Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly
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Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
July 14, 2005








Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Drive To Survive Chariity Golf Event


Foodservice E&S List Prices Rose 5.38%, Says AutoQuotes
NRA Performance Index Dips But Stays Positive In May
Consumer Sentiment, Interest Rates Up; Job Growth Moderate
Too Early To Predict Any Effects From London Terrorist Bombing

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
Kolpak/Manitowoc Foodservice Group

Proposed Junk Fax Ban Exempts 'EBRs'
Wind Farms Proposed For U.K., U.S.
Restaurant Told To Take Gold Off Menu
Wahoo's Fish Tacos, Anyone?
General Hotel & Restaurant Mourns Simon



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In This Section:
PG&E Jumps On Automated Meter Movement
Nutrition Labels Stifle Competition
Minneapolis Smokers Caught Between Rock And Sidewalk
Texas Approves Online Food Safety Course
Restaurant Takes On Florida Smoking Ban

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: Drive To Survive Charity Golf Event |  Industry ReportSponsor: Kolpak/Manitowoc Foodservice Group


Regulatory Report Sponsored by APW Wyott Innovations

PG&E Jumps On Automated Meter Movement
Gone are the days of old-fashioned roundy-round meters, meter readers and normal old electric rates—at least in Northern California. If your foodservice operation there isn't already on variable "timing use" electric rates and fancy new high-tech meters, it soon will be.

Pacific Gas & Electric Company recently announced its timing use rate programs, first rolled out for larger business customers, will now apply to all business users, including foodservice.

Timing use rates, as a growing number of you around the country are finding, charge different electric rates at different times of day. High-demand periods—typically afternoon and early evening hours—are billed at higher rates in an effort to motivate users toward off-peak consumption.

To track that consumption, the California Public Utilities Commission has mandated new high-tech metering be installed for all business customers. Known as AMI, for Advanced Metering Infrastructure, the new meters will let users see their consumption by time-of-day, and they'll also allow PG&E to remotely monitor consumption on a real-time basis.

Any business customer averaging more than 200 kW per month is having an AMI meter installed, according to Linda Courtemanche-Lowrey, corporate account manager for PG&E. The commission mandated a due date of June 1, so many restaurants have already been re-metered, but some stragglers may remain to be retrofitted.

Any business customers not already on timing use rates will soon transfer over to one of several rate plans available.

Residential customers will eventually go the same route. Last month, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. announced it had applied for regulatory approval to install 9.3 million such automated gas and electric meters for its residential customers over the next five years. The Northern California utility is the third major power company in the state to ask the CPUC for permission to install the new meters.

 

Section sponsored by APW Wyott Innovations

Nutrition Labels Stifle Competition
Talk about good intentions going bad. The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 was supposed to level the playing field by standardizing nutrition label formats, allowing food companies to compete more fairly for consumer purchases. But a Duke University study says it had the opposite effect.

Researchers at Duke's Fuqua School of Business found that larger food companies "benefited disproportionately" from standardized labels. Their financial resources, brand awareness, customer knowledge and distribution leverage allowed them to react more quickly and efficiently to the change. Smaller companies, they say, were more likely to go out of business or leave a food category, resulting in fewer consumer choices.

What's disturbing, according to Carl Mela, associate professor and a co-author of the study, is that "the basic premise extends to other industries." If nutrition labeling on menus becomes law, he writes, a similar scenario will likely play out among foodservice chains.

More info on the study is available at http://www.fuqua.duke.edu/news/nutrition-0605.html.


Section sponsored by APW Wyott Innovations

Minneapolis Smokers Caught Between Rock And Sidewalk
There's more than one way to skin a smoker, apparently.

Minneapolis' new smoking ban went into effect March 31. As weather improved, city restaurants responded by kicking smokers to the curb, literally. By early June more than 25 operators, about double the number of a year ago, opened sidewalk cafes where their customers were welcomed to light up.

Now the city wants to ban restaurant's curbside business as well. A city council committee is considering new sidewalk café standards that would require a six-foot walkway between any restaurant seating and city signs or meters on the curb. The city wants to make sure that restaurants leave room on sidewalks for pedestrian traffic. For many, the new regs would make sidewalk seating physically impossible.

Even if approved by the committee, restaurant and bar owners will get to make their views on the proposal known during a public comment period.


Section sponsored by APW Wyott Innovations

Texas Approves Online Food Safety Course
The Texas Department of State Health Services has approved an online food safety program for its Certified Food Safety Manager program. Foodservice employees in Texas now can study food safety and take a certification test at their convenience, 24/7, according to DSHS.

The interactive course was developed by Learn2Serve.com, a division of 360training, a provider of accredited e-learning courses for professionals in a variety of fields. Foodservice workers can take an eight-hour prep course and exam package, exam only or prep-course only. Those who score 70% or higher on the 90-min. exam qualify for a Texas Food Safety Manager Certification card, required by most health departments in the state.

For more information on the program, go to www.Learn2Serve.com or the DSHS Web site at www.dshs.state.tx.us, click on "Certificates, Permits and Licenses" and follow the links to "retail food."


Section sponsored by APW Wyott Innovations

Restaurant Takes On Florida Smoking Ban
After you think about this one for a minute, you'll be surprised the angle hasn't come up before:

A restaurant operator in East Naples, Fla., has challenged the state's Clean Indoor Air Act on the grounds that its smoking ban is unequally applied and therefore unconstitutional. On the one hand, the law allows smoking in outdoor dining areas and in bars and taverns where food sales represent 10% or less of all sales. On the other hand, it bans smoking in all other restaurants and public places.

The Castaways Backwater Café has refused to enforce the smoking ban since the law went into effect in July, 2003. Though the restaurant has been cited three times for violations, it hasn't paid fines because the matter has been in negotiations and hearings.

A written argument filed in court by Castaways attorney Ludwig Abruzzo said, in short, the law favors businesses with liquor licenses over those without.

Castaways owner Alfred Rusillo took up a petition to get the state to address the inequities of the law. When legislators didn't take action, he filed suit in U.S. District Court. All he wants, according to his attorney, is to let patrons choose whether or not to eat in restaurants that allow smoking. If the law is ruled unconstitutional, legislators will likely respond by eliminating exemptions, banning all indoor smoking.



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