Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly
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Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
October 23, 2007








Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Manitowoc Foodservice Group
Heard In The Aisles: Market Upbeat At NAFEM Show
Economists Cut 2008 GDP Projection Again
Jobs Data Revised Upward, Inflation Remains Restrained But Consumer Sentiment Dips
And How About The Long Term? Economists Launch Five-Year Forecasts

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
Server Products
Cassin, Cartwright Honored At NAFEM Show
Follett, Sterilox Win FCSI Innovation Awards
Kendall College Wins FCSI 'Green Award'
Foodie Connection Donates $10K To America's Second Harvest/Atlanta Food Bank
IFMA Names LaBatt, Martin Bros. Award Winners



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In This Section:
U.S. House Might Accelerate Equipment Depreciation
California Air Quality Plans Target Charbroilers
California Lowers Hurdles To Solar Conversion
NYC Says Gas Heaters Okay For Patios
Georgia Food Code Changes Take Effect Dec. 1

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

U.S. House Could Make Quicker Depreciation Permanent
A new bill in the U.S. House of Representatives could make permanent a 15-year depreciation schedule for both new building construction and improvements for restaurants.

Current tax law on the subject has been a hodge-podge of exceptions and temporary laws.

Current—literally meaning in effect right now—tax law allows most commercial building owners, including restaurant operators, to depreciate a building and improvements over 39 years. But exceptions have phased in and out more quickly than most people can keep track.

In recent years, Congress has acted to accelerate that depreciation schedule for high-traffic, high wear-and-tear businesses such as c-stores and gas stations. Restaurants, however, were left out of those considerations.

In 2004, Congress authorized 15-year depreciation for restaurants that implemented certain types of improvements by the end of '05. More recently, Congress allowed a 15-year schedule through the end of this year for restaurants that lease space in larger buildings and for restaurants that make improvements to existing structure, according to a National Restaurant Association policy brief. That law, however, excluded new stand-alone construction.

The new bill, if passed, would give you the same 15-year schedule as those other high-traffic businesses "while it simplifies and equalizes the tax code,"according to Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), one of the bill's co-sponsors.

"Constant wear and tear on restaurants requires frequent upgrades, and this bill will help these businesses better compete while creating more jobs in our communities," the Ways and Means Committee member said.

No word yet on when the bill goes to the floor for a vote.

 

Section sponsored by Enodis

California Air Quality Plans Target Charbroilers
Get ready for new rules in California governing restaurant emissions. Remember the public hearings last May, and periodically since (including today, Oct. 23), in San Francisco about the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's proposed rules on underfired charbroiler exhaust? A similar plan may be adopted statewide.

The California Air Resources Board, CARB, announced at the end of September its latest plan to improve the state's air quality. While the bulk of the plan's focus is on reducing soot emissions from trucks and trains by 2014, CARB approved as part of its plan a South Coast Air Quality Management District plan to clean up the air in Southern California.

Wouldn't you know it, the SCAQMD plan includes a section on chabroilers based on the BAAQMD's proposed rules. According to the SCAQMD plan, "Implementation of a similar measure for the District will generate approximately 1.1 tons per day PM2.5 emission reductions by 2014 through the installation of new and retrofit control equipment (e.g., electrostatic precipitators or HEPA filters) at a cost effectiveness of about $13,000 per ton reduced." New rules would likely affect hood filtration on chain-driven charbroilers and all underfired charbroilers over 10 sq. ft. in area, which is how the proposed BAAQMD plan so far has been amended.

CARB has submitted the state plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval. New rules could go into effect next year.


Section sponsored by Enodis

California Lowers Hurdles To Solar Conversion
Yes, more action in California, this time on the solar front.

To open the panels, so to speak, on solar energy, the California Public Utilities Commission is trying to ease the application process for the state's Solar Initiative program.

The program, launched last January and designed to provide incentives to businesses and homeowners for installing solar power, until now has involved a cumbersome application process that made it hard to get at the incentives.

The simplified process now eliminates insurance requirements except those for interconnection with the power grid. The program now also waives certain documentation for some smaller systems, and opens the incentives to do-it-yourselfers, not just professional installers. Find out more about CPUC changes in a new Solar Initiative handbook at www.GoSolarCalifornia.ca.gov.

The CPUC's application isn't the only hurdle to going solar, though. A recent Sierra Club study says that permit and installation fees vary widely in northern California. The authors argue for lowered fees to spur alternative energy use.

One example is the recent decision by Huntington Beach to waive city fees for installation of energy-efficient technologies. The waiver applies if you install equipment that produces energy or is significantly more efficient than current California or federal requirements, according to Ross Cranmer, the city's building and safety director. The waiver applies to all plumbing, mechanical, electrical and solar permits, effective Nov. 5.


Section sponsored by Enodis

NYC Says Gas Heaters Okay For Patios
Until recently, patrons of sidewalk cafes in New York City had to rely on extra layers of clothing or scintillating conversation to keep warm.

No more, as of September, when the city approved the use of natural gas patio heaters.

Propane heaters aren't allowed under the new rules, and only a few patio heater models qualify at present. Also, you may have to attend the NYC restaurant boot camp noted recently here in FER Fortnightly to learn how to have one installed. The city says you must have a sidewalk café license from the Department of Consumer Affairs, a permit from the building department to install the gas lines, and fire department certification that shows your employees have been trained to operate the heater properly and you have the right type of fire extinguishers on hand.

Any other questions, go to
http://home2.nyc.gov/html/dca/downloads/pdf/Sidewalk%20Cafe%20Heaters%20FAQ.pdf.


Section sponsored by Enodis

Georgia Food Code Changes Take Effect Dec. 1
Don't forget that changes to Georgia's state food code take effect on Dec. 1. Some of the key changes:

You're required to have at least one certified food safety manager on-premise at all times. Employees must wash their hands between tasks and after using the restroom, and must wear gloves when handling ready-to-eat foods. Hot foods have to be cooled to 41°F in a total of six hours (from 135°F to 70°F in two, and to 41°F within four more). Leftover foods have to be date-marked.

Other changes include a new time/temp rule for holding food for serving, a description of when HACCP plans are required, and cooking temperatures for whole muscle meat.

For a brochure on the changes, go to
http://www.health.state.ga.us/pdfs/environmental/FS%20Rules%20Brochure.pdf.

For a copy of the complete new food code, go to
http://www.health.state.ga.us/programs/envservices/index.asp.



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