Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
September 28, 2004

Economic Report:
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FER Takes First Cut At 2005 E&S Forecast
Blue Chip Consensus Pares '04, '05 Forecasts
Fed Raises Interest Rates Again; Oil Prices Spike Again

Regulatory Report:
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Texas Schools A No Fry Zone
Kansas Shuffles Inspection Duties
Oregon Offers Recourse In Disputes
Pennsylvania Requires Certified Food Handlers
St. Paul Mayor Says 'Butt Out,' County Says 'Butts Out'

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In This Section:
FCSI Names Six Award Winners
McDonald's Tests McDelis
'Less Is More' In Portion Sizes, Study Finds
Panchero's Eyes Nationwide Growth
Applebee's Ups Growth Plans
Overtime Battle Rekindles

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: MAECO |  Regulatory ReportSponsor: ES3

Industry ReportSponsored by Lakeside Mfg.

FCSI Names Six Award Winners
Excellence and innovation took center stage at this year’s Foodservice Consultants Society Int’l. awards ceremony.

Presented during FCSI’s annual meeting, this year held Sept. 9-11 at the Marriott Eaton Centre in Toronto, the prized awards recognized excellence in Management Consulting, Facilities Design, Manufacturer and Product categories.

Two winners were named in Management Consulting: Arnold Fewell of AVF Marketing, Romanby, Northallerton, U.K., won for his work in creating; and Karen Malody of Culinary Options, Seattle, won for her work with Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria, Seattle.

In the Design category, Ricca Newmark Design of Centennial, Colo., was honored for its work on the Earhart Dining Court at Purdue University, while Ken Winch, Ken Winch Design of Tonbridge, Kent, U.K., won for his design of Yauatcha, a dim sum restaurant in London.

Rational Cooking Systems, Schaumburg, Ill., took home honors as Manufacturer of the Year for its track record of technological innovations and developments—specifically, for its new SCC technology, or SelfCooking Center with Self Cooking Control.

And Meiko, the German warewashing company, earned the Product of the Year award for its Mike2 technology, a handheld computer diagnosis system that electronically communicates with Meiko’s second-generation warewashers. Meiko USA operates out of Nashville, Tenn.

Check out FER’s October issue for full meeting coverage.

Section sponsored by Lakeside Mfg.

McDonald's Tests McDelis
McDonald’s Corp. plans to expand testing of five new toasted deli-style sandwiches, called Oven Selects, to some 400 U.S. stores by yearend. Target locations include Columbus, Ohio; Richmond, Va.; and San Antonio.

The sandwiches include Beef and Provolone, Crispy Buffalo Chicken, Leaning Tower Italian, New York Reuben and a turkey BLT. Each sandwich is about $4 and for a $1.50 more come with a drink and coleslaw or French fries.

The 30,000-unit chain declined to comment on equipment sourcing for the test. McDonald's is based in Oak Brook, Ill.

Section sponsored by Lakeside Mfg.

‘Less Is More’ In Portion Sizes, Study Finds
We’ve always suspected that restaurant portion sizes are overly generous. Now there’s proof.

A recent survey by Opinion Dynamics of Cambridge, Mass., finds that more than half of adult Americans questioned consider typical restaurant portions to be "too big." And if you ask only the women, more than 60% of them feel restaurants over-serve, compared with 44% of men.

A third of the respondents deemed portions "about right," while 4% said they were "too small."

Portion size options could affect restaurant choice, too. About a quarter of survey participants said they would be "much more likely" to eat at restaurants offering half-sized portions; 14% said they would be "somewhat more likely." Not surprisingly, 31% of women said they would be much more likely to eat at restaurants offering portion size-options.

"Our research indicates that consumers are beginning to think of battling obesity as more than just following the latest diet," says Lawrence Shiman, v.p. of the research firm. "While many restaurants have begun to create healthier menus, Americans also want to be offered appropriate-sized portions when they go out to eat."

More than 1,110 American adults were questioned during two days in August. The research was not funded by any outside organization.

Section sponsored by Lakeside Mfg.

Panchero’s Eyes Nationwide Growth
Yes, Virginia, there IS room for another national fast casual fresh-Mex burrito chain, and it goes by the name of Panchero’s Mexican Grill. The 24-unit company has set its sights on opening 90 more stores over the next five years. At least 12 of those will open during calendar year 2004 in locations ranging from Florida to Colorado. Next year, the chain will double in size with the opening of an additional 25 stores.

The Coralville, Iowa, chain sets itself apart with its made-from-scratch tortillas. Burritos, quesadillas, tacos, fajitas and salads round out the made-to-order menu.

Behind the service counter, the kitchen equipment line-up features a tortilla press, vertical cutting mixer, charbroiler and griddle, plus the usual steam tables and refrigeration. The equipment package averages $60,000. A typical Panchero’s covers 2,400 sq. ft. and seats 70.

Section sponsored by Lakeside Mfg.

Applebee’s Ups Growth Plans
More, more and still more Applebee’s stores—that’s the rosy new store potential for the casual dining chain.

Officers at the Overland Park, Kan., company peg the ultimate potential of the Applebee’s system in the United States at a minimum of 3,000 stores, nearly double the current number. That’s a 30% increase from the total potential unit figure projected two years ago.

The company said it can achieve the growth without adding a second restaurant concept.

As of Sept. 9, Applebee’s operated 1,633 stores in 49 states and nine other countries. Systemwide growth is expected to continue to be between 7% and 8% annually, or roughly 110 to 130 new annual store openings.

Section sponsored by Lakeside Mfg.

Overtime Battle Rekindles
New overtime regulations making it easier for employers to stop overtime pay to white-collar and administrative employees got a double blow this month in both the House and Senate.

First the Republican-led House of Representatives voted on Sept. 9 to bar the Bush administration from enforcing the rules. A week later, a Senate Appropriations Committee also voted against the new rules.

Under the new rules, which took effect Aug. 23,
workers earning less than $23,600 annually become automatically eligible for overtime pay. The House measure leaves that portion of the rules intact.

The real issue, however, centers on supervisory employees earning from $23,660 to $100,000 a year, many of whom stand to lose overtime pay under revised job classifications.

President Bush threatened to veto the underlying bill—a $142.5 billion measure funding education, worker training and health programs for 2005—if it contains the House ban of the overtime regulations.

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