Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly
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Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
April 10, 2007








Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
The NAFEM Show 2007
NRA's February Performance Index Edges Up; Outlook Good
Consumer Sentiment Slides To Six-Month Low
Wheel Of (Purchasing) Fortune Keeps Spinning

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
Server Products
Food Companies Among ENERGY STAR 2007 Winners
Holman Cooking Equipment Founder Passes
Foodservice Industry Mourns Pacifico
Carl's Jr. Franchisee Uses Fry Oil As Biofuel
T.G.I. Friday's Bucks Bigger Is Better Trend



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In This Section:
N.Y. Senator Wants Letter Grades For Restaurants
Fair Franchising Laws Proposed In Kansas, Tennessee
R.I. Businesses Want To Change Fire Code
Toilet Paper: We Need A Law For This?
Trans Fat Debate Still A Weighty Issue In Many Locales

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: The NAFEM Show 2007 
Industry Report Sponsor: Server Products
Regulatory Report Lincoln Foodservice Products Inc./Enodis

N.Y. Senator Wants Letter Grades For Restaurants
You might be seeing a change in how New York State handles its health inspection postings. Then again, maybe not.

Once again, New York State Senate Majority Leader Jeff Klein is pushing letter grades for New York City restaurants. In the aftermath of a video news report of rats in one restaurant, and an ensuing inspection blitz, Klein did some digging of his own.

After he updated a 2005 report analyzing the inspection records of a portion of the city's restaurants, he said he's decided the health department needs to issue letter grades so the public can easily determine which restaurants have passed inspections and are therefore safe.

Trouble is, health department spokesperson Andrew Tucker said the city's existing reporting system is a better way of informing consumers about a restaurant's sanitary conditions.

The health department presently posts results of restaurant inspections online at www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/home/home.shtml. The detailed reports explain any violations and distinguish between critical and non-critical infractions. Consumers also can see how restaurants have responded to citations. Tucker also pointed out that restaurants with failing scores are closed.

 

Fair Franchising Laws Proposed In Kansas, Tennessee
Hard on the heels of fair franchising legislation pending in Massachusetts, comparable bills have been introduced in Kansas and Tennessee. Though the two are somewhat different, both bills promote franchise agreements that favor franchisees.

The International Franchise Association's V.P. of Government Affairs David French says IFA opposes the two bills and has notified its membership, but isn't actively lobbying to defeat them.

The National Franchisee Association, which represents Burger King franchisees, is pushing support for the legislation. NFA Executive Director Frank Capaldo put together a grid comparison of proposed bills in Kansas and Massachusetts. Click here to see the comparison.

R.I. Businesses Want To Change Fire Code
Rhode Island, of all places, may follow North Carolina's lead and roll back fire codes. Changed in 2003 in reaction to a nightclub fire in West Warwick that killed 100, Rhode Island's fire code is one of the toughest in the nation. Dozens of states followed suit and enacted some or all of the changes a Rhode Island commission recommended to the state building standards commission and even the International Building Code.

Businesses in Rhode Island testified recently before a House committee, however, that the laws are now too tough. Restaurants, not just nightclubs, now must install sprinkler systems, and many operators say the cost is killing their businesses. Robert Correira, owner of the West Valley Inn, West Warwick, testified that the latest estimate for sprinklers there was $400,000.

The committee meets again this week to resume discussions on what, if anything, should be changed in the new fire code.

Toilet Paper: We Need A Law For This?
Some Florida restaurant must have done something to really chap Victor Crist. Like not put enough toilet tissue in the restroom. The state senator has sponsored a bill that would require restaurants to keep enough toilet paper onhand or face the consequences—a possible fine (and suspension of license if accompanied by enough critical violations).

The bill received unanimous approval in a health regulation committee and now is in a senate regulated industries committee.

A house version also is making its way through committees. Common sense suggests that you'll put an extra roll in every stall, or at least have employees check once in a while. Florida legislators apparently don't agree.

Trans Fat Debate Still A Weighty Issue In Many Locales
The fun of living in a democracy is watching it at work on weighty issues like whether or not to ban trans fat from restaurant menus. Twelve states, according to the National Restaurant Association, have legislation pending that would require restaurants to stop using fats and oils containing trans fat and/or to post information on menus about which products contain trans fat and how much.

But local lawmakers have gotten just as caught up in the debate as state and federal legislators. The Los Angeles city council recently decided against a ban, but a California state bill is still wending its way through committees. Maryland's state legislature defeated a proposed ban in favor of studying what the industry does, but an ordinance was just introduced to the Montgomery County council that would ban trans fat there.

Both New York and Philadelphia have bans, and Cleveland is thinking about one, but only New York State has state legislation pending. Portland, Ore., is considering a ban this year, but county commissioners in Multnomah County, Ore., backed off a ban in favor of a consumer education program. Likewise, a working group in the New Hampshire House voted last month to change language in a proposed restaurant trans fat bill to instead require the state board of education to come up with a policy regulating trans fat in schools.

Confused? While the smartest course of action likely is a switch to trans fat-free frying oils, you can keep track of legislation on the NRA's website at www.restaurant.org/government/issues/.




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