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Florida's 'Growler' Ban Unconstitutional, Lawsuit Claims Print
Wednesday, 29 October 2014 10:56

Sunshinestatenews.com - Florida is violating the United States Constitution by arbitrarily banning restaurants, taverns, and breweries from selling or filling the most popular portable jug for craft beers -- the half-gallon (64-ounce) growler.

That's according to a civil rights lawsuit filed today in federal court on behalf of the owners of a downtown Stuart craft beer restaurant, The Crafted Keg. The lawsuit was filed by the national free-enterprise legal organization, Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF)."It should be an interesting suit as we are fairly certain that this is the first courtroom challenge to the growler ban," said Kate Pomeroy, PLF's Washington, D.C., media director.

PLF always gets its man, so to speak," retired Orange County attorney Sanford R. Craig told Sunshine State News. Craig was part of a legal team that unsuccessfully opposed PLF a few years ago. "The state is in for a fight on this one." Continue

Music Industry Sues Restaurant over Music! Print
Wednesday, 29 October 2014 10:52

 Gothamist.com -Unless it's blasting out your ear drums, music at restaurants usually fades into the background noise of clattering plates and sauced patrons' boisterous laughs. Even so, a group representing license holders for the music industry wants restaurants to pony up cash to play music at their establishments and they're suing to make it happen. Nine restaurants on Long Island are facing lawsuits from ASCAP, which represents 500,000 musicians and publishers, reports Newsday. You can't play Jackson Browne's "Somebody's Baby" without throwing money to the song's writers.

According to the lawsuits, the restaurants were observed playing copyrighted material without obtaining the proper licenses to do so. Federal law states that any commercial establishment wanting to play copyrighted music in any form must first obtain the correct license that would pay out royalties to whomever deserves them. In the case of Digger's, The Homestead, BobbiQue and six other Long Island eateries, this didn't happen, despite numerous reminders from organizations representing the musicians. Eightyearsworth of reminders. Continue

Restaurant Launches fight against Yelp reviews. Print
Sunday, 21 September 2014 13:49

KTVU.com - The owners of Richmond’s Botto Bistro have had it with reviews on the Yelp website so they are asking customers to give them just one star.

Chefs and co-owners Davide Cerretini and Michele Massimo have even posted a sign on the door of the restaurant offering discounts for bad reviews.

“Hate us on Yelp,” the sign reads. “Write ONESTAR review for Botto on Yelp and get an immediate 25 percent off any pizza & get free tickets to our cooking classes.”

Cerretini told the San Francisco Chronicle he has grown tired of the constant calls from Yelp trying to sell him advertising.

“I don’t have anything against Yelp,” he told the paper. “The idea is fantastic, but the blackmailing thing is ferocious. I think I should be the one deciding if I’m on the site or not. At least I can be there on my terms.” Read more http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/local/richmond-restaurant-launches-fight-against-yelp-re/nhP7G/

Restaurant agrees to $1.3 mil Racial Discrimination suit! Print
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 09:24

Baltimoresun.com - The owners of two popular restaurants in downtown Baltimore have agreed to pay $1.3 million and establish new hiring measures to settle a years-old lawsuit alleging racial discrimination against black applicants and employees.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit in 2008 against McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants Inc. and Schmick Restaurant Corp., owners of McCormick & Schmick's and M&S Grill in the Inner Harbor.

The lawsuit claimed the restaurants violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by refusing to hire black applicants for front-of-the-house positions such as servers and hostesses.

The Companies did not admit to any discrimination or wrongdoing as part of the settlement, which was approved last week by U.S. District Judge William M. Nickerson.

Eric Janson, an attorney for the companies, declined to comment Monday.

The EEOC celebrated the settlement. Read More  http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2014-09-15/business/bs-bz-mccormick-settlement-20140915_1_mccormick-schmick-ms-grill-applicants

Restaurant sues Yelp to identify internet troll! Print
Friday, 12 September 2014 10:17

nypost.com -The famed Sparks Steakhouse in Midtown steakhouse has a beef with an Internet troll who posed as former worker at the eatery — claiming on Yelp.com that he “personally spit saliva into dishes,” a new lawsuit claims.

The storied eatery — where Gambino mobster Paul Castellano was famously gunned down in 1985 — is demanding the online review site reveal the name of the user who posted the “malicious and defamatory” comment, according to court documents filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on Sept. 8. Continue

Florida restaurant connected to data breach! Print
Thursday, 11 September 2014 09:49

Mysuncoast.com - North Port Police say there have been several complaints of unauthorized credit card transactions appearing on financial statements. Various vendors in Texas, New York and Massachusetts have been linked to these purchases.

At least four Florida Beef O'Brady's restaurant locations have been potentially compromised, with credit and debit card information being stolen.

With the help of the United States Secret Service, the North Port Police Department's Economic Crimes Unit, they were able to determine the source was a data breach within the Beef O'Brady's electronic payment network.

Police say one of the four locations is the restaurant located at 1037 Sumter Boulevard in North Port. Police did not immediately have the other three restaurant addresses available. Continue

Restaurant Show a Big Success! Print
Thursday, 11 September 2014 09:44

Bizjournals.com - Everything from potstickers to stoneware was featured in the restaurateur's wish list known as the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show. The companies that support Florida's $71.8 billion hospitality industry gathered at theOrange County Convention CenterSept. 7-9. And Orlando companies were well in the mix.

"We've made at least 80 contacts since the first day," saidEyal GoldshmidofOrlando-based Fat Cat Foods. Goldshmid founded the award-winning hot sauce company in 2010 with his wife, Orlando attorneyDeborah Moskowitz. Fat Cat was enjoying its first time at the show.

Another local business and first-time attendee,drink mix company Bungalow 23, was also having a busy time on the convention floor. "Everyone wants a drink, but there have been inquiries and interest," said co-ownerRick Ferrone, who mixed cocktails with the company's product: The ultimate portfolio piece. Continue

Businesses relying on international lenders, private equity! Print
Thursday, 11 September 2014 09:40

Dailybusinessreview.com -VooDoo BBQ & Grill is the house that foreign capital built.

The owners of the chain's Florida franchises say they've raised $40 million from investors in 12 countries through the EB-5 visa program, sprouting new locations in Miami, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and Pensacola.

Faced with a credit desert and stringent lending criteria as nearly 70 banks failed in Florida in the aftermath of the Great Recession, the New Orleans-style barbecue franchise had to look elsewhere.

The company found international lenders and cash-rich private equity firms to be the big-money lenders and backers of South Florida's most lucrative commercial deals.

"We're not where we were in '04 or '05 when anybody could get a loan, but the appetite from financial institutions is increasing," said Israel Alfonso, a Miami partner in Akerman, whose annual real estate survey measures economic conditions and investor confidence.

For VooDoo, the new wave of investment followed a tedious and futile fundraising drive in the U.S.

Jafrejo Holdings LLC, the chain's Florida franchisee, said its startup businesses faced multiple roadblocks from traditional lenders.

Read more:http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/id=1202669378296/Businesses-Relying-On-International-Lenders-Private-Equity#ixzz3CzyDCQyQ

Restaurants rank as top industry, Gallup Poll says! Print
Thursday, 11 September 2014 09:35

Restaurant.org -A majority of Americans have a favorable view of the restaurant business, according to a new Gallup poll. In fact, restaurants topped the list of business sectors and industries in this annual survey.

Gallup’s latestWork and Education poll, conducted Aug. 7-10, observed Americans’ perceptions of the restaurant industry and 23 other business sectors, plus the federal government. With a net positive response of 60, the restaurant industry outperformed the computer industry by four percentage points. The computer industry has topped the list since the restaurant industry last held that spot in 2007. Overall, this was restaurants’ most favorable year since the poll was first conducted in 2001.

“Restaurants are the 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.” Continue

Menu Engineering - Tips to higher profits! Print
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 12:11

Many Restaurateurs possess an undying passion for their business and rely upon skills such as creativity, communications and a great service approach.  Sadly there remains the “red-headed” step-child known as operations often overlooked since it’s not sexy or flashy such as a new culinary creation or hyped-up marketing campaign.

          Chief among these operational “devil-in-the-details” is optimizing sales through analytics.  The menu is the single most important sales and marketing communications tool for any restaurant and needs to be much more than just a “list” of offerings.  The format of your menu often can drive sales of low contribution margin items and drag sales of high contribution margin items depending entirely upon the location of the menu items and equally important their category.

          A recent analysis of a clients’ tri-fold menu determined that although they are a casual dining operation with a full menu, guests were primarily ordering sandwiches and soups (at over 70% of sales) while higher profits items such as appetizers, desserts and some beverages were a combined less than 20% of sales.  This imbalance in the sales mix can contribute to a diminishing contribution margin over time.  Their sales data suggests that guests’ perception of the operation was of a casual, sandwich and soup shop that is primarily an option for lunch.

          We discovered it was the location within the menu that was driving the sales imbalance of the top two menu sales categories.  Furthermore the sandwich category had a combined food cost of 37% while the entrée category had a combined food cost of 26% suggesting an increase of entrée sales could drop more to their bottom line over time.  Combined with the operators desire to have a better balance to their sales mix across the menu we suggested to re-direct the sales mix through menu engineering.

          Simply put menu engineering is the practice of creating a menu format, layout and design appropriate to the operation that will deliver a sales mix of menu items that will maximize the sale of high contribution margin items.   From our list of suggestions it appears the best option for this operator may be to use two menu formats, one for lunch and another for dinner.

          The lunch menu option is a single page format with items listed on the front and back.  Categories and items within them will be arranged to drive sales of high contribution margin items and slow the drag of high food cost items on sales.  The dinner menu option is a single-fold ‘book style’ menu format that offers information about the concept and boilerplate information on the front cover while the interior pages will be dedicated to the major menu categories.  The back cover will host beverages, sides and details on catering.  Focusing the major menu categories on the two interior pages, in the appropriate manner, will assist in driving sales of lower food cost items with a higher contribution margin.

          In conclusion while Menu Engineering is a science, it’s not “rocket science” and so may be applied by restaurateurs within any food service segment and volume level.  For single-unit operators this practice is even more important as smaller operations may not have the volume of multiple-unit or chains and therefore need to render as much revenue as possible from every sale.

          The Menu Spring is a food and beverage focused consulting group located near Tampa, Florida.  Their core capabilities include culinary and operations consulting from concept development through consumer food trends research.  Each client is treated with individual care on a case-by-case basis with a focus on their needs and goals.  Should you desire to learn more please review the information at their website: www.themenuspring.com .

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 September 2014 12:13
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