• 11 Oct 2013 10:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    National Restaurant Association

    The National Restaurant Association recently released its 2013 annual report on food, nutrition and the restaurant industry.

    Called “On the Menu: Restaurant Nutrition Initiatives,” the report can be downloaded for free here.

    The report offers insight into nutrition trends and initiatives adopted by and affecting the restaurant industry, including children’s nutrition, menu labeling and food safety training.

    “Nutrition and wellness are top priorities for the restaurant industry,” said Dawn Sweeney, the NRA’s president and CEO. “With consumers showing an increased interest in health and nutrition, particularly over the past several years, our industry continues to find ways to meet the growing demand for nutritious options. This report highlights the great work restaurants are doing to promote health and wellness, as well as the challenges and goals currently facing the industry.”

    In 2011, the NRA created the Kids LiveWell program in collaboration with Healthy Dining as a way of showing the industry’s commitment to providing better choices for children when eating out in restaurants. A first-of-its-kind initiative designed to help make the healthful choice the easy choice, the Kids LiveWell program this year celebrated its second anniversary with 140 participating restaurant brands in more than 41,000 locations around the country.

    The Association also led a large industry coalition to establish uniform nutrition information for U.S. consumers. The federal menu labeling standard will require restaurant chains with 20 or more locations operating under the same brand to provide detailed nutrition information to consumers on menus and menu boards.

    According to the NRA’s 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast, 86 percent of adults say there are more healthy options at restaurants than there were two years ago and 71 percent of adults say they are trying to eat healthier now at restaurants than they did two years ago.

    NRA research also shows that a third of all adults have gone online to get nutrition data on restaurant food and four of the top ten hottest menu trends in the Association’s What’s Hot in 2013 Chef Survey are nutrition related, including healthful kids’ meals and gluten-free cuisine.

    In the area of food safety, the NRA continues to be a leading resource for the industry on training with its ServSafe program as well as its new ServSafe Allergens course, which helps restaurateurs serve the approximately 15 million Americans who suffer from food allergies.
  • 09 Oct 2013 3:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The National Restaurant Association has released its first-ever sustainability report, which looks at environmentally-stable trends and initiatives within the restaurant industry.

    The report focuses on the industry’s efforts to reduce waste and conserve resources through practices including composting, recycling, energy and water efficiency, and food donations.

    Called “Shedding Light on Sustainability”, the report can be downloaded here for free.

    “Sustainability and waste reduction are increasingly important issues across the restaurant and foodservice industry,” said Scott DeFife, the NRA’s executive vice president of policy and government affairs. “We have seen incorporation of environmentally friendly business practices from large chains to independent operators, as well as manufacturers and other supply chain partners. The National Restaurant Association is working to ensure operators have access to the education, tools and training needed to adopt successful and cost-effective sustainability best practices into their business models.”

    “This is the first sustainability report the Association has produced,” said Clarice Turner, senior vice president of U.S. Business for Starbucks Coffee Co. and chair of the NRA’s Sustainability and Social Responsibility Committee. “It is a landmark document and we’re proud of the work that went into it. It outlines the Association’s sustainability goals and allows us to continue to tell this complex and important story. The report is a key piece of a comprehensive effort to demonstrate the ways in which NRA is being proactive and leading as a business association on sustainability issues.”

    Additionally, the NRA, in support of the restaurant industry’s commitment to practicing environmental sustainability, is offering its Conserve Sustainability Education Program as a member benefit, at no charge. The program – designed by the restaurant industry for the restaurant industry – provides online tools and resources to successfully implement environmental practices, as well as a roadmap to help navigate efficiency and waste reduction.

    “With the help and support of some key leaders in our industry, we’ve created the Conserve Sustainability Education Program, which emphasizes education and makes the business case for sustainability,” DeFife said. “Understanding what goes on in the back of the house – from the appliances you cook with to your energy and water use, packaging, management process and even organics collection techniques – has a big, potential, positive impact on the average restaurant’s budget.”

    CSEP features industry-tried best practices, educational videos by industry experts, money-saving techniques and a personalized action plan for operators.

    The NRA’s sustainability report comes on the heels of the Association’s just-announced Conserve Sustainability Advisory Council, which brings together some of today’s top corporate sustainability leaders to help advise on the Conserve Initiative.

    For more information on the report and Conserve, visit
  • 04 Oct 2013 3:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    The Georgia Restaurant Association would like to make our members aware that due to the government shutdown, E-Verify is currently unavailable.

    The key for employers in states where E-Verify is mandated is that “The 'three-day rule' for E-Verify is suspended.” Employers should, therefore, complete the I-9 process within three business days from an employee’s start date and keep track of those employees, so, when E-Verify is back up, you can then run those employees through the system.

    If you currently have an employee with a “Tentative Non-Confirmation” (TNC), shutdown days will not count towards the eight days the employee has to contact the Social Security Administration or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Do NOT take any adverse action against an employee because of a pending TNC during the shutdown.

    To access the official notice from the DHS regarding the impact of the shutdown on the program, and for more information, please click here.
  • 04 Oct 2013 2:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    The following information is provided on behalf of Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP

    The shutdown of the U.S. federal government on October 1st has impacted immigration-related services across a number of different government agencies including:

    E-Verify is currently unavailable during the shutdown. The "3-day rule" for E-Verify cases is suspended for cases affected by the shutdown until E-Verify reopens. This does NOT affect the Form I-9 requirement - employers must still complete the Form I-9 no later than the third business day after an employee starts work for pay.

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") operations continue despite the federal government shutdown, because fee-for-service activities performed by USCIS are not affected by a lapse in annual appropriated funding. Therefore, all USCIS offices worldwide are open for interviews and appointments as scheduled.

    State Department
    Consular services for U.S. citizens and visa applicants continue to operate at this time. However, a loss of federal funding will likely impact visa processing as fees cover only a portion of the costs associated with visa processing. Accordingly, foreign nationals should be prepared for delays in consular visa processing and may want to consider postponing travel outside the United States if a new visa would be required to re-enter the United States.

    Department of Labor
    The Department of Labor has stated that it will neither accept nor process any applications or related materials (such as audit responses) it receives, including Labor Condition Applications, Applications for Prevailing Wage Determination, Applications for Temporary Employment Certification, or Applications for Permanent Employment Certification.

    Port Security Operations
    Customs and Border Protection ("CBP"), Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") and Port of Entry Operations remain operational under a government shutdown because they have been deemed law enforcement necessary or necessary for the safety of life and protection of property.

    If you have any questions about this Client Alert, please contact Laleh Sharifi at

    This client alert is intended to inform clients and other interested parties about legal matters of current interest and is not intended as legal advice.
  • 04 Oct 2013 11:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Enter promo code TASTE when purchasing tickets online at and save $5 off General Admission or VIP tickets. Offer expires October 7th!

    When: October 25-27, 2013 | Midtown at Tech Square
  • 04 Oct 2013 11:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    The American Culinary Federation, Atlanta Chefs Association has two great fun competition for all who love to cook and bake. They want to see your creativity making your signature grilled cheese and soup shooter or in decorating your Georgia Grown Apple Pecan Cake. 

    Signature Grilled Cheese and Soup Shooter Competition
     – October 20, 2013
    Cake Decorating Competition – October 22, 2013

    Where: 2013 Atlanta Foodservice EXPO | Georgia World Congress Center
    Entry Deadline: October 15, 2013
    Entry Fee: Free
    Competition Slots: 16 for the Grilled Cheese Sandwich competition; 12 for the Cake Decorating competition 

    Grand Prize -  $500 | 2nd Place - $375 | 3rd Place - $250 | People’s Choice Award
    This competition is open to all chefs, cooks, caterers, restaurateurs, students and individuals who love to cook.

    Download the Official Entry Form
    Email or Fax entry to: or 404-521-4808
  • 04 Oct 2013 8:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    GRA member Gunshow will appear on the season 3 premiere of Atlanta Eats this Saturday and Sunday, October 5th and 6th, on PeachtreeTV at 10:30 a.m. Make sure to tune in!
  • 01 Oct 2013 2:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Atlanta, Georgia, October 1, 2013 – Clarion Events North America (Clarion) announced today a Keynote Panel of Industry Leaders to take place on October 22nd from 9:00am to 10:00am as a highlight to the last day of Atlanta Foodservice Expo 2013. The panel will bring together four local industry leaders who will share their stories, challenges, and what it takes to succeed in the highly demanding, wonderful world of foodservice and restaurant ownership.

    The Keynote Panelists are:

    Ford Fry, Chef & Managing Partner, Rocket Farm Restaurants
    Along with his roles at JCT. Kitchen & Bar, King + Duke, No. 246, and The Optimist, Ford Fry is also the founder of one of Atlanta’s most popular food events, The JCT. Kitchen & Bar Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival. Fry’s culinary inspirations cover many years and much of the country: from eating out with his family as a child in Texas, to studying at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, to spending time as a fine dining chef in Florida, Colorado and California - and eventually as a corporate chef in Atlanta. Although the corporate chef position didn’t stick, Fry’s love for Atlanta stuck with him and it has proved a recipe for success so far. Fry and his restaurants have been included in numerous national and local publications, such as Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, Chicago Tribune, Cooking Light, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Esquire, Food & Wine, Garden & Gun, Sky, Southern Living and the Washington Post

    Robby Kukler, Co-Founder & Partner, Fifth Group Restaurants
    The legacy began in 1993 when Robby Kukler and his partners opened South City Kitchen on Crescent Avenue in the heart of midtown Atlanta. A continued focus on innovation and growth led to the development of South City Kitchen in Vinings, La Tavola Trattoria, Ecco, The Original El Taco, Alma Cocina, Lure and one of the South’s most renowned catering companies, Bold American Events. These successful concepts make up what is now Fifth Group Restaurants – Atlanta’s award-winning chef and community driven hospitality group. Over the past 20 years, Fifth Group Restaurants’ food, chefs, business model, green initiatives and community work have been frequent features of high profile publications such as The New York Times, Atlanta Business Chronicle, Southern Living, Food & Wine, Garden & Gun, USA Today and Esquire. Robby leads and mentors Fifth Group Restaurants’ Operations, Marketing and Recruiting teams as well as heads new concept development. He is a long-time member and advocate of the Atlanta Community Food Bank and frequent industry speaker and advisor.

    Kevin Rathbun, Chef & Owner, Rathbun Restaurants
    After thirty years in the restaurant business working and learning from others, in 2004, Kevin Rathbun opened his namesake restaurant, Rathbun's, then Krog Bar (2005), then Kevin Rathbun Steak (2007) and then KR SteakBar (2013). He has worked with celebrity chefs and restaurateurs such as Bradley Ogden, Emeril Lagasse, Stephen Pyles, Ella Brennan and Pano Karratossos and he has perfected not only his technique in the kitchen, but his passion for owning and operating his own businesses. Kevin has been featured on the TODAY SHOW, The Early Show, Iron Chef America (Winner), Chopped (Winner), Good Morning America, Good Day Atlanta, Better Mornings, CNN, and print media such as Food & Wine, Gourmet, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Veranda, Southern Living, Diversions, Men's Journal, Miami Herald, The Atlantan, Oprah Magazine, National Geographic Traveler, RAVE, SKY Magazine, GO Magazine, Denver Post, Food Arts, and Flavors. Kevin continues to be a pivotal and driving force in the local and national restaurant scene.

    Todd Rushing, Partner, Concentrics Restaurants
    Todd Rushing’s presence in the Atlanta restaurant scene has been long-running. A partner in the nationally acclaimed, Atlanta-based, Concentrics Restaurants, Rushing is responsible for creating nationally acclaimed innovative wine programs which have received numerous awards and recognition in publications such as Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Spirits, The Wine Report, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Condé Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Restaurant Business, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Business Chronicle and Jezebel magazine. In addition to owning Atlanta’s ONE. midtown kitchen, TWO urban licks, TAP, PARISH and The Spence, Rushing along with Bob Amick, current owner and founder of Concentrics Restaurants, offer a full-service restaurant consultation service specializing in concept and development. Clients
    (current and previous) include Atlanta’s Murphy’s, Bakeshop, FLIP Burger Boutique, HD1, La Pietra Cucina, Lobby Bar and Bistro® and Room at TWELVE® owned by Novare Development, STATS, a partnership with Atlanta’s Sports Radio 790 The Zone and Legacy Property Group, 30 Tables and 11 Stories at the Glenn Hotel.

    Atlanta Foodservice Expo is the only event in Georgia and the Southeast to bring together under one roof all sectors of the restaurant, foodservice, and hospitality industries with a broad range of the best suppliers. The show will be held October 20 - 22, 2013 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

    For more information please visit

    Media Contacts:
    Clarion Events North America Inc.:
    Clarion Events is one of the world’s leading independent event organizers, staging more than 200 events annually across the globe. More than 12,000 companies trust Clarion with their custom events each year and more than 700,000 people give their valuable time to visit these events. This success has come from identifying high-value, niche audiences in difficult-to-reach markets and then building them into market-leading products. From just 70 employees in one office in 2004, there are now more than 400 people working directly for Clarion Events from 13 offices in 10 different countries. To learn more, please visit

  • 01 Oct 2013 2:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Vidalia, Georgia, USA (October 1, 2013) -  Which Georgia chef is most skilled in working with the famous Vidalia® onion? This spring, 12 will compete for the title.

    The 3rd Annual Golden Onion professional cooking competition will be held on Sunday, April 27, 2014 in Vidalia, Ga., during the 37th Annual Vidalia Onion Festival. This cook-off showcases the Vidalia® onion, Georgia’s most exclusive and renowned agricultural treasure, and also offers a platform for chefs across the state to display their skills and creativity.

    Golden Onion competitors will have one hour to prepare and present a recipe that features Vidalia® onions. Twelve chefs are able to compete, and have the option to work with one assistant. To be eligible, competitors must be lead chefs for a free-standing restaurant in Georgia. Chefs working at restaurants associated with a luxury country club, resort or hotel are also eligible.

    Dishes will be judged on the basis of taste, presentation, creativity and overall use of Vidalia® onions. Making last-minute changes to the recipe submitted during the application process will reduce a chef’s final score.

    The panel of five tasting judges will include Chef Holly Chute, executive chef of the Georgia Governor’s Mansion; Bob Stafford, director of the Vidalia® Onion Business Council; Hope S. Philbrick, an Atlanta-based freelance writer/editor who conceived of the Golden Onion; and two professional chefs yet to be announced. In addition, Chef Hilary White, winner of the inaugural Golden Onion and owner/executive chef of The Hil: A Restaurant at Serenbe in Chattahoochee Hills, Ga., will serve as a floor judge to monitor the competition and insure all rules and guidelines are met.

    The First Place Champion will be awarded the Golden Onion trophy, an exclusive honor to hold for one year. The trophy, which was designed by artist Melissa Harris of Rome, Ga., must be passed the following year to the next winner. The First Place Champion will also receive a cash prize of $500. The second place winner will receive $250 and the third place winner $100. All winners will also receive commemorative plaques.

    “The Georgia Restaurant Association partners with Georgia Grown on two exciting initiatives geared toward increasing the awareness and use of Georgia agricultural products among culinary professionals across the state: the Georgia Grown Executive Chef Program and the Golden Onion professional cooking competition,” said Karen Bremer, executive director of the Georgia Restaurant Association. “Golden Onion is a great opportunity for chefs to gather from all over the state and celebrate one of Georgia’s most renowned agricultural products, the Vidalia onion.”

    “Golden Onion is an exciting opportunity for chefs across Georgia to show us how creative they can be with our official state vegetable,” said Ingrid M. Varn, executive director of the Vidalia Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “And it’s a fun opportunity for festival goers to watch a cooking competition while standing face-to-face with chefs. Cooking competitions are very popular on TV but it’s a very different experience to smell what’s cooking and know that nothing has been edited out.”

    “To have this much talent come into our community and compete using our Vidalia onions as the main ingredient in their dishes is very good for our community and for our industry,” said Bob Stafford, director of the Vidalia® Onion Business Council and Vidalia® Onion Hall of Fame inductee. “It’s also a lot of fun.”

    General admission to Golden Onion will be free so anyone can come watch the chefs in action. Recipe booklets will be available for $10. Raffle tickets are $1 each; two plates prepared by each competitor will be raffled off to lucky spectators (who must be present to win).

    The Golden Onion competition is presented by the Vidalia Onion Festival Committee in cooperation with the Vidalia® Onion Committee and the Georgia Restaurant Association.

    The Golden Onion competition will be held at the Vidalia Community Center, 107 Old Airport Road in Vidalia, Ga. The event is open to the public starting at 12:30 p.m.

    For details and downloadable application materials, visit and

    About the Vidalia Onion Festival
    Celebrating its 37th year in 2014, the Vidalia Onion Festival will be held April 24-27 in Vidalia, Ga. The event has been featured on The Food Network and recognized as one of the “5 Don't-Miss Festivals Across the U.S.” by MSNBC. The four-day festival offers something for everyone, including the Miss Vidalia Onion Pageant, a children’s parade, outdoor music concerts, an arts and crafts festival, street dance, car show, the Kiwanis Onion Run, the Vidalia Onion Festival Rodeo, and the Famous onion eating contest. Come to Vidalia to experience the “whole onion.” For more information, visit

    About Vidalia® Onions
    Vidalia® Onions are the pioneer of sweet onions and Georgia’s official state vegetable. Grown only in the mild climate and unique soil surrounding Vidalia, Ga., they’re loved by chefs and home cooks throughout the world. Vidalia® Onions are hand-planted and hand-harvested each year, with sweet, juicy bulbs available seasonally from late April to late August. Their mild, sweet taste makes Vidalia® Onions more versatile than stronger onions. And these Georgia sweeties are a low-calorie, fat, cholesterol, and sodium-free way to get a healthy dose of Vitamin C. For more information, visit

    About the Vidalia® Onion Committee
    Because Vidalia® Onions are sweetly unique, farmers were forced to unite and seek legal protection of their crop and its name. Federal Marketing Order No. 955 was established in 1989 to stipulate how and where the crop can be grown and sold. The Vidalia® Onion Committee administers FMO No. 955 and authorizes production research, marketing research and development and marketing promotion programs. This federal protection reinforces Georgia state laws and the Vidalia® trademark. So, you can try to grow a sweet onion elsewhere, but you cannot call it a “Vidalia!” For more information, visit

    About the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA)
    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 (NRA) to operate Georgia’s only not-for-profit representing the state’s foodservice industry. 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 more information, visit

    Ingrid M. Varn
    Executive Director, Vidalia Area CVB

    Hope S. Philbrick
    Freelance Writer & Editor / Golden Onion Judge

  • 30 Sep 2013 8:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    GRA members Hal’s on Old Ivy and Parma Tavern were featured on this past week’s episode of Atlanta Eats.

    Hal’s on Old Ivy in Buckhead is the James Bond of steak houses. Sean Connery as Bond, not Roger Moore. It’s exclusive without being snobbish, classy without being aloof. It’s the kind of place that Don Draper would have taken late-night meetings before not going home to Betsy. Diners should know that the downstairs bar area at Hal’s allows smoking undefined there’s an upstairs bar that’s smoke-free, and the dining areas are smoke-free, too.

    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…

    If you missed the episode, make sure to check out the clips: Hal's on Old Ivy and Parma Tavern


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