Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
July 14, 2009

Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
FER E&S Market Forecast Meetings
Why Another Slew Of Bad News?
Job Losses Increase, Surprising Some Economists
Consumer Confidence For June? One Up, One Down
NRA's Performance Index Dips After Five Months Of Gains
Only Three Weeks UntilFER President's Preview Forecast Seminar

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
Server Products
Tim Hortons Opening More Co-Brand Sites, Refiling Corporate
Wendy's/Arby's To Launch Big Middle East Expansion
Dunkin' Donuts Moves Into Lodging Segment
Quiznos Promotes MacDonald To Top Post
FF&L To Acquire Church's Chicken

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In This Section:
Proposed Pennsylvania Law Could Inhibit Dealers, Consultants
New Food-Safety Deputy Post At FDA
GGRA Petitions U.S. Supreme Court
Californians Start Counting Calories
Arizona Ponders Guns In Restaurants
Florida Town Douses Two-Year-Old Fire Code

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: FER E&S Market Forecast Meetings 
Industry Report Sponsor: Server Products 
Regulatory Report Manitowoc Ice Inc.

Proposed Pennsylvania Law Could Inhibit Dealers, Consultants

Foodservice equipment and supplies dealers, manufacturers, consultants and others who offer design and/or spec services could be in for a bad time in Pennsylvania if proposed legislation there goes through, according to a report from the Foodservice Equipment Dealers Association.

Pennsylvania's House Bill 1521, intended to set standards for commercial interior-design practitioners, is worded to include anyone who provides designs, consultations, studies, drawings, specifications, space planning and furnishings, and other related services. Thus kitchen designers, equipment specifiers, manufacturers and others will be impacted, unintentionally or otherwise.

FEDA's FEDA First Thing e-newsletter last week sounded the alarm on the legislation, noting the proposal is very similar to legislation passed in Florida before significant amendments recently were found to be necessary. FEDA, which is working with other industry associations to mobilize a response, is urging its members in Pennsylvania to get involved with their state representatives to catch this proposed legislation before, rather than after, it becomes law. Fred Singer, of Pennsylvania-based E&S dealership Singer Equipment Company, is spearheading the FEDA effort.


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Ice Inc.

New Food-Safety Deputy Post At FDA
Responding to food-safety concerns after a huge salmonella outbreak traced to a peanut processing facility earlier this year, President Obama recently announced the creation of a deputy-commissioner post at the Food and Drug Administration to oversee food safety.

The new deputy commissioner's primary responsibility will be overseeing programs designed to keep food safer.

In keeping with the new focus, the FDA announced new rules to help reduce or eliminate salmonella in egg production. In addition, the White House also said the FDA will issue guidelines for a voluntary food-safety program to reduce E. coli in processing melons, tomatoes and leafy greens, something the agency has been working on since an outbreak in spinach several years ago.

The administration also asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service to develop standards for reducing salmonella in poultry processing and E. coli in meat processing by the end of the year.

The National Restaurant Association supported the moves in a recent statement. "The safety of the food supply continues to be the restaurant industry's number one priority, and we applaud the Obama Administration's leadership in this area," Beth Johnson, executive v.p. of public affairs, said.

Meanwhile, Congress continues studying ways to streamline and simplify food-safety responsibilities that currently are tangled and entwined between the FDA and USDA.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Ice Inc.

GGRA Petitions U.S. Supreme Court
The Golden Gate Restaurant Association is pursuing its case against San Francisco all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The GGRA has asked the highest court for a final ruling on whether a novel funding scheme for a city health-insurance program is legal.

A couple of years ago, the GGRA filed a petition to stop the city from requiring restaurants that don't offer health benefits to fork over an hourly rate that would pay health-insurance costs for residents without coverage. Since January 2008, San Francisco restaurants that employ at least 20 people but don't offer health benefits have been paying a minimum $1.83 per hour, per employee into a city fund.

GGRA contends that the city program violates federal ERISA law that preempts local governments from administering employee benefits. A U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against the GGRA last year. GGRA expects to learn by Oct. 5 whether the high court will hear its case.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Ice Inc.

Californians Start Counting Calories
California's new calorie-counting law took effect July 1. About 17,000 stores started providing customers with brochures listing menu items' total calories, saturated fat, carbohydrates and sodium. Chains with 20 or more units statewide now are required to make the nutrition information available to both sit-down and drive-through customers. Drive-through employees have to let customer know the brochures are available.

Starting in January 2011, chain stores will have to post calorie counts directly on menus and menu boards. Fines for not complying will range from $50 to $500 for a first offense, and restaurants might be charged with other offenses like unfair business practices if they don't comply.

The new state law preempts local ordinances that many municipalities considered enacting. Federal legislation now in Congress may trump everything.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Ice Inc.

Arizona Ponders Guns In Restaurants
Restaurant-goers in Arizona might start noticing bulging jackets soon. The state Senate recently passed a bill that would permit gun owners to bring their weapons with them to bars and restaurants. All that remains is the governor's signature.

Unlike legislation proposed in the past that would have allowed "open carries," the bill extends only to those with carry-concealed permits. Individuals carrying guns wouldn't be allowed to consume alcohol, but bar and restaurant owners wouldn't know who's carrying and who isn't. Still, violators who are identified and convicted could be fined up to $300.

Restaurants and bars could refuse to allow guns on the premises by posting a notice to that effect, but operators could still bear some liability under certain circumstances if someone were hurt or killed.

The state Senate approved minor amendments to the bill made in the House and sent it to the governor on July 1. If it's signed, Arizona will become the 40th state to allow firearms in some manner in restaurants that serve alcohol.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Ice Inc.

Florida Town Douses Two-Year-Old Fire Code
After just two years on the books, an ordinance in Zephyrhills, Fla., near Tampa, may well get hosed or at least watered down by the city council.

Back in 2007, the city council thought it would be a good idea to enhance fire safety in commercial buildings. It enacted an ordinance that requires sprinkler systems in all buildings 5,000 sq. ft. or larger. The law applies to all new construction and buildings that are repurposed or remodeled. But state fire code only requires buildings more than twice that size (12,000 sq. ft. and up) to install sprinklers.

Since the ordinance went into effect, businesses have complained to the city that it's too expensive to open stores there. As a result, the council is considering relaxing the ordinance or washing it off the books altogether. The law probably isn't enforceable anyway, according to Jodi Wilkeson, council president, because the state fire code may take precedence. Wilkeson was initially a supporter of the ordinance but changed her mind after a recent workshop with fire department officials and local businesses.

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