Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly
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Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
May 18, 2010








Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Henny Penny
Public-Company E&S Sales Continue To Improve
Forecasts For The U.S. Economy Improve Again
Employment Trends Turn Positive, Surprising Some Economists
Are McDonald's April U.S. Sales Gains Another Sign Of Recovery?

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
A.J. Antunes & Co.
McCormick Place Exhibitors To Get "Bill of Rights"
Dunkin' Returns To Russia
Bruegger's Plans Redesign Bent On Lounging
Rubio's To Change Hands
FHA2010 Reports Record Turnout
Conveyor Vet Freer Joins Middleby



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In This Section:
NRA Pushes Permanent Tax Provisions
Trans Fats A Big Deal In Canada
Happy Meals Earn A Frown
Philly, Pittsburgh Debate Café Rules

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

NRA Pushes Permanent Tax Provisions
The National Restaurant Association is making its case to Congress for several tax provisions it said are critical to the restaurant industry and to the growth of small businesses. Dave Koenig, the association's director of tax and profitability, testified in early May at a House subcommittee meeting. He encouraged Congress to make permanent specific tax provisions due to expire, including accelerated 15-year depreciation schedules for leasehold improvements, restaurant improvements, and new construction and retail improvements, as well as the charitable deduction for the donation of food inventory. Additionally, Koenig asked that Congress increase the business meal deduction to 80% from its current level
of 50%.

The NRA supports the retroactive extension through the end of 2010 of the 15-year depreciation schedule. Bipartisan legislation was introduced in December 2009 that would make the 15-year depreciation schedule permanent. The charitable deduction for food donation to charitable organizations helps offset the costs associated with storage and transportation. Companion bills have been introduced in the Senate for this and the boost in business-meal deductions.

For information on the proposals, click www.restaurant.org

 

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Trans Fats A Big Deal In Canada
Now that a voluntary two-year program to reduce trans fats has ended—with results showing little change—a regulatory option is on the table in Canada to reduce the amount of the artery-clogging ingredient in processed foods and restaurant dishes. In June 2007, Health Canada--the federal department charged with helping Canadians maintain their health--announced that the food and restaurant industries had two years to meet trans-fats reduction targets, set at no more than 2% trans fat in the fat content of vegetable oils and spreadable margarine and 5% in all other foods, or face regulations. The numbers have fallen short; at fast-food and family restaurants, only 59% of chicken products and 78% of French fries meet the
trans-fat targets.

Health Canada has been under increasing pressure from the restaurant industry to abandon the voluntary approach and enforce the cuts through law. At government hearings held earlier this month in Ottawa, the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association requested regulations as a means to level the playing field with food processors.

According to CRFA testimony, without federal guidelines over the food processors and suppliers, local governments are targeting operators to reduce trans fats. Since these jurisdictions have authority only over restaurants, the foodservice industry is singled out to reduce trans-fat levels while food processors have been given a free pass. Creating and enforcing regulations will be complicated, according to Samuel Godefroy, director general of Health Canada's food directorate. He said putting such guidelines in place could take time as replacements for trans fats are assessed to ensure no unintended health consequences. The government also needs to determine the impact on trade agreements of regulating the levels of trans fats in food products for sale in Canada, including imported goods.

For more information, click www.hc-sc.gc.ca


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Happy Meals Earn A Frown
Mayor McCheese has yet to comment, but it looks like Happy Meal toys are on their way out in one California city. In April, the governing body in the Silicon Valley city of Santa Clara decided to tackle the problem of childhood obesity by banning restaurants from offering toys with children's meals unless the food meets specific nutritional standards. Even though it's largely symbolic—the proposed ban would apply only to the dozen or so fast-food restaurants within the jurisdiction of the board—the ban is making headlines around the world.

While other cities, states and school boards have also taken aim at changing the types of foods aimed at youngsters and the way they are cooked and sold, the targets have generally been excessive sugar, salt and certain types of fats. Believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, the proposal would forbid the inclusion of a toy in any restaurant meal that has more than 485 calories, more than 600 mg of salt or high amounts of sugar or fat. In the case of McDonald's, the limits would include all of the chain's Happy Meals, including those featuring apple slices instead of French fries.

McDonald's is not commenting on the proposed ban, but the California Restaurant Association is playing a vocal role in the opposition. The toys won't disappear right away. The board has put off implementing the measure for 90 days, to give the restaurant industry time to come up with a voluntary program for improving the nutritional value of children's meals.

California is often the first state in the nation with foodservice legislation on health and the environment. Two years ago, Santa Clara introduced mandatory fast-food nutrition labeling. The labeling, which dictates clear display of the fat content and calorie count of every food item, was later introduced in New York and across California, and is contained in the new national healthcare bill. More information on the toy ban proposal can be found at www.calrest.org www.scgov.org


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Philly, Pittsburgh Debate Café Rules
Does sidewalk dining inflict undue stress on pedestrians? In Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, it's giving restaurateurs a headache.

In Philadelphia, operators are contending with conflicting city and state regulations on where tables are allowed. State liquor regulations maintain that restaurants can serve alcohol only at tables adjacent to their buildings—not curbside. But operators who pull their tables closer to their buildings and away from the curbs are running afoul of a city regulation requiring a 5'-gap for pedestrians to pass by. The Philadelphia Streets Dept. has served notice that it will strictly enforce the regulation. Until the state issues regulations that satisfy everyone, it will be a balancing act for pedestrians, restaurants, customers and servers.

In Pittsburgh, a consortium of downtown operators in the city's newly remodeled Market Square area wants to change the rules for sidewalk cafes. The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is asking the city's zoning board to allow operators to eliminate barriers now required in front of cafés. Citing storage issues, they also want permission for operators to leave tables and chairs outside rather than bringing them in at night. Finally, encouraged by the space afforded by the area's newly enlarged sidewalks, the group wants cafés to spread out over more than half the sidewalks while maintaining access for passersby with disabilities.

Both cities expect decisions before the summer season.



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