Weekly Update: Washington Restaurant Magazine merger issue on its way to your mailbox

Weekly Update: Washington Restaurant Magazine merger issue on its way to your mailbox https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/WashingtonRestaurantWeekly_WebsiteBanner-467x198.jpg

The July 2015 issue of Washington Restaurant Magazine is a “must have” for all WRA members. It focuses on the merger of the WRA with the Washington Lodging Association. This is an exciting time to be in the hospitality industry, and this issue of Washington Restaurant Magazine gives you all the details you need to understand the merger and how the newly created joint hospitality organization will operate after the merger becomes fully effective in 2016. Keep an eye out for it in your mailbox. It should reach you within the next few days. View it online or download as a PDF.

FDA delays federal menu-labeling regulations for one year

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has pushed the effective date for the federal menu-labeling regulation for chain restaurants and similar foodservice establishments to Dec. 1, 2016. The FDA had originally set Dec. 1, 2015, as the compliance date, but said today that it is extending the compliance date in response to requests and in order to further clarify the rule’s requirements. The National Restaurant Association has long supported a nationwide, uniform menu-labeling standard for chain restaurants that provides flexibility for restaurants and preempts a patchwork of state and local laws. As the FDA prepares additional guidance on the law, the restaurant industry will continue to work with the FDA to address issues of concern to the restaurant industry and ensure a smooth transition for restaurants and consumers alike.

Paid leave ordinance proposed in Bellingham

Earlier this week Councilmember Roxanne Murphy asked the Bellingham City Council to consider a paid leave ordinance for businesses within the city limits. Murphy said that this was simply an introduction, but from previous experience. We know that paid sick leave legislation picks-up traction fast. The WRA has sent a letter to Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville, requesting that she consider creating an opportunity for stakeholder input as Tacoma and Spokane have. The process that both Tacoma and Spokane went through was very different from Seattle, and the resulting ordinances were very different also. Although it is unclear what will be transpiring in Bellingham, the WRA is monitoring this closely and will be offering our help to city leaders to find solutions and alternatives. If you are a Bellingham member, please look for more detailed information to follow tomorrow. For questions, contact saml@warestaurant.org.

Spokane paid leave update

As previously detailed in earlier editions of the Weekly, the Spokane City Council formed a Earned Sick and Safe Leave Task Force, on which WRA served, to find solutions to implementing paid leave within the city. At the end of June, the task force released an outline/proposal for the ordinance. The WRA provided extensive comments to the Council. We are pleased that the Council appears to have incorporated many of our ideas to help restaurants succeed.

During the meetings, we supported options that met the requirements for paid sick leave while providing flexibility for our industry. Those options included credit for paid time-off policies already in place, shift swapping, and reduced regulatory burden on employers. The WRA will continue to closely follow the drafting of this ordinance and provide input along the way. On July 16, the Council will host an open house, and the public is invited to provide input. July 16 – August 10 have been slated for final adjustments and a decision based on feedback, and August 17 is the likely day the ordinance will receive a vote. If you are a Spokane member, look for more detailed information to follow tomorrow. For questions, contact stephanied@warestaurant.org.

U.S. Rep. Kilmer helps launch Hospitality Caucus in Congress

U.S. Reps. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., and Sean Duffy, R-Wisc., launched the Hospitality Caucus this week. The goal of the caucus is to provide a better understanding of the challenges faced by our hospitality industry on a national level. Additionally, the caucus will increase recognition for the steps our industry has taken to promote responsible consumption. The caucus will also focus on the positive impact of the American hospitality industry on the United States economy. “Whether you are meeting an old friend, joining with coworkers, or visiting from out of town, folks are flocking to the growing constellation of breweries, craft distilleries, and wineries you’ll find in the Pacific Northwest,” said Kilmer. “Every day entrepreneurs are developing new recipes and creating jobs in our region. This caucus will highlight how the hospitality industry brings people together and keeps our economy moving.”

FCC adopts proposal complicating compliance with Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Earlier this year, NRA joined with the US Chamber and other groups in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission calling for clarity on how the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) treats non-telemarketing communications that restaurants and other businesses may want to use to provide information to their customers. TCPA rules are quite strict and there was some hope for an update to the nearly 25 year old regulations. Unfortunately, in a public meeting on June 18, the FCC instead adopted a proposal that will make it harder for companies to comply with TCPA and easier for your company to be sued when using text messaging or informational phone calls. While the final, official declaratory rulings from the Commission is still in process, the details of the order can be found in the press release from the FCC announcing the changes. More details will be forthcoming in next week’s edition of Washington Restaurant Market Watch.

Coterie Worklounge and Gelatiamo on this week’s Dine NW radio show – now online

Don’t miss this week’s DineNW radio show, now online. Andy Cook and Paul Schlienz interview Leah Richmond and Su-Zette Sparks, owners of Coterie Worklounge, opening in Seattle next month. David Faro and Paul then chat with Maria Coassin, owner of Seattle’s Gelatiamo.

Washington Restaurant Market Watch: QSRs discover table tracking

If you’ve encountered table trackers, you’ve probably seen them at fast casual establishments, like Panera Bread, but don’t be surprised if you soon see this technology at your favorite quick service restaurant. Here’s how it works: Customers receive an electronic tracker with their order. The tracker transmits a signal to a panel in the back-of-house, alerting a food runner of the guest’s location when the order is ready. Many companies have created their own tracking systems to meet the growing demand for this technology. Read more…