• 11 Oct 2013 4:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Atlanta Eats

    GRA members Local Three and Six Feet Under will appear on Atlanta Eats this Saturday and Sunday, October 12th and 13th, on PeachtreeTV at 10:30 a.m. Make sure to tune in!

    Missed the show? Watch the recaps videos here: Local Three & Six Feet Under.
  • 11 Oct 2013 10:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    National Restaurant Association 

    In his latest commentary, the National Restaurant Association's Chief Economist Bruce Grindy discusses the impact of the partial government shutdown. Both consumers and restaurant operators already had low expectations for the economy, and the shutdown will only add to the uncertainty in the months ahead.

    Normally in this space today there would be an analysis of September employment figures, which were scheduled to be released at 8:30am. But with parts of the Labor Department shuttered along with much of the federal government, the public is denied access to key barometers of the economic recovery.

    While the overall economic impact of a partial government shutdown will be limited as long as it is short in duration, the fact that it is occurring at all doesn’t do anything to boost the fragile psyche of consumers and businesses. To be sure, the political wrangling only adds more uncertainty to the situation, particularly with the significantly more dangerous debt ceiling and default looming in less than two weeks.

    In terms of the impact on the restaurant industry, the shutdown will likely dampen restaurant spending among the roughly 800,000 federal workers who are on unpaid leave. Whether or not these furloughed workers eventually receive back pay as they did after past shutdowns, they are likely curtailing their discretionary spending until the situation gets worked out, which directly impacts restaurants in those areas.

    In addition, there is a direct and immediate impact on restaurants that are in and around the 401 National Park Service (NPS) sites that are closed as a result of the shutdown. According to the NPS, these sites collectively average 715,000 visitors per day in October, which means the local economies near the national parks are being negatively impacted by the loss of tourism.

    While the initial impact of the shutdown is mostly regional, the continued inability of the government to break the gridlock dampens economic confidence nationwide – sentiment that was not exactly soaring to begin with. Even before the government shutdown kicked in, both consumers and restaurant operators were far from bullish about the direction of the economy.

    In a national survey of 1,000 adults conducted September 12-15 for the National Restaurant Association by ORC International, only 21 percent of consumers said they expected the nation’s economy to be better in the next six months. Twenty-six percent of adults said they thought the economy would get worse, while 51 percent expected things to stay about the same.

    Among restaurant operators, the sentiment was strikingly similar. In the Association’s September 2013 Restaurant Industry Tracking Survey, only 23 percent of restaurant operators said they expected the economy to improve in six months. Twenty-two percent of operators said they thought economic conditions will worsen, while 55 percent expected the economy to stay about the same.

    If the government shutdown drags on from days into weeks, look for these economic confidence readings to become even more pessimistic.

    Read more from the Economist’s Notebook and get additional analysis of restaurant industry trends on Restaurant TrendMapper (subscription required).

  • 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



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