Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
January 20, 2010

Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Henny Penny
Are Things Starting To Look Up A Bit?
U.S. Foodservice Traffic Declines Steepest Of Wide Group
NRA To Release 2010 Industry Forecast This Week
FER To Present Revised E&S Forecast At MUFES

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
A.J. Antunes & Co.
McDonald's Taps Thompson As New President
NakedPizza Announces 50-Unit Deal For South Florida
Wendy's Debuts First Of 35 Singapore Units
Brinker Opens In Saudi Arabia, Sets Global Expansion Goal
Applebee's Hits 2,000-Unit Milestone

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In This Section:
Philadelphia's Menu Boards Fill Up
NYC Sets Voluntary Targets For Reducing Sodium
City May Trade Parking For Better Sidewalk Seating
Cleveland Code Compliance Goes Online
Shades Of Footloose: City Bars Dancing In Restaurant

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: Henny Penny 
Industry Report Sponsor: A.J. Antunes & Co. 
Regulatory Report Manitowoc Foodservice

Philadelphia's Menu Boards Fill Up
Mandatory menu labeling arrived in Philadelphia effective Jan.1, and the law's even tougher than the ones on the books in California and New York City, where restaurants are required to post calorie counts on menu boards. In Philadelphia, chain restaurants with 15 or more units nationwide also must change their printed menus to list levels of fat, sodium and carbohydrates to provide customers at-hand information prior to ordering.

The Pennsylvania Restaurant Association lobbied the city council to limit the amount of required information; meanwhile, other restaurant groups suggested putting the required information on separate brochures or online instead of on the menus. More than 700 chain restaurants will need to post the nutritional information along with the price of each menu item. Restaurants have a grace period to comply, but must post calorie counts on menu boards by Feb. 1. Other information, such as salt content, will be required on printed menus by April 1.

A similar bill won final legislative approval in New Jersey on Jan. 11; the bill would require chain restaurants in the Garden State to post the number of calories in a product right next to the listing for that product on a menu or a menu board. Chains with 20 or more locations nationwide will be affected. The bill would also require that information on saturated and trans fat, carbohydrates and sodium content of food be provided to customers upon request. The bill, pending the governor's signature, would give chain operators a year to comply after the law is passed.

If the bill is signed by outgoing Gov. Jon Corzine, New Jersey would become the fifth state to require menu labeling. California, Maine, Massachusetts and Oregon have similar laws.


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

NYC Sets Voluntary Targets For Reducing Sodium
First it was trans fats. Then it was calorie counts. This month, New York City and its mayor are addressing another pressing health concern: salt, or more specifically, sodium.

For years, health experts have been counseling people to eat less sodium, which experts say causes high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes, and now pressure is building to tighten sodium restrictions on food makers and foodservice operators. Against that backdrop, New York has announced voluntary sodium-reduction targets for restaurants and food makers. The long-term goal is to lower Americans' salt intake by at least 20% by 2014. The city's health department is coordinating its efforts with the nationwide National Salt Reduction Initiative.

Americans consume roughly twice the recommended limit of salt each day, and the American Heart Association says the main culprits are foodservice operators and food companies, not table salt. Almost 80% of sodium consumed by Americans is added as a flavoring or preservative to packaged and restaurant foods, health-industry experts estimate. During the next 10 years, the AHA would like restaurants to reduce by 50% the sodium added to foods. The NSRI has developed specific targets to help companies reduce the salt levels in 61 categories of packaged food and 25 classes of restaurant food.

The NSRI is modeled on a similar program initiated several years ago in the United Kingdom, where food makers have reduced salt levels by 40% or more in some products.

Many food-industry executives also expect the U.S. government's Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee this year to recommend that Americans consume less sodium than it recommended in 2005.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

City May Trade Parking For Better Sidewalk Seating
San Luis Obispo, Calif., is considering a change in the rules governing sidewalk cafés and parking in its downtown area. The city passed an ordinance back in 2000 to encourage more sidewalk seating at downtown restaurants, but few took the city up on its offer. The only restaurants to have outdoor seating, it seems, have been those who put it on private property. City fees were a little steep.

As a result of a recent complaint that brought the situation to light, the city has proposed changes to both its sidewalk café and parking regulations. The city planning staff recommends that the application fee for sidewalk seating be reduced and other fees waived entirely, but it wants to up the sidewalk rental fee to $1.00/sq. ft., increased from 66 cents. To sweeten the pot, the planning staff suggests waiving the requirement for parking spaces based on expanded seating. Fees for parking spaces are $17,000 per space.

The city says what it loses in parking space fees it should more than make up in tax revenue from restaurants doing increased business from sidewalk seating.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Cleveland Code Compliance Goes Online
Operators are used to having their menus checked online, but now prospective customers are checking in to see if their favorite restaurants have passed current health-code inspections. Cleveland is the latest metropolis to put the power in the public's hands.

The city's public health department launched its online food-inspection report service this month with a searchable database of reports for more than 3,000 restaurants, grocery stores and other food establishments. By state law, all of these operations must be inspected at least once a year to ensure compliance with all laws and regulations. The web-based retrieval system includes recent inspections from mid-2009 to the present. Check it out at:

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Shades Of Footloose: City Bars Dancing In Restaurant
Proving that it's six degrees separated from Kevin Bacon, the city of Portsmouth, N.H., reached a settlement barring a local restaurant's patrons from doing the boogaloo, or any other dance for that matter. The restaurant's owner even agreed to take measures such as bolting tables to the floor so patrons can't clear them aside in a fit of Saturday night fever.

Seems the city sued the restaurant back in November because patrons were dancing in a basement bar area, which classified the joint as a nightclub. Nightclubs, per state fire code, are required to have sprinkler systems. The restaurant didn't have one, ergo, the lawsuit. The city was concerned that "allowing nightclub dancing in an unsprinklered basement creates a risk of personal injury and death for patrons of The Page in the event of a fire," according to the suit.

The owner denies wrongdoing despite the settlement. The restaurant never promoted itself as a dance club, the restaurant's John Dussi said. "Sometimes people move tables aside and wiggle their bodies, but we've never promoted it. We're a restaurant that has entertainment, including music."

Music is a dangerous thing in Portsmouth, apparently.

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