Weekly Update: Restaurants file lawsuit against Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board

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Yesterday, the Washington Restaurant Association (WRA) filed a lawsuit against the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) in order to challenge rules adopted by the board that restrict options for negotiating prices. The WRA stated its intention to file the suit last month, but the LCB has been unwilling to change its course of action. The WRA was joined by the Washington Lodging Association, Northwest Grocery Association and Costco. In September, the LCB adopted rules that would prohibit businesses from negotiating price on spirits and wine. The new rules set up a system of uniform quantity discounts for spirits, and strict rules around when and how those volume discounts can be calculated. Businesses are prohibited from taking advantage of product promotion and pricing specials, specifically “family plans”, or establishing a customer relationship beyond a single, one time order. The outcome is harmful and unfair for state restaurants and the WRA believes they will ultimately be found illegal. “We think it’s pretty simple – price should be determined by the willingness of a customer to pay the price, and the willingness of the buyer to sell at that price, the way it works for ‘goods of all kinds’, as permitted under the law,” said Bruce Beckett, WRA Director of Government Affairs. Read more…

Washington Restaurant & Lodging Magazine on its way to your mailbox

Things are changing fast in the world of hospitality. Old business models are dying and new ones are being born as labor costs increase, a new generation emerges and the hospitality industry responds. Get all the latest buzzes in the October 2010 issue of Washington Restaurant & Lodging Magazine. Keep an eye out for it in your mailbox. It should reach you within the next few days. Read it online…

First regional Government Affairs Committee meeting a big success

Yesterday, the WRA held its first regional Government Affairs Committee meeting in Tacoma. A vibrant gathering of hospitality members and lawmakers attended to discuss the legislative agenda for next year as well as the successes of the 2015 legislative session. Prior to hearing about the upcoming year’s agenda, the WRA discussed how the most recent session was the longest in Washington state history and how the McCleary decision for school funding would impact taxes. Participants were given an overview of the top three issues facing the hospitality industry: minimum wage, removal of the 17 percent fee on spirits and tourism. They also weighed-in on the association’s policy goals, explained in the WRA’s issue matrix – a document that outlines the expected political agenda of state lawmakers by subject, the level of priority for the subject (high, medium, low), the WRA objective, current status, next steps and who from the WRA team will be working on the issue. Feedback from members on this document is critical. Testimonials from members highlighted how important the minimum wage discussion continues to be. Hospitality members also shared stories about how they had been personally impacted by the 17 percent fee on alcohol purchases. State lawmakers also got the opportunity to hear from hospitality members firsthand how important a statewide tourism program is for their industry.

The WRA will hold six more meetings similar to this around the state. We are your voice in Olympia and we hope to hear from you. We encourage you to attend any of the following meetings:

  • Kennewick (October 12, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Country Gentleman, 9221 W. Clearwater Ave.)
  • Spokane (October 13, 3-5:30 p.m., Red Lion River Inn, 700 N. Division St.)
  • Bellevue (October 19, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Maggiano’s, 10455 N.E. 8th St.)
  • Seattle (October 20, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Orfeo, 2107 3rd Ave.)
  • Battle Ground (October 26, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Mill Creek Pub, 1710 S.W. 9th Ave., Ste. 101)
  • Burlington (October 28, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Flyer’s Restaurant, 15400 Airport Dr.)

For more information you can contact the WRA at 360.956.7279 or email the WRA’s Julia Gorton at JuliaG@warestuarant.org.

Tacoma’s News-Tribune endorses minimum wage Initiative 1B, slams $15 Now measure

When it comes to minimum wage, Tacoma’s News-Tribune definitely “gets” it. The newspaper   endorsed endorsed the carefully-crafted Initiative 1B, which would raise the wage floor — in measured steps — to $12 on Jan. 1, 2018, adjusting it for inflation over the following years. It also rightly condemned the $15 Now-supported Initiative 1 as “stick[ing] a shiv into [Tacoma’s] small employers.” For more information on how you can get involved in supporting Tacoma’s Initiative 1B campaign, contact the WRA’s Samantha Louderback at samanthal@warestaurant.org.

Get the latest info on FDA’s draft menu labeling guidance

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued draft guidance on menu labeling. Get more information about this important issue at an upcoming webinar where Lynn Szybist of the FDA will provide an overview of the draft guidance. The meeting will be held at noon on October 14. To join this meeting, go to this link.

Get the recognition you deserve! Apply now to National Restaurant Association’s Faces of Diversity, Restaurant Neighbor and Ambassador of Hospitality awards

Restaurants do great things and are full of great people. Don’t miss this opportunity to receive the recognition you deserve. Apply now for the National Restaurant Associations industry awards. The Faces of Diversity American Dream Award honors those who have achieved success through perseverance and determination. Each year the NRAEF, in partnership with PepsiCo Foodservice, recognizes three individuals who embody the American Dream. Founded in partnership with American Express, the Restaurant Neighbor Award celebrates and highlights the outstanding charitable service performed by restaurant operators. The Ambassador of Hospitality Award is the premiere award bestowed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation to an individual who has exemplified extraordinary achievement and leadership in the restaurant and hospitality industry. You can either nominate yourself or someone else for these awards. Deadline is October 30. For more information or to apply, contact the WRA’s Paul Schlienz.

Hospitality Training and Management seminar on this week’s DineNW radio show – now online

Don’t miss this week’s DineNW radio show, now online. Andy Cook and Paul Schlienz interview Bill Marvin, the Restaurant Doctor, and Dale Blosser, hospitality expert. Bill and Dale will be appearing at the Hospitality Training and Management seminar, on October 12, in Tukwila.

Washington Restaurant Market Watch: Gallup poll ranks restaurants as second most popular industry

People love restaurants. After all, restaurants are important parts of every community. They are gathering places and where we often go to celebrate important events in our lives. And this love for restaurants really showed up on a recent Gallup poll where the polling firm asked Americans to rate 25 major U.S. business sectors on which were the most and least popular. Read more…