Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly
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Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
June 19, 2007








Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Manitowoc Foodservice Group
Shameless Promo Dept.: FER Forecast Meeting Dates Set
Most Economic Fundamentals 'Solid,' U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Economist Tells MAFSI
Blue Chip Forecast Slips Again, But Improvement Coming

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
FER E&S Market Forecast Meetings
Cassin, Motes Among MAFSI Honorees; Reilly New President
Boelter Wins Wisconsin Business Award
News From Road To Atlanta Charity Ride
McDonald's Goes Online For Food Safety Training



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In This Section:
Illinois Weighs Freezing Consumers Vs. Freezing Rates
Don't Let That Door Hit You On The Way Out
Massachusetts May Revert To Consensus Standards
Dallas Rules Make Doggie Dining Doggone Tough

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: Manitowoc Foodservice Group 
Industry Report Sponsor: FER E&S Market Forecast Meetings
Regulatory Report Delfield Co./Enodis

Illinois Weighs Freezing Consumers Vs. Freezing Rates
Two bills intended to freeze electric rates in Illinois at 2006 levels were still stuck in debates pending a vote scheduled for this past Friday. No vote happened.

Senate bill 1592 and House bill 1750 have both wended their ways through committees and several readings as legislators try to find a compromise.

Illinois deregulated utilities in 1997, but as part of the restructuring of the power industry, the legislature enacted a 10-year rate freeze. When the law expired on Dec. 31 last year, the state's two biggest power companies, Commonwealth Edison and Ameren, raised rates as much as 170%, shocking consumers and businesses with a different sort of jolt.

Outraged lawmakers ponied up bills to try to roll rates back to '06 levels and effectively freeze them there before power company customers freeze from inability to pay. Both ComEd and Ameren say they're losing money and claim a rate freeze would send them into bankruptcy. They're resisting a new power generation tax that's being debated, and have offered $500 million in rate relief to customers.

Its regular spring session over, the legislature is now into overtime to resolve the crisis. Stay tuned for the results of the vote.

 

Section sponsored by Delfield Co./Enodis

Don't Let That Door Hit You On The Way Out
Hot on the heels of Florida's crackdown on restroom doors with humorously misleading signage, Massachusetts state rep James Vallee has a bill in committee that would require public bathrooms to have doors that open outward.

Seems Vallee's National Guard buddy put a bug in his ear during a training session, saying he was fed up with grabbing a bathroom doorknob "some guy just had his (unsanitary) hand all over."

The bill (HB 3258) would apply only to new construction, according to Vallee. Existing restaurants would not have to rehang their doors or remove doorknobs.

Is that a collective sigh of relief we hear from the Bay State?


Section sponsored by Delfield Co./Enodis

Massachusetts May Revert To Consensus Standards
Back in September we told you about the Massachusetts Board of State Examiners of Plumbers & Gas Fitters taking it upon itself to deem foodservice equipment subject to board approval. The board decided that the way the rules are written in the state, licensed plumbers and gas fitters under its purview must used pre-approved fittings. It wanted equipment manufacturers to go through a fee-based approval process rather than simply relying on consensus standards issued by independent labs like UL, CSA and NSF.

The move was widely criticized by industry as a tactic focused more on revenue generation than on anything else.

Fortunately, a state representative has stepped in with a bill to add language to the law that would permit the use of consensus standards. Rep. Mary E. Grant suggested the law ought to say "where national standards exist for a plumbing or gas fitting product, prior approval of a product under national standards shall be acceptable to the examiners as the required product-approval."

A public hearing on the bill was scheduled May 29. No word yet on the outcome.


Section sponsored by Delfield Co./Enodis

Dallas Rules Make Doggie Dining Doggone Tough
So you thought it'd be good to cater to a pet-oriented clientele? In Dallas, at least, there might be a flea in the soup.

In January dog-friendly operators were happy to see the Dallas city council approve a doggie-dining ordinance. But in practice, letting dogs into outdoor dining areas has proven more difficult than most bargained for.

In deference to health department concerns, the city's ordinance spells out some restrictions to having man's best friend join him for dinner. Outdoor patios have to be accessible through a separate entrance so dogs don't walk through the restaurant; patios have to be cleaned every 30 minutes if dogs are present; and food and beverages can't be prepared outdoors.

All of which sort of takes the fun and profit out. But the deal-killer for most restaurants considering a permit is the requirement for an air curtain on the entrance from indoor to outdoor dining areas. Air curtains, which can cost from $350 to more than $1,000 installed, are causing many to rethink plans to accommodate Fido.

Only four restaurants have actually plunked down $100 and a permit application, according to city records. One has already withdrawn its application, and two others say they don't think they can make revisions before their applications expire.

Our guess? Dogs, and owners, are sniffing out pet-friendly places willing to turn a blind eye to the regs.



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