Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
July 29, 2008

Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Foodservice Group

Want A Sneak Peek At Our E&S Market Forecast? Read On
Consumer, Wholesale Inflation Soar In June
Operator, Consumer Confidence Bad, But Should They Be?

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
Server Products
You Still Have Chance To Get Into Hot Water
Survey Says: LEED Buildings Outperform Status Quo
Subway Sees No Signs Of Slowing, Expects 800 New Stores
Supermarket Chain In India To Open 100 Au Bon Pain Stores

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In This Section:
L.A. Takes Fat Fight Directly To Chains
NYC Calorie Cops Cut Loose; SF Restaurants Fight Similar Law There
London, Ont., Drives Around Drive-Through Dilemma
Dutch Say No To 'Tabacky' Unless It's Wacky

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: Manitowoc Foodservice Group 
Industry Report Sponsor: Server Products
Regulatory Report Lincoln Foodservice Products/Enodis

L.A. Takes Fat Fight Directly To Chains
While cities like New York and San Francisco use calorie-posting laws to fight obesity, Los Angeles wants to ban fast-food chains outright.

The proposed ordinance, which FER Fortnightly first reported last October, would put a moratorium on new fast-food stores in a 32-sq.-mi. section the city. A draft of the law came out of committee on July 22, and it now goes to the full council for readings and a vote.

Council member Jan Perry, the bill's sponsor, claims the 400 fast-food restaurants already in the lower income area of the city are contributing to higher than normal obesity rates—30% of adults compared to about 21% in the rest of the city, according to a study conducted in April 2007. That compares to a national obesity-rate of about 25%, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The ordinance targets "fast-food" stores, not chain restaurants generally, defining them as having "a limited menu" and "food served in disposable wrapping or container." Exceptions are allowed for new restaurants that don't build a drive-through window and are at least 750 feet from another fast-food restaurant. But Perry said she hopes to make the year-long moratorium permanent.


NYC Calorie Cops Cut Loose; SF Restaurants Fight Similar Law There
New York city health inspectors now are authorized to fine chain restaurants that don't post calorie counts on their menu boards.

A federal appeals court allowed the city to put the ordinance into effect in early May while it considers a lawsuit by the state restaurant association against the rule. The city at first declined to enforce the ordinance, giving chains a grace period before instituting fines.

The city's health department reported 277 restaurants had been cited for not meeting the calorie-posting requirement as of July 12. After July 19, though, the city said it will levy fines ranging from $200 to $2,000 for violations.

In San Francisco, the California Restaurant Association has filed suit against the city to block a similar ordinance there. The city wants chains with 20 or more units to post not just calories, but also saturated fat, carbohydrates and sodium content next to menu items. The local Golden Gate Restaurant Association has stayed neutral, but the CRA has been supporting a bill in the state assembly that would standardize a nutrition information requirement throughout the state and give restaurants more latitude about how they provide that information.

London, Ont., Drives Around Drive-Through Dilemma
When London, Ontario, in June proposed a ban on new drive-through windows in seven areas of the city as part of its master growth plan, so many people showed up to protest that the council postponed the meeting. The city skirted potential disaster at its meeting this month by dropping the proposal.

The original proposal would have required restaurants in specific areas to go through a special review process to be exempt from the prohibition on drive-throughs. Instead, the city agreed that its existing planning tools, including zoning bylaws, urban design bylaws and site plan reviews would adequately cover planning issues in the designated areas.

Operators will still have to meet zoning, urban-design and site-plan criteria to build new drive-through windows. The goal is to cover issues that might cause complaints in the first place, such as locating intercom speakers at least 30 meters from residences to avoid noise problems.

Dutch Say No To 'Tabacky' Unless It's Wacky
Okay, so this one's a bit on the lighter side here, but a serious bit of business in Europe: The Netherlands is the latest country to ban smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants. The prohibition went into effect July 1 and even includes the cafes where marijuana smoking is still tolerated, though technically illegal.

"Coffee shops" are allowed to keep up to 500 grams of marijuana in stock for pot smokers. Customers typically aren't prosecuted for possession of five grams or less of marijuana.

Restaurant and bar owners, though, now can face escalating fines of up to €2,400 (about $3,800) for allowing smoking—the tobacco kind—on the premises.

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