Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly
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Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
March 11, 2008








Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Manitowoc
Foodservice Group

Public E&S Companies Post Strong Growth In Fourth Quarter
NRA's Performance Index Nudges Upward, Expectations Rise
Soaring Commodity Prices Raise Fears Of Stagflation
Consumer Confidence Drops To Recession Levels
Foodservice Equipment Reports Revised 2008 E&S Market Forecast Available

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
Server Products
NAFEM Elects New Officers, Directors
FIA Seminar To Focus On Fighting Commoditization
Sterilox Honored With NSF Food Safety Award
Dunkin' Donuts Completes Oven Rollout
NSF Names Tong To Head Food Safety Division



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In This Section:
Boston To Weigh Trans Fat Ban This Week
Forget Trans Fat; Calories Are The New Tobacco
ICC Wraps Up Latest Code Development Cycle
Miami Beach May Limit Restaurant Seating
Forget Trans Fat, Calories; Tobacco Is Still Tobacco

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: Manitowoc Foodservice Group 
Industry Report Sponsor: Server Products
Regulatory Report Enodis

Boston To Weigh Trans Fat Ban This Week
By now everyone knows trans fat is bad for you. Ever since scientists made that finding clear and suppliers started providing alternative products, the restaurant industry has been making the switch voluntarily.

Cities, counties and states still feel the need to legislate the change, however, with Boston the next big city expected to pass a ban. (Neighboring Brookline already has one.)

A public hearing on the proposed Boston ordinance is scheduled for 3-4 p.m., Thurs., March 13, in the second-floor Haynes Conference Room at the Boston Public Health Commission at 1010 Massachusetts Ave. Whether you can or can't make the meeting, you can also submit written comments to: Boston Public Health Commission, Board Office, Attn: Julie Webster, 1010 Massachusetts Ave., 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02218 or by e-mail at boardofhealth@bphc.org.

 

Section sponsored by Enodis

Forget Trans Fat; Calories Are The New Tobacco
Reviled as trans fat is these days, the bigger villain appears to be calories in general. In fact, the little energy units now are about as unpopular as tobacco smoke.

In the latest episode of an ongoing battle, last month the New York State Restaurant Association returned to court to argue again against New York City's new regulation requiring chains (more than 15 units nationwide) to post calorie counts on menus. This time the association was arguing on First Amendment grounds.

Facing the same federal judge who opened the door for NYC's second attempt at policing chains' menu boards, lawyers for the NYSRA argued the law forces restaurants to put a message on their menus—compelling speech in a way that presumably would be as illegal as prohibiting speech. More specifically, some experts say, many operators don't object to posting the information, but they object to being told exactly where and how. The judge stated a decision would be announced before the scheduled effective date of March 31.

Operators in San Francisco face a similar regulation proposed by the city council. There, however, a chain is defined as a company with 14 or more stores in the state. King County, Wash., already has passed its own version, which takes effect in August. All told, there are more than a dozen states and cities with pending legislation to make you post calorie counts. (For a map, go to www.restaurant.org/government/state/nutrition/resources/menu_labeling_map.pdf.)

What has many in the industry scratching their heads is whether calories in a chain restaurant are any different from calories elsewhere. And, of course, which calories are bad.


Section sponsored by Enodis

ICC Wraps Up Latest Code Development Cycle
The International Code Council finished up final action hearings in Palm Springs, Calif., March 2, in its latest round of code changes. The ICC's code development cycle is an 18-month consensus process that evaluates and updates provisions in 13 different codes, including fire, mechanical, plumbing, building, maintenance and specialty.

Results of the hearings have been posted daily on the ICC Web site at www.iccsafe.org. Actions taken during the hearings are coded to indicate whether they're approved as submitted, approved with modifications, disapproved, approved or disapproved in hearings by assembly floor action or withdrawn.

All final actions will be published in the 2009 edition of the ICC standards. But you can get the sneak peek now at www.iccsafe.org.


Section sponsored by Enodis

Miami Beach May Limit Restaurant Seating
A proposed ordinance first reported in FER Fortnightly's Dec. 18 edition has now advanced to being considered by Miami Beach, Fla., city commissioners. The new ordinance would limit restaurant seating in the South of Fifth neighborhood, also known as South Pointe.

City zoning code doesn't allow standalone restaurants there, but it does allow "accessory" restaurants in hotels, and those restaurants that serve alcohol are limited to maximum occupancy of 299 people. Currently, however, some allege that restaurants are outgrowing their host hotels, becoming primary businesses, and they're getting too loud for the mainly residential neighborhood.

City Commissioner Richard Steinberg cited an example of an eight-room hotel housing an 80-seat steakhouse, saying "accessory use was becoming the main use." The new rule would limit seating based on the number of rooms in the hotel, and limit restaurant occupancy to 150% of the number of seats.

The ordinance goes to a vote March 12.


Section sponsored by Enodis

Forget Trans Fat, Calories; Tobacco Is Still Tobacco
Though more headlines these days are about trans-fat bans, smokers and smoking continue to face a losing battle in most of the country as more states and localities pass clean-air ordinances banning smoking in public places.

Oklahoma, for example, which passed a clean-air law in 2003, is revisiting it now. A new bill in the state legislature would tighten the smoking ban and include restaurants and bars, formerly exempt. They had until '06 to provide separately ventilated smoking areas. Under the new bill smokers would only be able to light up in casinos on reservations.

Other areas considering anti-smoking legislation include Monogolia, Marion and Harrison counties in West Virginia, as well as numerous other jurisdictions around the country. Numerous stories updating the lists of smoking bans continue to languish unpublished in FER Fortnightly repositories.

But there are a few bright spots for die-hard smokers. Virginia just killed four bills in the Senate that proposed different and varied degrees of prohibition. And Mt. Prospect, Ill., is following the lead set by fellow Chicago suburbs Waukegan and Schaumburg, considering a measure that would allow restaurants to erect smoking shelters for patrons so they can light up outside in inclement weather. The Mt. Prospect village board said it would likely vote on the proposal some time in March.



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