Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly
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Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
August 17, 2004








Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Atlas Metal Industries Inc.


MAFSI Barometers Show Healthy Second Quarter Sales Gains
Strong Second Quarter for Public E&S Companies
Blue Chip Economists Pare Back Forecasts
Chain International Growth Rebounded in 2003

Industry Report:
Sponsored by: Vollrath Co.

Some Chains Revising Construction Projections Downward
FCSI White Paper: No Subs Without Approval
ASFSA Becomes SNA
Aga Foodservice Acquires La Cornue
Harrah’s Acquires Caesars



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In This Section:
Washington State’s New Food Code May Mean Capital Outlays
Connecticut Tightens Grip On Fat, Oil And Grease Disposal
New Overtime Regs Kick In Next Week
Yavapai County, Ariz., To Require More Than Lip Service
Maryland Restaurants Dodge Another Smoking Bullet


This issue's Economic Report
Sponsor: Atlas Metal Industries Inc. |  Industry ReportSponsor: Vollrath Co.


Regulatory ReportSponsored by ES3

Washington State’s New Food Code May Mean Capital Outlays
If you’re running older refrigeration in Washington State, you might want to start tweaking your replacement budgets.

After two years of input from stakeholders, the state’s Department of Health plans to approve on Sept. 21 a final version of its proposed food code. The new code is built mainly on the 2001 version of the FDA Food Code.

Most significantly, the state’s proposed new rules adopt the FDA’s 2001 standard for storing potentially hazardous food at 41º F (5º C) or lower. Current rules specify a cold holding temp of 45º F or less.

If approved as expected, the new food code will take effect in May, ’05. Health departments in the state’s 36 counties have until then to decide if they’ll adopt the regs. All have indicated they intend to. The current food code has been in place since 1993.

The regs do allow operators to hold food at 45º F if existing refrigeration equipment isn’t capable of maintaining the new, lower temperature. Equipment has to comply with the code within five years, however.

The new rules also change some cooking and reheating temperatures and times. In most cases, however, these changes will require only staff training, not equipment alterations.



Section sponsored by ES3

Connecticut Tightens Grip On Fat, Oil And Grease Disposal
FOG lies ahead for Connecticut foodservice operators, and it’s not related to the weather.

This FOG—short for "fats, oils and grease"—is the subject of a nearly completed General Permit created by the state’s Bureau of Water Protection. The ruling would create a statewide specification for disposing of fats, oils and grease. The proposed regulation is up for public comment through Sept. 7.

The new permit could impact as many as 40% of Connecticut’s roughly 12,000 foodservice establishments, according to state estimates. Under the proposed requirements, operators discharging more than 1,000 gals./day of kitchen waste water must have an outdoor in-ground grease trap/ interceptor. Operators discharging less, or those who don’t have the space for an in-ground tank, would be required to install an indoor automatic grease recovery unit.

Costs for the in-ground tank installation run anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000; the indoor grease trap system averages closer to $5,000, according to a study funded by the Bureau of Water Management.

The regulation will most likely be finalized within a few months. Foodservice operators would then have until Jan. 1, 2008 to comply.

While the Connecticut Restaurant Association supports the idea of the waste grease specs, the group expresses concerns about implementation, says CRA’s Jim Farrell, v.p. of operations.

Potential challenges include the lack of waste hauler capacity, a lack of trained installers and lack of time.

To send your comments, or to read the full text of the draft, point your browser here: http://dep.state.ct.us/wtr/generalpermits/fogindex.htm



Section sponsored by ES3

New Overtime Regs Kick In Next Week
To exempt… or not to exempt? That is the question on employers’ minds as of Aug. 23, when new federal rules spelling out who qualifies for overtime pay take effect.

Some of the changes in overtime eligibility are complex, with detailed definitions, so to help you sort out who’s who, the National Restaurant Association has created an online guide that includes an overview of the OT regulation changes, tips and an online Q&A section. Check out the guide at www.restaurant.org.

In broad terms, the new regulations sharply raise the salary threshold–that is, the level below which workers automatically qualify for extra pay. The new standard says anyone, regardless of job description, making on a salary basis less than $455/week (compared to the former $155/week) qualifies for time-and-a-half overtime for anything above 40 hours per week. At the opposite extreme, employees taking home more than $100,000 a year in compensation including the minimum salary are generally exempt from overtime pay requirements.

In between—from salaries of $455/wk., which is $23,660/yr., up to $100,000/yr.—employees might be exempt from overtime consideration depending on their job duties.

Under the new rules, some chefs would be exempt if they meet the definition of "learned professional" (holding a four-year specialized academic degree) or "creative professional" (responsible for creating unique menu items). As for restaurant managers and assistant managers, exemption depends on their main duties and time spent in the various tasks.

"The update to the overtime regulations was long overdue," said Peter Kilgore, the National Restaurant Association’s sr. v.p., general counsel and corporate secretary. "Although the rules may now arguably be less ambiguous, they can still be a challenge."

The full Department of Labor regulations can be read online at www.dol.gov/fairpay.




Section sponsored by ES3

Yavapai County, Ariz., To Require More Than Lip Service
Proposed changes to the Yavapai County, Ariz., health code have had local operators buzzing lately.

The existing code requires operators develop an operating procedures plan. The biggest bone of contention in the proposed update would require actual implementation of the plan.

The result, if the proposals were adopted at a vote slated for Aug. 16,, would be that health inspectors would require records showing details of hot and cold holding, cooking and cooling practices.

The proposed changes also would tweak requirements for food safety certification. The current reg requires one employee to be a certified manager. The new proposal would require that "an owner or operator" would be a certified manager. Also, the mandatory food worker certification renewal period would be extended to a maximum of three years instead of the current two. Workers would be able to apply for one-, two- or three-year certificates at their discretion.

Finally, the county proposes a 2% to 5% increase for annual operating permit fees.

Yavapai County’s largest towns include Prescott, Prescott Valley and Cottonwood. Nearly 1,100 foodservice operators do business in the county.



Section sponsored by ES3

Maryland Restaurants Dodge Another Smoking Bullet
If you’re responsible for restaurant air quality in Maryland, you can heave another big sigh of relief—for now at least. Proposed legislation banning smoking from all public indoor spaces was voted down in the state’s 2004 legislative session this spring. The Clean Indoor Air Act of 2004 (HB260/SB140) was defeated in the General Assembly.

Maryland already has a smoking ban on the books that prohibits smoking in enclosed workplaces. The Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Act covers most of the public spaces the new law would have included. Current law, however, has exempted restaurants, bars and clubs since 1995. Limited smoking is permitted in those establishments.

The existing regulations, however, also allow individual counties and communities to set more rigorous standards than state law provides. Three counties have already instituted their own no-smoking policies. Howard County, southwest of Baltimore, allows smoking in restaurants only in an enclosed and separately ventilated room. Montgomery County, the Rockville area, banned smoking outright in public places in October, 2003, including restaurants. The only exceptions are private clubs. Talbot County, which includes the Easton area, adopted a similar ban in April of this year.



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