Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly
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Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
July 28, 2009








Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
FER E&S Market Forecast Meetings
Traffic Drops 2.6%, Unit Counts Drop 1% In Q2, Says NPD
Consumer, Producer Prices Rise In June; Fuels Fall In July
Major Economists Hold Most Macro Forecasts Steady
FER President's Preview Forecast Seminar Set For Next Week

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
Vollrath Co.
Buffalo Wild Wings Passes 600 Mark
Johnny Rockets Looks South
Jack In The Box Sells C-Stores, Adds Kiosks
FER Takes Two Awards For Water-Efficiency Story



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In This Section:
EPA Seeking Input On WaterSense Criteria
Tougher California Building-Efficiency Codes Coming In January
Minimum Wage Increases, Perhaps At Worst Time
Chance Of Seeing Trans Fat In Cambridge Now Slim To None
San Francisco Charges Fee For Calorie-Counting
Tennessee Joins States Allowing Guns In Restaurants

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

EPA Seeking Input On WaterSense Criteria
The Environmental Protection Agency wants YOU! Or more specifically, your input.

The agency is expanding its WaterSense water-efficiency program from residential product categories into commercial foodservice appliances. First up, the program needs to set standards for low-flow pre-rinse spray valves, and it needs industry participation in the process.

Like EPA's Energy Star program, which sets energy standards and creates a labeling system to identify products that meet the criteria, WaterSense does the same for water-conserving products.

EPA estimates up to 50% of the estimated 1.35 million pre-rinse spray valves currently in use have flow rates as high as 3 to 4 gallons per minute—more than double the current federal standard of 1.6 gpm.

Water savings alone can result in substantial cost reductions in this product category, but energy, too, can be saved wherever heated water is involved. And for that reason, WaterSense and Energy Star are teaming up on this product category. For more information, or to submit comments, e-mail watersense-products@erg.com or go to the WaterSense website at www.epa.gov/watersense.

 

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Ice Inc.

Tougher California Building-Efficiency Codes Coming In January
Keep your eye on new California building-efficiency codes that become effective Jan. 1. The new standards initially will apply only to new-home construction, with voluntary green-building standards for commercial buildings. But you'll likely see a lot of municipalities in the state start to make the new requirements mandatory for commercial buildings as well, as more cities and counties try to hit sustainability goals.

The new standards are intended to make new construction 15% to 20% more energy-efficient than buildings constructed just four years ago. Adopted by the California Energy Commission in April 2008 and approved by the Building Standards Commission in September, the Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24, Parts 1 and 6) exceed federal standards by about 20% and could save $200 to $600 per year in energy savings.

Energy savings are expected to come from tougher standards for kitchen water-pipe insulation; roof, wall and floor insulation; a requirement for minimum two-speed pumps in pools and spas; and upgraded lighting standards requiring more efficient light sources.

Originally scheduled to take effect in August, the tougher codes have been delayed by a glitch in the public-domain compliance software. The CEC is working on fixes but also wants to provide plenty of training time on the new standards for utilities, builders and inspectors.


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Ice Inc.

Minimum Wage Increases, Perhaps At Worst Time
Just in time, perhaps, to possibly slow the economic recovery, the third and final installment of federal minimum-wage increases phased in over the past two years took effect July 24. Before the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 was signed into law, minimum wage had stood at $5.15 per hour. The Act's first two stepped increases raised the wage to $6.55. This latest increase takes it to $7.25.

That 70-cent increase may not seem like much—about $28 a week—but some economists say this is the worst time to be increasing wages of hourly workers, when small businesses can least afford it in these tight economic times.

In many states, though, the increase won't have much impact. And workers in those states won't see that much of a bump in pay. At least eighteen states and Washington, D.C., already offer minimum wages of $7.25 an hour or more. Nine other states have minimum wages of more than the former federal minimum of $6.55. That means hourly workers in Florida will only see a raise of four cents an hour, and workers in Nevada about 40 cents an hour.


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Ice Inc.

Chance Of Seeing Trans Fat In Cambridge Now Slim To None
A ban on trans fat in Cambridge, Mass., officially went into effect July 1 without any of the fireworks that came three days later for Independence Day celebrations.

If you're a restaurant operator there, you no longer can use trans-fat oils or shortenings for frying or cooking, and you can't use spreads that contain trans fat. You can still use trans-fat products as recipe ingredients or for deep-frying cake dough and yeast batter, but only until Oct. 1. After that, they're phased out, too.

Cambridge was the third city in Massachusetts after Brookline and Boston to call on restaurants to stop using trans fat. For more information on the ban, visit the city's health department web site at www.cambridgepublichealth.org.


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Ice Inc.

San Francisco Charges Fee For Calorie-Counting
Adding insult to injury, San Francisco's board of supervisors recently passed a new chain-restaurant fee. Initially proposed by Mayor Gavin Newsom, the fee is intended to help the health department cover the cost of policing California's new calorie-counting law.

Starting July, 2010, the same chains that have to incur the cost of posting calorie counts on menus and menu boards—those with 20 or more units statewide—will have to pay the city a $285 annual fee to help the health department nab cheaters.


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Ice Inc.

Tennessee Joins States Allowing Guns In Restaurants
Tennessee has followed Arizona onto the growing list of states that now allow licensed carry-concealed gun-owners to carry concealed weapons into restaurants. In both states, the law says those toting guns can't imbibe in refreshments containing beverage alcohol. Trouble is, the nature of concealed weapons makes enforcement a bit problematic.

The Tennessee law was challenged up until the last minute by opponents who may have latched onto an argument the presiding judge said she may reconsider. Lawyers against the new law said it could actually be troublesome to gun-owners. Seems that you can only bring a gun into a restaurant, not a bar, but as it's sometimes difficult to tell if a bar serves enough food to qualify as a restaurant, armed customers may inadvertently break the law by venturing into the wrong type of place.

For now, the law stands, but several restaurants have already proclaimed themselves gun-free zones. Restaurants on tourist destination Beale Street in Memphis all agreed not to allow guns. Onzie Horne, executive director of the Beale Street Merchants Association, said the security checks the first weekend the law went into effect went smoothly. Most patrons, he said, were happy to put up with the lines and brief waiting times to enforce the gun ban.

Gun controls in America generally have become more relaxed in recent months and years, although the topic remains hotly debated.



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