• 27 Jun 2013 10:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Congratulations to GRA member Sun Dial Restaurant Bar & View for being featured as one of "Atlanta's 13 Destination-Worthy Hotel Restaurants" by Eater Atlanta.
  • 25 Jun 2013 1:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Saporta Report
    BY CHRISTIAN HARDIGREE, director and professor of the Institute for Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality at Kennesaw State University 

    The future of the food service and hospitality sector belongs to smart operators who hire talented, bright managers. That’s why Kennesaw State University created a bachelor’s program to train and inspire the next generation of managers in sustainability and environmental stewardship.

    Consider the magnitude of the U.S. restaurant industry. It generates approximately $660 billion in sales (4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product), while employing 8.6 percent of the total workforce. In 2013, Georgia’s restaurants are projected to register $16 billion in sales, while employing 10 percent of the workforce, with estimates for 14 percent job growth over the next 10 years.

    These numbers do not include the often underrepresented role that foodservice plays in hospitals, adult and childcare facilities, K-12, colleges, universities, spas, and food manufacturing and distribution.

    At the same time, our nation is facing some troubling trends that food service managers can address:

    Americans eat an average of 18.2 meals outside the home monthly, often struggling to find healthy options. We spend $110 billion on fast food annually, with one in four visiting a fast food restaurant daily.

    A recent study assessed the nutritional quality of 3,498 possible children’s meal combinations, finding 97 percent did not meet the experts’ nutrition standards, and 91 percent did not meet the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell standard.

    Obesity is the leading cause of preventable death in America, and some 35.7 percent of U.S. adults are obese. Georgia has the second highest rate of childhood obesity (just ahead of Mississippi), with nearly 40 percent overweight or obese (10 of every 25 children). It is estimated that 90 to 95 percent of the 25.8 million people who have diabetes have Type 2 diabetes – the type related to weight.

    Environmental concerns include restaurants consuming five to 10 times more energy than commercial buildings of the same size, wasting an estimated 80 percent of the $10 billion spent on energy annually. Utilities represent 3 to 8 percent of a restaurant’s overall costs.

    Our ecological footprints are huge – the average American meal travels 1,500 miles to your plate and contains ingredients from five countries. We tell chefs to use fresh herbs, and we tell restaurateurs to have herb gardens. But where are we teaching businesses the techniques about what to plant, when to plant it, what to do when it struggles, when to harvest?

    The bright food services managers of the future will respond to these challenges with sustainable best practices, emphasizing areas such as resource conservation, food science, nutrition, agro-ecology, as well as essential business skills and abilities.

    They will be adept at sourcing local food, establishing water, energy and food conservation programs, and applying resource management techniques to run a sustainable food hospitality operation in an environmentally conscious, economically beneficial manner.

    And they will be able to evaluate how a business can reduce its ecological, water and carbon footprints in an economically advantageous manner.

    This includes methods for improving the supply chain, reducing packaging through targeted purchasing and cost control, choosing green methods for pest management and cleaning, using and/or recycling biofuels, bringing energy efficiency to the kitchen and redesigning the waste stream as a cost-saving endeavor.

    As the third largest and fastest growing university in Georgia, KSU is determined to provide an education that is relevant in today’s world. The new bachelor’s program does this for the food industry by transcending the traditional culinary arts or hospitality management curricula to incorporate and infuse the study of sustainable best practices, emphasizing areas such as resource conservation, food science, nutrition, agro-ecology, as well as essential business skills and abilities.

    The program intends to produce qualified graduates prepared to respond to the growing crises on local, state, national and international levels in terms of health initiatives, agricultural integrity, resource conservation and sustainable business practices.

    In addition, the program provides a unique collaboration with KSU’s Culinary & Hospitality Services, which operates 65-plus acres of farmland, a 2,400-square-foot campus herb garden and oversees the Commons, an award-winning LEED Gold certified dining operation, as well as eight other campus foodservice venues.

    In May, KSU was named by the National Restaurant Association as the “Innovator of the Year” and received the “Operator Innovations Award for Sustainability.”

    The Commons regularly implements new practices and technologies including hydroponics, recycling cooking oil to bio-fuel, and integrating a bio-digester to break down waste food into nutrient-enhanced water used at the farms. The closed-loop, “farm-to-campus-to-farm” initiative is integral to the academic components of the program, providing students with experiential learning in implementing these techniques.

    The food industry is evolving quickly. Success will depend on smart management which understands how sustainable practices can impact the bottom line as well as the environment.

    For example, pairing fine Georgia wines with a local menu is better economically and environmentally than transporting mediocre wines 1,700 miles. And $1 in energy savings equates to $12.50 in sales.

    This is the type of knowledge can help a business increase profitability without touching the price point on the menu or the customer turnover rate.
  • 24 Jun 2013 2:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    WHEN: Tuesday, June 25, 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
    WHERE: American Enterprise Institute, 1150 17th Street NW

    With the immigration debate raging on Capitol Hill and across America, one of the most contentious issues is whether the U.S. needs more less-skilled foreign workers. Do immigrants take jobs from U.S. workers? Or are they filling jobs for which there are few willing and able Americans? Do we need a new less-skilled temporary worker program, and if so, how do we ensure it meets business needs while also protecting U.S. workers? 
    A CEO of a national restaurant chain will talk about what immigrant workers mean for his company. Then a panel of experts and advocates will discuss the latest research and what’s at stake in the policy debate.

    If you are interested in attending, please register here.You may also RSVP to Vikki Riley at or 202-407-9372.

    Frank Bean, University of California-Irvine
    Josh Bernstein, Service Employees International Union
    Jenna Hamilton, Leading Builders of America
    Tamar Jacoby, ImmigrationWorks USA
    Andrew Puzder, CKE Restaurants
    Walter Shapiro, Yahoo! News
    Madeline Zavodny, Agnes Scott College

  • 24 Jun 2013 1:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    When: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
    Time: 1 p.m.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Small Business Majority invite Small Businesses to join the upcoming webinars, entitled – “What the New Healthcare Law Means for Your Small Business”.

    These webinars will focus on what the new healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, means for small businesses throughout Region IV states. It will focus on both federal and state provisions to help local small business owners understand how the law will affect them.

    Registration is required.  Click here to register today!.

    For more information on the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace, please visit and To learn more about the Small Business Majority, please visit
  • 24 Jun 2013 10:36 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    GRA members Community Q BBQ and Parma Tavern were featured on this past week’s episode of Atlanta Eats.

    Community Q BBQWhen it comes to ‘cue, Community Q BBQ in Decatur is doing something right. Actually, they’re doing a lot of things right: their meats melt in your mouth, the side dishes leave nothing to be desired (aside from another visit!), the climate is cool and casual, and the service is friendly. Their food – much of which is locally sourced and/or organic – is prepared fresh daily, and diners can mix and mingle while enjoying their meals from communal tables. Hence the name Community Q BBQ.

    Parma Tavern: Every city has one. That spot you flock to when “night” turns into “late night.” Where you can order just a feeeew more, um, sodas, and satisfy that sudden urge for something super greasy. Yes, every city has one, and in Buford, that spot is Parma Tavern. With a bar full of microbrews and a kitchen that keeps churning out Italian classics until the wee hours of the morning, this place is delicious by day and dangerously delicious by night. And we say “dangerously” for a reason…

  • 21 Jun 2013 4:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Fightingtown Tavern will be opening in Blue Ridge, GA in late August 2013 and their goal is to become the first restaurant in Georgia to be both Green Seal (GS-46) and LEED Commercial Interiors certified. They are passionate about serving locally-sourced fresh food, but also helping preserve the environment. Fightingtown Tavern wants to set a precedent for other businesses in North Georgia and are working with the Blue Ridge Chamber of Commerce to support businesses in their ECO efforts.

    The need your help in funding the ECO part of opening their tavern and their funding deadline is July 3rd! Details of some of the ECO costs that the funding will help cover are:

    • Industrial Composter
    • Energy Star walk-in cooler, flat-top, burners and oven
    • Energy Star bar coolers / equipment
    • Kitchen flooring from 100% recycled vinyl (LEED approved)
    • LEED approved commercial laminate
    • Recycled glasses and dinnerware
    • Compostable to-go containers
    • Low-flow toilets and sinks throughout
    • Motion-activated lighting
    • Energy efficient light bulbs
    • Low-emitting finishes and furnishings (chairs, table bases, paint, etc.)
    • Reclaimed materials for finishes and furnishings (used cable spools for table tops, reclaimed wood for bar front and top, reclaimed wood and metal for wall finishes, etc.)

    Learn more.
  • 21 Jun 2013 4:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Children of Conservation & The Giving Kitchen are selling Dinner & A Cause™ Cards for $40 each to the general public. Purchasers of the Card are then entitled to 20% off their entire table’s meal EVERY time they dine at approximately 100 of Atlanta’s great participating restaurants during the entire months of July & August. Holders can use the card an unlimited number of times throughout those two months – this is a GREAT deal for anyone who eats out more than twice a month (alcohol is excluded by state law).

    The list of participating restaurants is already impressive with the likes of JCT Kitchen, Iberian Pig, No. 246, Double Zero, Old Vinings Inn, Cibo e Beve, Nancy G’s, Davios, Local Three and Muss & Turners, just to name a few. See more.

    This is a great marketing campaign to drive consumers to your business and is at no cost to you. Half of the profit from every card will go to The Giving Kitchen (TGK) – a new non-profit that lends a helping hand to metro Atlanta restaurant industry members faced with unanticipated hardships.

    To have your restaurant participate, send the information below to Michele Stumpe at (board member of the Giving Kitchen & Children of Conservation). For questions, please contact Michele at the previous email address or call 404-966-6626.

    • Restaurant Name
    • Address(es) of Participating Locations
    • Website
    • Restaurant Telephone
    • Contact Info (For internal use only)
    • Additional Restrictions (Card already states it is not valid for purchasing alcohol)
    • Would you be interested in selling cards at your restaurant and be listed as a card seller?

  • 19 Jun 2013 3:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The majority of Americans’ caloric intake comes from food purchases made at supermarkets, grocery- and convenience stores, a new study has found.

    The study, conducted by Dr. Adam Drewnowski of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington in Seattle on behalf of the National Restaurant Association, determined that food purchased from restaurants accounts for between 17 percent and 26 percent of Americans’ total caloric intake, based on age group.

    The percentages are lower than many public-health activists have cited in urging cities and states to impose new restrictions on some restaurant foods and beverages.

    Between 63 percent and 70 percent of caloric intake in the U.S. diet came from purchases made at supermarkets, grocery- and c-stores. The balance comes from school foods and other sources, the research found.

    The peer-reviewed study, which was published in the Nutrition Journal, looked at the purchase locations and specific food sources of 22,852 people in the United States, including children aged 6 years to adults aged 51 years or older. The study was based on five years of data from 2003 to 2008 from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES.

    Dr. Joy Dubost, the NRA’s director of nutrition, said the study provides the first real in-depth analysis of the caloric intake of different age groups by specific food location and food source.

    “This study really is the first to look at caloric intake from purchase location and food categories by age group,” she said. “It dispels the notion that one-third of caloric intake in this country comes from restaurant food. Depending on age, the percentage of calories from either quickservice or fullservice restaurants can be much less.”

    According to the study, food intake at quickservice restaurants represented between 12.5 percent and 17.5 percent of calories, while fullservice restaurants made up between 4.7 percent and 10.4 percent. School meals provided 9.8 percent of calories for children and 5.5 percent for adolescents.

    The analysis further found that sugar-sweetened beverages served at quickservice restaurants made up between 1.0 and 1.4 percent of people’s caloric intake, whereas store-sourced sugary beverages made up four times that amount.

    Dubost said the finding disproves the claim by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration that a ban on sugar-sweetened beverages in restaurants would reduce the rising obesity rate in that city.

    On June 11 a state appeals court heard arguments regarding the ban and is now considering whether to reverse a judge’s ruling last March that struck down a regulation limiting the size of sugar-sweetened beverages sold at restaurants, delis, movie theaters, stadiums and arenas, to 16 ounces.

    “The data show that restaurants do not largely contribute to the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages,” Dubost said. “This will help us combat some policy initiatives that are based on myth and misperceptions, not on solid science.”

    She added that the data would also help restaurateurs become more aware of which restaurant foods are the biggest contributors of calories to Americans’ diets.

    “The industry as a whole has a role to play in fighting the obesity epidemic,” she said. “This data will help inform us, as we continue to try to reduce calories in the American diet.”

  • 14 Jun 2013 1:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    National Restaurant Association Launches Broad-Based Grassroots Campaign

    The National Restaurant Association reiterated its support for immigration reform that addresses restaurant-industry priorities as restaurateurs and state restaurant associations across the country called for sensible reform in events in their home states this week.

    Restaurant stakeholders are pointing to new polling results, which show broad bipartisan support for the Senate “Gang of Eight” proposal. Polls conducted in 29 states by a coalition of Republican and Democratic groups show support for the bill cutting across party lines in all states. Moreover, voters said they would reward their elected officials in Washington who support an immigration reform plan.

    “America’s restaurants support common-sense immigration reform that meets three key priorities: a clear path to legalization, national implementation of the E-Verify employee verification system, and increased border security that won’t harm legal travel and tourism,” said Scott DeFife, Executive Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs, National Restaurant Association. “The National Restaurant Association encourages members of the Senate and House, as well as the Administration, to recognize the growing support for reform as restaurateurs and others call for a fix to the nation’s broken immigration system.”

    The National Restaurant Association has launched a broad-based advocacy, communications and grassroots campaign to support comprehensive immigration reform that addresses restaurant-industry priorities.

    As a central campaign resource, the Association has developed a new online site incorporating its existing America Works Here messaging efforts. The site – – highlights the Association’s top public policy priorities with an aim to activate advocates, encouraging members to send letters to their members of Congress, read the latest news on key issues and learn about local events.

    “Restaurants are where individuals of all backgrounds have the opportunity to rise from entry level work to management and ownership, and create their personal version of the American Dream,” DeFife added. “Nearly one in three Americans will get their first work experience in the restaurant industry. Millions more come in every day for family gatherings, business meetings and celebrations at our tables.”

    The National Restaurant Association has been heavily involved in the construction and review of S. 744, the comprehensive immigration bill drafted by the bipartisan Gang of Eight. Full debate on the bill began in the Senate this week.

    As part of its overall immigration campaign efforts, the Association unveiled a new advertisement in its America Works Here series. The ad notes that restaurants employ more minority managers than any other industry and provide one of the best paths to achieving the American Dream.
  • 11 Jun 2013 10:31 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    GRA member Ray's on the River was featured on Atlanta Eats this past Saturday.

    Ray’s on the River in Sandy Springs is one of those rare places where the food is matched by the beautiful view. Set against the Chattahoochee just west of Northside Drive, Rays brings a fine-dining touch to a tranquil corner of the city.


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