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  • 16 Sep 2014 4:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Source: National Restaurant Association 

    A substantial number of operators are practicing sustainability, new National Restaurant Association research shows.

    According to the NRA’s new survey, restaurants are interested in implementing environmental practices into their plans.

    Conducted earlier this year among 1,000 fullservice and quickservice operators, the survey found that nearly three quarters of operators recycled used fryer oil, fats and grease. More than six in 10 recycled their cardboard and paper, used compact fluorescent lighting and bought products made of recycled materials. About three in 10 installed faucet aerators to conserve water.

    Key findings determined that:
    • 74 percent recycled their used fryer oil, fats and grease
    • 66 percent recycled cardboard and paper
    • 63 percent used compact fluorescent lighting
    • 61 percent purchased products made of recycled materials
    • 48 percent installed low-flush toilets or waterless urinals in the back- and front-of-the-house
    • 41 percent purchased products that can be composted
    • 29 percent installed aerators on faucets
    • 22 percent donated leftover food to food banks or similar organizations
    • 17 percent composted food waste.
    “More operators are looking at ways to increase efficiency – environmentally and fiscally,” said Scott DeFife, the NRA’s executive vice president of policy and government affairs. “Restaurateurs today know a lot more about how sustainability can reduce utility costs and, in some cases, increase profitability.”

    The survey also asked restaurateurs about composting, food donation, energy efficiency and how they handled their used fryer oil.

    Download the full report.

    Visit the NRA’s Conserve program to learn more about sustainable tips, tools and best practices for the restaurant industry.
  • 12 Sep 2014 3:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The first annual AJC Dunwoody Wine Festival is taking place on Saturday, October 11 at The Field at Hammond Drive (near Perimeter Mall) from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. A grand tasting, this first-ever Dunwoody event will be well attended by more than 2,000 wine- and food-loving OTP'ers (and likely some in-town folks as well).

    We are looking for chefs and beverage professionals to provide tastings for the audience. Additionally, there will be a demo tent and we are looking for chefs/wine/beverage professionals to participate in 30-minute demonstrations of either cooking, food & wine pairing, or cocktail preparation.

    There is NO cost to participate except that of the product you provide (should all be donated).

    The AJC is fully supporting with advertising/promotional and editorial coverage. John Kessler is 100 percent on board and will be doing 6 articles leading up to the event. $400,000 media package value.

    Exhibitors should anticipate 1,800 samples for the Saturday Grand Tasting Event.
    • 3 - 4 oz food portion
    • Exhibitors will receive:
    • Dedicated space with a 6’ table.
    • A 6’ prep / storage table behind your serving area.
    • Table Linens, and ice.
    • Electricity – 110v outlet (must be requested by in advance
    •  Custom event signag
    •  Three (3) passes to the Grand Tasting event for staff
    There is also a VIP Reserve Tasting event ticketed at $150 pp on Friday evening at Le Meridien Hotel. There is opportunity for food and beverage tables at this event as well.

    If you are interested in participating, please contact Elizabeth McDonald at lizzie@mcdonald-media.com.
  • 10 Sep 2014 11:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    CONTACT:
    Katie Laning Niebaum (202) 973-3967 kniebaum@restaurant.org or Christin Fernandez (202) 331-5939 cfernandez@restaurant.org

    Restaurant Industry Ranks Number One on this Year’s Annual Gallup Poll
    Annual Poll Shows Americans Continue to View Restaurants Favorably

    (Washington, D.C.) The restaurant industry is regarded as the top business sector in America according to the results of the annual Gallup Work and Education poll released last week. Restaurants have remained one of the most highly viewed industries since Gallup started its annual poll of consumer perception of industries in 2001, re-claiming the top spot last held in 2007. In addition, this year’s poll recorded the most positive rating on record for the industry

    “Restaurants are the beloved cornerstones of communities across the country,” said Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “From the local sandwich shop to the city steakhouse, the restaurant industry provides job opportunity to 13.5 million Americans and has become an essential part of our everyday lives.”

    According to National Restaurant Association research nine in 10 consumers say they enjoy going to restaurants and two in five consumers say restaurants are an essential part of their lifestyle. One half of all adults have worked in the restaurant industry at some point during their lives and one third of all Americans got their first job working in a restaurant.

    As the nation’s second largest private sector employer, restaurants continue to be economic drivers, employing nearly 10 percent of America’s workforce.

    In addition, more than nine out of 10 restaurants are actively involved in charitable activities. Collectively, the charitable contributions of the nation’s nearly one million restaurants are estimated to reach up to $3 billion each year.

    The Gallup poll asks Americans to rate industries on a scale from "very positive" to "very negative." The computer industry is second to restaurants.

    ###

    Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 990,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13.5 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry's largest trade show (NRA Show May 16-19, 2015, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids' menu options. For more information, visit Restaurant.org and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube.

    To view this release online visit: http://www.restaurant.org/Pressroom/Press-Releases/Restaurant-Industry-Ranks-Number-One-on-this-Year%E2%80%99

    More news and information from the National Restaurant Association: http://www.restaurant.org/Pressroom
  • 09 Sep 2014 12:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: National Restaurant Association 

    The rising costs of coffee and protein-based foods, including bacon, eggs, ham and beef, are creating concern among industry experts and chains specializing in the breakfast day part who say the prices, historically, are higher than ever before.

    Food cost pressures are building, said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for the National Restaurant Association. “Operators have watched carefully what’s going on with staple breakfast items like eggs, bacon and coffee. Some will consider operational adjustments as cost pressures are sustained.”

    According to the NRA’s monthly Restaurant Industry Tracking Survey, operators once again cite food costs as their top challenge. Last month eight in 10 operators said their average food costs are higher now than a year ago. Among family-dining restaurants, many of whom focus on breakfast, nine in 10 operators report higher food costs.

    “Price fluctuations of commodities can have a significant impact on the operator’s bottom line, especially if the items in question are essential to a specific concept or menu. Breakfast has been a growing day part over the last several years, as restaurant operators explore new avenues to build business and more consumers live life ‘on the go’,” Riehle said.

    John Barone, commodities analyst and CEO of MarketVision Inc., says prices eased over the summer but remain high, almost across the board. A drought in Brazil this spring continues to drive up coffee costs, he noted.

    “Coffee prices dropped 20 percent between April and July, but have regained most of that drop and look to be headed higher over the long term,” he said. “Brazil has a multi-year coffee problem. The bottom line is breakfast chains are really feeling the heat.”

    Some larger restaurant companies were able to negotiate contracts before costs started climbing. Corner Bakery Cafe, right now is in a good position on its coffee contract, although that could end sometime next year, said Ric Scicchitano, senior vice president of food and beverage.

    “We did a lot of forecasting and booking on the contract side to manage risk for all of 2014 and into 2015 as much as possible,” he said. He said the company locked in a good coffee contract when it saw favorable prices in the last half of 2013, but will have to reset that contract for 2015. “We haven’t been exposed to the spike in prices, but I’ve been telling everyone that headwinds are brewing for next year because we don’t have positions to carry us all the way through 2015.”

    Dunkin’ Brands, parent of Dunkin’ Donuts, indicated it is exploring the possibility of raising prices on its coffee beverages to offset the surging cost of coffee.

    "We are currently holding conversations with our domestic franchisees about a modest increase in coffee prices,” spokeswoman Michelle King said. “We have not taken any significant price increases on coffee in the last several years and even with a modest increase, we continue to offer a great value to our guests every day."

    Coffee isn’t the only commodity causing headaches.

    Barone said prices on pork bellies, or bacon, are down about 20 percent from year-ago levels but remain historically high due to potential supply issues related to the outbreak of PEDv, or porcine epidemic diarrhea, which affects newborn piglets. Even after recent drops, the prices of ham and pork trimmings, or sausage, remain 30 percent higher than last year.

    PEDv disease is expected to reemerge this fall, when the weather cools, Barone says. “There’s really no end in sight because no one has any real information on when the virus will be under control or how much damage it will do to supplies.”

    Dennis Lombardi, executive vice president of strategies for foodservice consultant WD Partners, says he expects more restaurants, especially small operations and independents, will update and re-engineer their menus to feature alternative items that aren’t as costly to serve.

    “For independents, there really seem to be few choices available,” he said. “They basically can endure the higher food costs, change their menu prices accordingly, or update and re-engineer their menus, which they do three or four times a year anyway. A lot of the big chains are locked into supply contracts, which allow for more price sustainability.”

    Scicchitano said his company is still in good shape regarding food costs, but 2015 could be another story.

    “We took 95 percent of our risk off the table last December,” he said. “We’ve kind of been exposed to the cheese market a little bit, but for the most part we’ve been pretty insulated where pricing is concerned. I do think we have a little bit of a correction coming in some protein areas. I’m worried about that more than anything else ‑ and dried fruits and nuts. Those are the things that are going to keep me awake now for next year.”

  • 03 Sep 2014 10:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    First Atlanta Area Enviro-Master Office Celebrates Grand Opening
    Managing Partner Steve Tucker and Founder/CEO Pat Swisher on hand to greet local officials

    Marietta, Ga. (September 3, 2014) - Enviro-Master Services, a leader in the commercial hygiene industry, celebrated the Grand Opening of its first Atlanta area office last Thursday, August 28. Managing Partner Steve Tucker, along with Founder and CEO Pat Swisher of Charlotte, NC, hosted numerous guests including local business leaders and owners, restaurateurs and elected officials. The honorable Mayor Mark Mathews of Kennesaw joined in the festivities as well as Cobb County Chamber members.

    Enviro-Master would like to thank its much appreciated customers, suppliers and vendors for their support and donations throughout the event. Attendees enjoyed a variety of delightful foods catered by Kouzina Christos, The Wing Factory, Brixx Wood Fired Pizza and Brazilian Bakery & Café while numerous door prizes were given away each half hour. Guests also enjoyed a ceremonial ribbon cutting and photo opportunities.
    "We are thrilled to officially join, and support, the Marietta, Kennesaw and Atlanta area communities," said Steve Tucker, Managing Partner of the Enviro-Master Atlanta office. "Our services directly affect the health of local citizens and consumers as well as the bottom line of our customers' businesses. We're happy to play such a positive role in disease prevention strategies with our customers and in our communities."

    In addition to industrial, automotive, manufacturing, medical and healthcare, education and office facilities, Enviro-Master serves a continually growing number of restaurants in the Atlanta area. For this reason, Enviro-Master of Atlanta is proud to be an active member of the Georgia Restaurant Association. On October 13 and 14, the company will participate as an exhibitor at the Atlanta Foodservice Expo at the Georgia World Congress Center.

    About Enviro-Master Services of Atlanta
    A Top New Franchise for 2014 per Entrepreneur Magazine, Enviro-Master is a commercial hygiene company that specializes in disease prevention and odor control services. Enviro-Master delivers consistently superior outcomes and improvements in restroom appearance and odor, as well as highly effective abatement and prevention of the transfer of sickness, virus and disease, extremely competitive pricing on paper and restrooms supplies and effective solutions for other issues commonly faced by restaurant owners and operators. For more information, please visit www.enviromasteratlanta.com.
    ###

    For more information:
    Lindsey Bryce | Enviro-Master Atlanta
    678.496.3303 | lbryce@ematlanta.com

  • 02 Sep 2014 4:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Note to media: Press credentials applications are available on the Taste of Atlanta website by visitin http://tasteofatlanta.com/mediaContact.phpApplication deadline is Friday, October 10, 2014

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    To Have and to Hold from This Taste Forward: 13th Annual Taste of Atlanta Kicks off with Friday Night Celebration Themed Culinary Matrimony on October 24
    Eat, drink and ‘be married’ with creative gastronomic parings at festival kickoff event in Midtown at Tech Square

    ATLANTA (September 2, 2014) – Here comes the bride…now open wide! To help food lovers say “I do” to the smorgasbord of flavors and fun offered at the 13th annual Taste of Atlanta, the festival is hosting a celebratory kickoff party on Friday, October 24 in Midtown at Tech Square! The event, themed Culinary Matrimony, will unite unlikely, yet harmonious parings, as local celebrity chefs lift the veil to match-made-in-heaven recipes, libations and more.

    Keeping with tradition, this Friday night festival kickoff is an all-inclusive block party with exclusive bites from select restaurants, bountiful booze and live music from 80s Synth Pop band Electric Avenue. Attendees will enjoy the joining of both famed and more obscure flavor pairings from the city’s power culinary players. As a true labor of love, participating celebrity chefs, including Ron Eyester of Rosebud, Jay Swift of 4th & Swift and Drew Belline of No. 246, will serve creatively combined dishes inspired by coupling with a partner of their choosing – whether it be a home-grown farmer, stirring mixologist, seasoned cheese maker, acclaimed artist, fellow chef or anyone who shares that undeniable chemistry.

    “We wanted to incorporate something old and something new into this year’s Taste of Atlanta kickoff event, and the Culinary Matrimony theme is the perfect pairing!” said Chef and Restaurateur Ron Eyester of Rosebud, The Family Dog, Timone’s and his latest concept, Diner. “Friday night is always such an awesome time for both the chefs and the attendees – we can be as creative as we want with the event theme, and guests get to try new, innovative dishes that aren’t offered anywhere else.”

    The evening will serve up more than just phenomenal food, entertainment and fun – guests can also give back to the community - and live happily ever after - as a portion of event proceeds will be donated to Georgia Organics, a local non-profit that connects organic food from Georgia farms to Georgia families.

    Friday night participating chefs and restaurants include:

    • Jay Swift, 4th & Swift
    • Patric Bell, Barrelhouse
    • Archna Becker, Bhojanic
    • Suzanne Vizethann, Buttermilk Kitchen
    • Fox Brothers, Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q
    • John Metz, Marlow's Tavern
    • Drew Belline, No. 246
    • Ron Eyester, Rosebud
    • Drew Van Leuvan, Seven Lamps
    • Craig Richards, St. Cecilia
    • Eddie Hernandez, Taqueria del Sol
    • Terry Koval, Wrecking Bar
    • Tyler Williams
    General admission tickets for Friday night start at $70. General Admission ticket holders receive access into the event at 7:30 p.m. VIP tickets are $90 and include early entrance to the event at 6:30 p.m. Visit http://www.tasteofatlanta.com/tickets.php to purchase tickets.

    Culinary Matrimony is presented by Big Green Egg, Springer Mountain Farms and US Foods.

    ###

    About Taste of Atlanta:
    Taste of Atlanta packs the bold flavors, colorful personalities and vibrant energy of an entire city into 10 blocks in Midtown Atlanta. The three-day festival explores the city's unique neighborhoods by sampling tastes from the chefs and bartenders that give each area its own creative energy. Since its inception in 2002, Taste of Atlanta has become an annual pilgrimage for thousands of food, wine, beer and cocktail lovers from across the country. Festival attendees bring their adventurous appetites and experience a full range of flavors, from time-honored Southern classics to innovative dishes that are destined to be the next culinary trend. Patrons also enjoy interactive cooking demonstrations on four main stages, live entertainment and family-friendly activities for food lovers of all ages. Taste of Atlanta supports several Atlanta non-profit groups, including Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters, Atlanta’s Table, Georgia Organics and Hospitality Education Foundation of Georgia and ProStart®. Indulge in the city’s flavors Friday through Sunday, October 24-26 in Midtown at Tech Square to truly savor what makes Atlanta the food capital of the South. For more information, visit www.tasteofatlanta.com.

    Stay connected to Taste of Atlanta 2014:
    • Sign up for the Taste of Atlanta newsletter: www.tasteofatlanta.com
    • Follow Taste on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tasteofatlanta
    • Like Taste on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tasteofatlanta
    • Follow Taste on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/tasteofatlanta
    • Follow Taste on Instagram: http://instagram.com/tasteofatlanta

    Note to media: Press credentials applications are available on the Taste of Atlanta website by visiting http://tasteofatlanta.com/mediaContact.php. Application deadline is Friday, October 10, 2014

    CONTACT
    Jennifer Walker / Shannon King
    BRAVE Public Relations
    404.233.3993
    jwalker@bravepublicrelations.com
    sking@bravepublicrelations.com

  • 29 Aug 2014 2:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Source: National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

    The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s new research Who Works in the U.S. Restaurant Industry is the first report of its kind in decades. Detailing the opinions of nearly 5,100 Americans who currently work or formerly worked in the industry, as well as those who own or operate restaurants, the study offers compelling insight into the sense of pride, optimism and opportunity among the restaurant workforce.

    A majority of restaurant employees said the industry provides good long-term career opportunities. Among those surveyed in Who Works in the U.S. Restaurant Industry, individuals in almost every occupation and age group surveyed felt the restaurant industry affords them career advancement potential. Of those not in their first restaurant job, a solid majority said they have advanced to higher-paying jobs.

    One in three Americans got their first job in the restaurant industry, and many take that opportunity to build life long careers. Seven out of 10 restaurant employees said they would likely continue working in the industry until they retire. In fact, the median industry tenure of employees in restaurant manager and business operations positions was 20 years, and for those over 55, the median was more than 30 years.

    Click here for the reports.

  • 29 Aug 2014 2:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    By Food Safety Magazine
    August/September 2014

    What do Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, tornadoes across the Midwest and the Kamaishi earthquake in Japan all have in common? Food and water in affected areas may become contaminated with microbiological and chemical agents. Food safety risks are mainly linked to unsafe food storage, handling, preparation and ill employees. Processors with warehouses and retail stores that lack power cannot maintain proper temperature control. Foodservice facilities may find it impossible to cook the food they have during natural disasters due to a lack of facilities or fuel. Poor sanitation, including lack of safe water and toilet facilities, can compound these risks.

    Food Safety Magazine asked U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists Martin A. Kalis, M.A., public health advisor, and Robert Blake, M.P.H., R.E.H.S., environmental health scientist, Alabama Department of Public Health’s Timothy N. Hatch, M.P.A., R.E.H.S., Debra Pandak, CSS-Dynamac, which assists federal, state and local agencies in responding to natural disasters, Rich Ritota, former program manager, Food and Drug Safety Program at the New Jersey Department of Health and current president of Food Safe Systems LLC, Mark S. Miklos, senior manager program compliance, National Restaurant Association, and former vice president of food safety & training for Waffle House Inc., and the Association of Food and Drug Officials’ Joe Corby how the food industry can best prepare for the next natural disaster before it strikes.

    FSM: What are the main areas that require advance preparation to ensure safe food after a natural disaster hits? And who is responsible for carrying this out?

    Kalis and Blake: Foodservice providers will have immediate questions and concerns following any disaster. These will likely include: How do I protect my inventory? How do I maintain operations? How do I continue to serve healthy food? How do I continue the viability of my establishment?

    The best way to address these and other concerns is before an emergency or disaster.

    Prior to any emergency or disaster, regardless of whether it is natural or technological/human-caused, the community response partners need to understand their roles and responsibilities related to food safety based on applicable laws and established plans and guidance.

    Contacting the local health department or food/restaurant inspection authority and asking about contingency planning is a good first step. If no planning has occurred for food protection after a disaster, food facilities can initiate these discussions with the health department.

    Often, your professional organization, food/restaurant inspection authority or department of health makes an excellent advocate for initiating a multiagency/organization discussion to define roles and formulate custom plans for your community.

    FSM: Around 30 states have Food Protection Task Forces comprising regulatory, academic and industry members, which are great resources for these types of planning issues.

    Kalis and Blake: Other types of local first responders that conduct emergency preparedness exercises may be willing to include foodservice facilities. Plans can address topics such as how to protect food during long power outages and how to address flooding or sewage backups, spills and other events that could affect water quality. Foodservice facility managers will likely wish to make a list of all questions and concerns prior to attending an emergency planning meeting.

    Organizations that might have an interest in this type of planning would include restaurant and food safety-related professional organizations, emergency management and public health agencies, humanitarian and nonprofit organizations (e.g., American Red Cross, Salvation Army), private industry (e.g., food vendors) and other partners and stakeholders (e.g., utility companies, media, Homeland Security, National Guard and fire and police departments).

    Collaborative emergency preparedness training and exercising before an emergency are critical as these activities define roles, introduce the participants to each other and identify areas needing improvement before an actual event. Also, mutual-aid agreements can be put into place to help define roles and responsibilities and provide assistance during any emergency event that may affect food and water safety.

    FSM: Building these relationships between food protection stakeholders prior to a disaster/emergency is very important.

    Hatch:
    Advanced preparation is essential to the viability of any food establishment, from the supplier to the retailer. Plans should be done at the facility level with input from partners and regulators alike that factor in the needed elements for safe operation after a disaster. Some of the common areas are backup power, alternate water supply, innovative (and approved) methods of liquid and solid waste disposal and volunteer training on food safety. Just in Time (JIT) training for volunteer food handlers is a must. All too often, there are areas of food safety that are completely foreign to the novice food handler, and some are risk factors that must be taught in order to be fully understood. Private organizations do a fine job of day-to-day food safety training, but after a disaster, we do not have the time to conduct such, so JIT food safety training is always needed.

    Pandak: I’d add FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] and the U.S. EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] to the list. For example, FEMA ESF [Emergency Support Function] #11 addresses food safety during a disaster and the agencies involved. Also, the Red Cross has developed multiple “apps” that are available to individuals and companies that may require support in developing plans to respond to natural disasters and [that] support individuals and establishments post a disaster event at www.redcross.org/prepare/mobile-apps.

    Corby: All disasters are unique and can present unique challenges to regulatory officials. Having a trained field staff with knowledge on preparing for natural disasters is government’s best hope for being able to respond effectively. Regulatory officials know their communities, the food establishments that exist there and industry representatives who can be called upon when a disaster strikes. Everyone is capable of playing a major role in disaster response and being familiar with all appropriate contacts is crucial. Handing out business cards during a disaster event is way too late.

    FSM: What are the major challenges to advance preparation?

    Kalis and Blake: One major challenge is ensuring key parties understand roles and responsibilities during emergency response and recovery. Usually existing laws and plans need to be supplemented with specific food and water emergency response plans (as described above).

    In addition, resources for any emergency planning and training often are challenging to obtain and must be prioritized with other important public health issues. Addressing these “surge capacity” issues is a key element during planning.

    Finally, getting the necessary time commitment from community partners and stakeholders to prepare for potential food and water safety issues during emergencies and disasters can be quite challenging, especially if staff members are limited and competing priorities exist within a particular agency, organization, company or institution.

    Hatch: Planning and preparing for disasters is a foreign concept to many in the restaurant business. From the large chains down to the local restaurants, owners and operators have their hands full with day-to-day operations and attend to disasters as they happen. We have seen that advanced preparation is not only the smart thing to do but can lead to a strong business after a disaster. The faster an establishment can get back on their feet, the quicker they can begin preparing food for the community and those responding to assist in the recovery. Preparation is a smart business (and food safety) decision.

    Pandak: When developing plans, the potential influx of relief and recovery workers to an area impacted by a natural disaster should be considered. In some situations, a government agency may provide foodservice to feed relief workers, but not always. How to plan and be prepared for the pressure that operating commercial facilities will experience? Where will products be obtained to support operating food establishments? Those businesses that are able to operate will experience longer workdays and require extra staff to accommodate the increased number of people needing food.

    Employing social media to access local government sites may provide the means for obtaining information following a natural disaster. Facilities should incorporate this into their planning and be familiar with local sites and the use of texting, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Social media also presents a means to communicate with employees regarding the status of foodservice provider(s) - texting may be one of the only ways to communicate early on following a natural disaster when Wi-Fi and Internet connections may be down. This may be the only way to coordinate with your resources, including vendors.

    Corby: Communication and transportation can oftentimes become a major challenge for responding in an effective manner. Many times after a disaster, cellphones will not function and roads may not be passable. What happens then? Understanding what to do before a disaster strikes can resolve this concern. Incident Command System [ICS] usually addresses this for management officials, but field officials may need to operate out of their homes and conduct establishment assessments within their home communities until communications can be established.

    Read the full article

    The Industry Perspective
    The first step in any successful response by industry is building relationships with regulatory and emergency management agencies before the onset of a disaster. Industry and regulators are partners with a common purpose: to ensure the health of the dining public. This is true both during normal operations and when the chips are down after a disaster. A crisis is no time, however, to be meeting your regulators for the first time. Those relationships must be established ahead of time and nourished yearlong.

    Developing a robust emergency operating plan for your establishment goes hand in hand with relationship building. Industry can look to several templates for guidelines on how to create such plans. An example is the recently revised Emergency Action Plan for Retail Food Establishments, produced by the Conference for Food Protection. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has published guidelines for reopening after a storm. Several states have created their own emergency action plans. Operators should check with their state health department - sooner rather than later - to see if such plans are available. Other states have amended or are considering amending their state food code by including the option whereby facilities having a preapproved emergency operations plan may stay open during an emergency.

    All stakeholders should be involved in the creation of the emergency operating plan. Since operations are the key to a successful response, all store, multiunit and executive management levels need to be involved. Other departments, including purchasing, communications, IT, food safety/quality assurance and security, for example, should also participate. It is helpful to use a planning matrix that lists all functional departments horizontally and time horizons vertically. The grid should be populated with specific responsibilities owned by each stakeholder group: what to do during preseason preparation, once a storm is imminent, 48 to 24 hours before a storm and each stakeholder group’s responsibility after the storm hits.

    Among the most significant challenges to robust advance preparation is creating and then sustaining the corporate will to invest in a stockpile of supplies and equipment that could be deployed at a moment’s notice. Other challenges are holding mock events to test readiness, keeping stakeholders accountable for fulfilling each of the responsibilities assigned to them on the planning matrix and proactively reaching out to state and local regulatory and emergency management to gain preapproval for emergency operating plans.

    After a disaster has struck, there are high-profile and low-profile concerns. On the high side are such items as structural damage, flooding, fire and the loss of utilities. Loss of power can be overcome if generators have been prestaged and can be swung into service quickly, and if alternative sources of potable water have been arranged. On the low side (only in terms of being less visible in most cases to the media) is the plight of your employees whose individual stories are often overshadowed. The hourly food worker often lives paycheck to paycheck, which is a fragile state of affairs in the best of times. A prolonged closure of one of your establishments can be devastating to his or her livelihood. To this end, access to the disaster area is the key. Several states, including Florida and Delaware, are developing plans for critical services re-entry, and food establishments with well-developed and preapproved emergency operating plans may be included. This is a positive step and more jurisdictions should be urged to develop similar plans.

    Curfews can also be problematic, as can pre-open inspections. Having preapproved emergency operating plans enables the regulatory authority to deploy its limited resources more wisely, starting with establishments that don’t have such plans, because delays in reopening hurt all stakeholders: customers, employees and first responders who also need a place to eat. Mississippi has developed an Emergency Food Safety Inspection Form to clear a food facility for reopening without a pre-opening inspection. Other states have similar protocols and, as an industry, we should encourage all jurisdictions to follow suit.

    At the end of the day, good corporate citizens participate in the life of their community in good times and in bad. When we pull together as partners with a common purpose, we help control risk and mitigate the aftereffects of disaster. When industry plays a leading role in the process, communities return to normal quickly and everyone wins.

    - Mark S. Miklos
  • 29 Aug 2014 10:21 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    There’s nothing easy about running a business even if that business is modeled after the Big Easy itself, New Orleans. One of the greatest challenges is managing costs especially in the competitive restaurant industry. Bartering within a professional network can save thousands of dollars every year. Now, that’s something every business owner can get jazzed about.

    For 10 years, Copeland’s of New Orleans, has been working with The Barter Company to exchange their services with other barter clients.

    “We estimate a net cash savings of 30% on every barter transaction,” said Bill Goudey, owner of two Copeland’s Atlanta locations. “Copeland’s does about $125,000 in barter per year,so the inflow and outflow is double that amount.”

    Copeland’s of New Orleans restaurants serve New Orleans cuisine in a casual dining atmosphere. The extensive menu includes: seafood, steaks, sandwiches, burgers, and a kid’s menu.

    Barter is one of the ways to make things a little easier in the restaurant business. Goudey explains: “We barter food and beverage from our restaurant primarily for marketing and repair services. That includes printing, print and broadcast media, restaurant cleaning services, supplies, general construction and maintenance services. We even use gift certificates for entertainment and dining as rewards and prizes.”

    People have exchanged goods and services for centuries through a simplistic barter system. Today, barter plays an important role in the payments industry with businesses incorporating it into their system along with cash, credit, virtual payments, and loyalty cards. 

    “Alternative currencies are trending for business,explains Ric Zampatti, The Barter Company CEO. “More and more businesses are taking another look at barter and how it can benefit their cash flow.”

    The best reason of all to use barter, according to Goudey, is “the introduction of many new clients to the business that would not otherwise visit our establishment. That and the cash savings from leveraging the barter network.

    Effective bartering takes time so be committed to the concept. The Barter Company’s trade coordinators work hard to help us build barter traffic and spend our dollars wisely.” The Barter Company makes it easy.

    About TBC:
    The Barter Company is a recognized leader in the barter industry with offices in Georgia and Florida. TBC provides businesses with an alternative currency network by using barter dollars instead of cash to handle your transactions. TBC acts as a third-party records keeper, providing clients with monthly statements that reflect all barter purchases, sales and current barter dollar balance. For more information, please call (770) 591-4343 or visit www.thebartercompany.com.

    The Barter Company...redefining commerce & trade.

  • 28 Aug 2014 11:03 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Contact:
    Steve Kramer NRAEF 202-315-4100 skramer@nraef.org

    - National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Unveils Most Comprehensive Restaurant Industry Workforce Study in Decades -

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – August 28, 2014 – Nine out of 10 restaurant employees say they are proud to work in the restaurant industry, while three-quarters believe the industry offers them a strong career path and upward mobility, according to a new workforce study released today by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF).

    As the most extensive research of the restaurant sector workforce in decades, “Who Works in the U.S. Restaurant Industry,” details the opinions of nearly 5,100 Americans who currently work or formerly worked in the industry, as well as those who own or operate restaurants.

    “This landmark research finds that employees and owners/operators have a decidedly positive perception of our industry and believe extensive career choices and opportunities for advancement are readily available,” said Dawn Sweeney, president and chief executive officer, National Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “This study offers fresh and compelling insight into why so many Americans choose to chart their careers in the restaurant industry, how they advance and why so many plan to stay until they retire.”

    Gateway to Employment and Advancement
    The restaurant industry has historically served as the first job for Americans, with nearly one in three getting their first work experience in a restaurant. More than nine out of 10 restaurant employees said the restaurant sector is a good place to get a first job, and more than eight out of 10 current workers agreed that restaurants provide an opportunity for people who want to succeed based on their hard work.
    Eight out of 10 employees and nine out of 10 owners say that people of all backgrounds can open their own restaurant.

    Career Opportunities and Tenure Abound
    A majority of employees said the industry provides good long-term career opportunities. Also, individuals in almost every occupation and age group surveyed felt the restaurant industry affords them career advancement potential. Of those not in their first restaurant job, a solid majority said they have advanced to higher-paying jobs.

    Seven out of 10 restaurant employees said they would likely continue working in the industry until they retire. In fact, the median industry tenure of employees in restaurant manager and business operations positions was 20 years, and for those over 55, the median was more than 30 years.

    “As the nation’s second largest private-sector employer and a leading job creator, the restaurant industry must attract, develop and retain employees to fuel projected growth within the sector. We are highly encouraged by the findings of this study and hope it will propel more people to consider and choose fulfilling restaurant careers,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president, strategic operations and philanthropy, National Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

    Compensation
    The study also examined compensation for both hourly and salaried restaurant employees. While wage ranges varied by occupation, restaurant managers earned a reported median annual base salary of $47,000. Salaried chefs and cooks received a median base of $50,000, with the upper quartile at $65,000 and the lower quartile at $40,000. Among salaried employees, a majority across all age groups said they received a raise in the last year.

    When analyzing the findings of particular hourly workers such as waiters and waitresses, the study indicates they earned a median of $16.13 per hour when employer-paid wages and tips were combined, while bartenders earned a median of $19.35 per hour. Among all hourly employees, roughly seven out of 10 restaurant managers and shift or crew supervisors said they received a pay raise within the past 12 months. A majority of chefs or cooks, as well as individuals in business operations positions, also received a raise within the last year.

    Restaurant Owners/Operators
    The research also profiles perceptions of current restaurant owners related to their career experiences within the industry. A vast majority – 77 percent – said they started in the industry at an entry-level position. During their tenure with the industry, these owners held a variety of restaurant jobs with 84 percent being managers, 61 percent shift or crew supervisors and 59 percent chefs or cooks.

    And in an indication of the entrepreneurial spirit within the industry, when asked how they became a restaurant owner, 42 percent said they started their restaurant from “scratch,” while 20 percent said they purchased the business and 13 percent became a franchisee.

    Despite how they began as operators, the vast majority of all restaurant owners said they likely will continue working in their industry until they retire. In fact, 84 percent of the youngest owners, those under 35, said they see the restaurant sector as a life-long career pursuit.

    Methodology

    “Who Works in the U.S. Restaurant Industry” was commissioned by the NRAEF and executed during October and November 2013. The study was implemented through an online survey fielded among a wide range of individuals in the restaurant industry workforce and mall intercepts in 20 shopping malls across the U.S.

    In total, completed surveys were received from 4,465 individuals who currently work in the restaurant industry. These respondents comprised 3,309 individuals currently in restaurant and foodservice positions, 442 individuals in business operation positions for restaurants, and 714 restaurant owner/operators.

    The survey also contained a section for individuals who currently do not work in the restaurant industry. Out of the 861 individuals who completed this section, 628 are former restaurant employees and 233 never worked in the restaurant industry. Out of the 628 former restaurant employees, 393 said their first paid job was in the restaurant industry.

    About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation:
    As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF exists to enhance the restaurant industry’s service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities. The NRAEF works to attract, develop and retain a career-oriented professional workforce for the restaurant industry. The restaurant and foodservice industry comprises 980,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13 million employees, making it one of the nation's largest employers. For more information on the NRAEF, visit NRAEF.org.

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