Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
June 2, 2009

Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
FER E&S Market Forecast Meetings
NRA Restaurant Performance Index Jumps In April
When Will Economy Turn? Green Shoots Beginning To Sprout
Real Foodservice Operator Sales To Contract 5% in 2009, Technomic Forecasts
Technomic Top 500 Chain Study Charts Challenges, Successes
FER Sets Aug. 5 For Annual President's Preview Forecast Seminar

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
NSF Bestows Food Safety Awards
Chipotle New-Unit Openings On Track
Heartland Food Corp. Buys 20 Burger Kings
Hurricane Grill Spreads Expansion Wings
Ace Mart's Norm Gustafson Passes

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In This Section:
Santa Monica Reviewing Outdoor, Indoor Design Standards
N.Y. Governor Proposes Statewide Menu Labeling
Beer Capital Of America Nixes Public-Area Smoking

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: FER E&S Market Forecast Meetings 
Industry Report Sponsor: Food&HotelVietnam2009 
Regulatory Report Manitowoc Foodservice

Santa Monica Reviewing Outdoor, Indoor Design Standards
If you've got an outdoor-dining operation in Santa Monica, Calif., you might want to keep an eye on how the city's planning and development office wrestles with the notion of indoor vs. outdoor definitions and requirements.

It seems that while all restaurants can set up opaque barriers of up to 3' 6 in height to separate a dining area from the pedestrian traffic, stores in at least one windy district facing the beach corridor can add a 2' transparent wall or retractable windscreen on top of that. Any higher, however, and the city's standards say it's an indoor dining area, and then you have to meet indoor standards.

Recent complaints alleging some windscreens were extending higher than the limit to further shield diners from the breeze in cooler months prompted the city to send warning letters to violators.

Another bone of contention has to do with rules governing use of patio umbrellas in some parts of the city.

A local management company that oversees businesses in the downtown area has asked the city to suspend enforcement while the rules are being reviewed.


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

N.Y. Governor Proposes Statewide Menu Labeling
Not to be outdone by neighboring states Massachusetts and Connecticut, New York's Governor David Paterson announced in late May he was proposing legislation to impose statewide posting of calorie counts on menus of restaurant chains and other businesses. The chairman of the state's Senate Health Committee, Thomas Duane, said he supports the proposal and is likely to sponsor related legislation though he already sponsors a similar bill.

Paterson's proposed legislation would take rules already in effect in New York City a step further by requiring calorie posting on menus at convenience and grocery store chains in addition to restaurants. The law would affect chains with 15 or more units nationwide with standardized menu items.

New York State Restaurant Association CEO Rick Sampson said the proposal would cause confusion rather than eliminate it because it would allow local laws to impose different rules about what nutrition information must be posted. The NYSRA wants to see a uniform standard applied across the state, he said.

Paterson's proposed legislation joins another bill to eliminate trans fat in restaurants statewide, part of his war on obesity.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Beer Capital Of America Nixes Public-Area Smoking
There's something ironic about the nation's beer center banning smoking in bars among other places, but there you have it. After years of wrangling, the Wisconsin legislature has finally passed a statewide smoking law banning the practice in all indoor public places except cigar bars, tobacco stores and casinos, which are on sovereign Native American territory. Lawmakers compromised with the Wisconsin Tavern League, delaying the bill's effective start date to July 5, 2010. That will give the League's 5,000 mom-and-pop tavern members, along with the state's restaurants, hotels and bowling alleys, time to adjust to the ban.

When the ban is implemented, scofflaw smokers will be subject to fines of $100 to $250. Bars will be able to avoid fines even if smokers light up as long as the establishment takes proper steps to discourage smoking such as removing ashtrays and posting signs.

Surrounding states Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota already have put smoking bans in place, putting pressure on others bordering them. The city of St. Louis now also is considering a smoking ban, but the bill's sponsor says it won't happen unless the county passes its own ordinance to stamp out butts in public places outside the city limits.

The proposed ordinance in St. Louis would ban smoking in all public places, including restaurants, bars, stadiums and casinos, except a percentage of hotel rooms, private clubs and tobacco stores. Violators could be fined $50, and businesses that tolerate them could be penalized up to $500.

Missouri has a statewide clean air law that prohibits smoking in public places, but allows businesses to create separate smoking areas and doesn't consider stadiums, bars, restaurants with under 50 seats, bowling alleys and certain other venues public places. Communities in the state have been deciding on their own whether to enact stricter anti-smoking laws.

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