Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
March 10, 2009

Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Restaurant Performance Index Up In January
Operator Traffic Falls In Q4, NPD Says
U.S. GDP Much Worse Than Expected In Q4

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
Hotelex Shanghai
FCSI Gets New Worldwide Digs
Cold Stone, Tim Hortons Plan More Co-Branding Tests
Carl’s Jr. Debuts Eco-Friendly Prototype
NRA Names 2009 K. I. Award Recipients
Hotelex Shanghai 2009 Set To Go

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In This Section:
In Tough Times, Charleston Loosens Rules
California Adopts Plan To Fight Global Warming
Toronto, Twin Cities Take On Trans Fat—Maybe
Dublin Operators Face FOG Fee
Oklahoma, Indiana Consider Teeth In Smoking Bills

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: Food&HotelVietnam2009  
Industry Report Sponsor: Hotelex Shanghai 
Regulatory Report Manitowoc Foodservice

In Tough Times, Charleston Loosens Rules
Arguing that businesses need a break in tough economic times, the Charleston, S.C., city council recently made it easier and less expensive for restaurants to operate sidewalk seating areas and waived a ban on electronic signs advertising hotels.

The new rules eliminate requirements established by the council five years ago that called for a $500 damage deposit and annual user fees for sidewalk dining. The fees ranged into the thousands of dollars depending on the size and location of the restaurant.

Still in effect is a $200 application fee, but the council extended sidewalk-seating hours an extra hour, to midnight, theoretically making it easier to earn back that application fee.

In the same council meeting, members voted to change city zoning to allow hotels at the junction of two major highways to use electronic signs to advertise. Mayor Joe Riley noted the change was a special exception—electronic signs are still banned elsewhere in the city.


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

California Adopts Plan To Fight Global Warming
In a move that has implications not only for foodservice but for everyone doing anything in California, the state has become the first in the union to formally adopt a plan to address climate change. The California Air Resources Board recently voted on a program of specific actions that will help the state meet the goals of its 2006 climate change law. The landmark statute calls for the state to reduce global warming gases to 1990 levels by 2020.

CARB said its global warming plan is a balanced mix of strategies including a cap-and-trade program covering 85% of the state's emissions, expansion of proven energy-efficiency programs, new clean-car standards, more investment in alternative energy and a new low-carbon fuel standard that will make fuels used in the state cleaner. Greenhouse-gas recovery programs that help capture harmful industrial gases like refrigerants also are part of the plan.

You can check out the full scope of the plan at

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Toronto, Twin Cities Take On Trans Fat—Maybe
Lawmakers continue to take trans fat to the mat despite foodservice's massive voluntary shift over the past few years to trans fat-free cooking oils. Now Toronto and Minneapolis/St. Paul are weighing their options on regulating the "bad" stuff.

To date, Toronto has relied on a two-year voluntary program enacted by Health Canada to encourage restaurant operators to switch to products that don't contain trans fat. That program expires this summer, so Toronto is conducting a survey to determine what percentage of restaurants have actually made the switch. Depending on the prevalence of products still containing trans fat, Toronto's city council may enact a ban on its own.

Similarly, city councils of both Minneapolis and adjacent St. Paul, Minn., are looking into ordinances that would ban restaurants from using cooking oils and products containing trans fat. As in most other places that have enacted similar laws, the bans would be phased in, affecting cooking oils first and baked goods later.

The Twin Cities also are considering menu-labeling ordinances. Proposed laws would require chains with 15 or more units to post calorie counts on menus and menu boards. The menu-labeling movement has spread recently to entire states, including, most recently, Indiana and West Virginia.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Dublin Operators Face FOG Fee
You think you've got it bad when it comes to grease-trap fees? Some large hotel operators could pay as much as €1,370 a year, according to John Power from the Irish Hotel Federation.

The Dublin city council recently enacted a fats, oils and grease program to help the city keeps its sewers free of clogs. The FOG plan says all foodservice establishments must install a properly sized grease trap or grease removal system. The one-time application fee is €380, and annual fees are based on how much grease goes down an operator's drain.

The city says the fees are necessary to help offset the cost of the third-party consulting company it's hired to do inspections. Compliance Consulting will inspect each facility four times a year to make sure grease traps are being cleaned and emptied and will offer tips and best management practices.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Oklahoma, Indiana Consider Teeth In Smoking Bills
Bills pending in both house and senate committees in Oklahoma would put more teeth into the anti-smoking legislation the state legislature passed in 2003. Bill sponsors want to eliminate the exemptions in the '03 law for restaurants with separate smoking areas and stand-alone bars. Backers say recent polls indicate public support for the measures. A Wilson Research Strategies poll conducted in January found 59% of Oklahomans want smoke-free restaurants and more than two-thirds support the right of employees to a smoke-free workplace.

Over in Indiana, meanwhile, anti-smoking legislation working its way through the state's house panel lost all its teeth recently when legislators amended the bill to exempt bars and casinos. Proponents of the original bill, including its sponsor, said its intent was to level the playing field for operators in addition to providing a healthier smoke-free environment for employees and patrons alike. The watered-down version prohibits smoking in all workplaces except bars and establishments that serve alcohol if they prohibit entrance to anyone under 18. That would mean restaurants would have to choose between catering to smokers or families with children.

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