta’s culinary community. TGK was inspired by the outpouring of support generated when young Atlanta chef Ryan Hidinger was diagnosed with late stage cancer in December of 2012. The community knew Ryan through his restaurant work history including Bacchanalia, Floataway Café, Muss & Turner’s, and the Staplehouse supper club.

    The undeniable generosity shown to care for him and meet his medical and other needs, which were well above and beyond his available insurance coverage, was a moving experience for all of those involved. Spearheaded by Local Three/Muss & Turner’s owners Chris Hall, Todd Mussman and Ryan Turner, the fundraising event was dubbed “Team Hidi” (a reference to Hidinger’s last name) and it, along with other donations, raised nearly $300,000 to help Ryan fight his battle that first year.

    The transformative impact of this unconditional love and selflessness created a ripple effect and inspired the formation of The Giving Kitchen (TGK). What started as a community movement to help one family has grown to support an entire industry.

    As a one-of-a-kind platform for fulfilling the mission of TGK, Staplehouse Restaurant, will debut in Atlanta in 2015. Ryan’s wife, Jen, along with his sister Kara and brother-in-law Chef Ryan Smith have already begun “paying it forward” with countless unpaid hours of consulting and planning to assist in the development, establishment and success of Staplehouse.

    Combined with funds raised by TGK from charitable contributions, the profits of Staplehouse will help TGK fund grants to help pay unanticipated expenses for the people who anonymously and graciously nourish dining patrons and who may find themselves in a time of need. Grant application criteria are available online at

    As a natural extension of the industry’s “DNA,” TGK embraces the opportunity to support its own while continuing to demonstrate that hospitality well-served has the capacity to multiply joy and minimize sorrow and hardship.

    About The Giving Kitchen

    The Giving Kitchen (TGK) is a nonprofit charity based in Atlanta, GA inspired by an overwhelming expression of support from the hospitality industry when Atlanta chef Ryan Hidinger was diagnosed with last stage cancer in December 2012. From helping with the cost of living expenses to funeral arrangements, TGK provides emergency assistance to members of the metro Atlanta restaurant community. Funding for the sustainability of TGK comes from a variety of sources including direct beneficiary events, personal donations and profits from a one-of-a-kind platform generated by Staplehouse Restaurant. For more information on The Giving Kitchen and Staplehouse Restaurant, visit or

    Media Contact:
    Angela Riley
    Communications Coordinator

    Auction Donations and Sponsorships:
    Stephanie Galer, Executive Director
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