Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
September 6, 2005

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

Too Early To Assess Katrina Impact On E&S Market
Gas Prices Nibble At Restaurant Spending As Consumer Sentiment Sinks
NRA's Restaurant Performance Index Dips In July

Regulatory Report:
Sponsored by:
APW Wyott Innovations

Texas Food Code Changes Up For Comment
Connecticut Hopes Campaign Will Jolt Users Into Action
Houston, Sacramento Let Consumers See How Restaurants Fare
Drive-Throughs Going The Way Of Drive-Ins
French Face Possibility Of Quitting Cold Turkey

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In This Section:
SFM To Change Plans For Its New Orleans National Conference
Hurricane Hotlines And Foodservice Updates
If It's November, It Must Be IH/M&RS
Imperial Opens State-Of-The-Art Facility
Wind-Power For Burgerville Restaurants
SoCal Edison To Build Huge Solar Power Array
Amateur Inspectors Rate Restaurants Online

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: Drive To Survive Charity Golf Event |  Regulatory ReportSponsor: APW Wyott Innovations

Industry Report Manitowoc Foodservice Group

SFM To Change Plans For Its New Orleans National Conference
If you haven't yet booked your tickets to the Society for Foodservice Management's annual meeting, hang on just a second.

Due to catastrophic damage and flooding to the New Orleans and Gulf Coast area in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the association is looking for a new venue for its National Conference. The event had been slated to take place in New Orleans on Oct. 19-22.

"We are staying abreast of the situation in New Orleans and researching our options regarding our national conference," said Pres. Jim Wulforst in an email statement. "As information becomes available, SFM will send out updates to the membership."

Conference attendees can also check the SFM Web site, at


Hurricane Hotlines And Foodservice Updates
Lots to report about the aftermath of the hurricane. Restaurant chains, foodservice associations, and equipment manufacturers and dealers in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina are starting to take stock and figure out next moves. Read on for the latest news from each segment.

Here's a brief update on who-what-where at several restaurant companies:

  • Brinker Int'l. has set up a toll-free hotline for employees of Chili's Grill & Bar and Romano's Macaroni Grill restaurants in hurricane-hit areas of Louisiana and Mississippi. The hotline, 800/717-2295, is staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT, Monday through Friday.

  • House of Blues New Orleans team members looking to check in can call 800/939-0717 or email Leave a message with your name, contact information and current location. If you're inquiring about a family member who works at HOB New Orleans, be sure to provide their first and last name and the department they work in.

  • Ruth's Chris Steak House's corporate headquarters in Metarie, La., were so badly damaged by the hurricane that key management members temporarily relocated to Orlando, Fla., effective Aug. 31.

Foodservice associations have also been affected by the hurricane:

  • The Society for Foodservice Management, whose national conference had been slated for New Orleans, Oct. 19-22, is seeking a new venue. Would-be conference attendees should check the SFM Web site,, for updates.

  • The hurricane temporarily took down the Mississippi-based server for the Commercial Food Equipment Service Association Web site, If you registered online between Aug. 29-31 for CFESA's upcoming conference, your registration was not received. Please call the office at 336/346-4700 to check. CFESA's temporary email address is

  • The National Association of Convenience Stores' annual conference, scheduled for New Orleans Oct. 29-Nov. 1, has been relocated to Las Vegas. The new dates are Nov. 15-18. Watch the Web site,, for further details.

Here's what we've heard about dealers, manufacturers and others affected by the storm:

  • Dean Landeche from Enodis told us he heard from Loubat Equipment Co. Pres. Henri Louapre that nearly all of the New Orleans-based dealership's personnel were safe and accounted for.

  • Tedde Reid of SEFA sent out a report on Associated Food Equipment & Supplies, a Gulfport, Miss., dealership, which among other projects, was working on the new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Pres. Paul Watts said again nearly all of their employees have been accounted for, though half have lost their homes. The dealership's building is intact, but damaged.

  • Kathy English from ABC reported that Hotel & Restaurant Supply in Meridian, Miss., weathered the storm. Principals Jerry Greene and Bill Wolfe were cleaning up as best they could.

  • Most manufacturers in the area, including DI Foodservice and Robot Coupe in Jackson, Miss., Master-Bilt Products in New Albany, Miss., and Thermo-Kool, Laurel, Miss., were up and running in a day or two after the storm.

  • We've heard from two sources that Pride, the New Orleans-based buying group, has moved operations to Houston, and that principal Robert Autenreith and employees are safe.

Finally, on a broader scale, the National Restaurant Association has teamed up with the American Red Cross to detail ways you can help foodservice colleagues left in limbo after the hurricane. Log on to for links and suggestions.

Also note the NRA has launched a Web log, or blog, for Hurricane Katrina news and information at

Section sponsored by McCall/Manitowoc Foodservice Group

If It's November, It Must Be IH/M&RS
It's just about time to start setting up your November New York travel plans: The Int'l. Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show is coming up real soon—Nov. 12-15, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, to be precise.

Show hours run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday and Monday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Exhibitors are expected to include some 450 equipment and supplies companies.

Register online at

Section sponsored by McCall/Manitowoc Foodservice Group

Imperial Opens State-Of-The-Art Facility
New digs For Imperial Commercial Cooking Equipment, now that the company has combined two manufacturing facilities under one roof in Corona, Calif.

The state-of-the-art plant opened earlier this year featuring automated laser cutting lines, parallel RAS Multibend machines, robotic welding lines, and an automatic product mover and crating system.

In the first month of operations at the new facility, Imperial set an all-time internal record for shipments, and the company reports record production since then as well.

The gas cooking equipment maker is based in Duarte, Calif.

Wind-Power For Burgerville Restaurants
Want some wind energy with those fries? The Holland, Inc., owner of the Burgerville, Beaches and Noodlin' restaurant chains, has begun using wind energy to provide 100% of its electricity for 41 of its 43 restaurants and its Vancouver, Wash., headquarters.

The chain's switch to wind power will prevent the addition of 17.4 million pounds of harmful greenhouse gasses to the region annually—the equivalent of taking 1,700 cars off the road, according to the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.

The move to wind power dovetails with The Holland's corporate philosophy of environmental responsibility. Burgerville restaurants are known for their use of locally-produced, naturally raised beef and locally grown produce.

The Holland will pay about 10% more for the wind energy, with headquarters absorbing the extra cost, said COO Jeff Harvey.

Wind power will be purchased from a number of regional utilities, including Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, Clark Public Utilities, Columbia River People's Utility District, Cowlitz Public Utility District and Green Tags from Bonneville.

"We hope this will be a catalyst for moving more people toward wind power," Harvey said.

SoCal Edison To Build Huge Solar Power Array
Solar power could be the, ah, (light)wave of the future for you California operators.

Southern California Edison recently filed plans with the California Public Utilities Commission to build what it calls the world's largest solar power facility. If approved, the utility would erect as many as 20,000 solar generators on 4,500 acres of California desert by 2010.

Plans initially call for a 1-megawatt test facility about 70 miles northeast of Los Angeles using 40 solar collectors built by Stirling Energy Systems. SCE's agreement with Stirling includes an option to expand the facility to 850 megawatts, enough to power 278,000 homes.

Unlike photovoltaic cells or steam generators, the Stirling solar generators heat hydrogen gas, which then expands, turning a drive shaft that generates power. Tests at the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico have shown that the Stirling dish technology is almost twice as efficient as other solar technologies, according to SCE. Each mirrored dish is 37 feet in diameter.

Company officials say no state subsidy is required for the project and that rates for power from the facility will be very competitive.

Amateur Inspectors Rate Restaurants Online
As if you didn't have enough to worry about, an online restaurant rating site is letting the public anonymously assign letter grades on cleanliness as well as food and service.

The site,, recently issued a press release with the headline "Food To Die For—Which Restaurants Could Make You Sick?" suggesting that its self-styled "Restaurant Police" have some sanitation expertise. But site owner Bob Hezzelton says that the release was just intended to promote the fact that cleanliness is one of the criteria on which contributors to the site rank restaurants they visit.

Criteria for cleanliness, according to the site, "to the extent you were able to observe it (including employee hygiene)" are "A = positively immaculate, spotless; B = some extra effort is apparent; C = adequately clean, average; D = needs improvement, but not health-threatening; and F = call the health department RIGHT NOW!"

The other five categories getting letter grades include Food, Service, Atmosphere, Hospitality (customer friendliness) and Value (bang-for-buck).

More than 40,000 restaurants in 130 countries are listed on the site.

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