MRA President Responds To Senate Action On Minimum Wage Hike
Bob Luz, president and chief executive officer of the Mass, Restaurant Assn., has urged his members to contact legislators to voice their individual opinions and impacts about the minimum wage increases and increases for tipped employees endorsed by the state Senate last week.
The Mass. Senate voted 32-7 to raise the state’s minimum wage from $8 to $11 gradually each year to 2016 and then the rate is tied to subsequent increases to inflation. The Senate also amended the bill to raise the minimum for what tipped employees receive from employers from $2.63 an hour to $4.50 in July of 2014. By mid-2016, the rate for tipped employees would rise to $5.50 an hour. This is only the first step as the bill now heads to a vote in the House of Representatives and then to Mass. Governor Deval Patrick for approval
“We need our members to reach out and have meaningful conversations with all of your elected officials, about what these proposals would do to your business. These officials live in your communities and they visit your restaurants, especially around the holidays. Nothing influences an elected official more than a candid conversation with a constituent about the effects of legislation on our industry, and your ability to continue to offer great jobs in their district,” said Mr. Luz.
“We believe strongly that these actions have been influenced by the wave of public opinion both here in Massachusetts and nationally that have been heightened in the media recently. The tip wage is not easily understood outside of our industry. When the general public reads that a food server or bartender earns $2.63 per hour and has not had a raise since 1999, it is easy for them to react and say we should raise those rates dramatically. But if we can educate our elected officials and the public that the average tipped employee in Massachusetts makes $13.13/hour, making us the number one ranked state in the country, it becomes clear that we are not dealing with minimum-wage workers,” he added.
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Carlson Board Explores Possible Sale of Fridays Restaurants
The Board of Directors of Carlson Inc., a global hospitality and travel company, has authorized a review of strategic alternatives available to the company, including a possible sale of TGI Fridays Restaurants.
Trudy Rautio, president and chief executive officer of Carlson, said "Capitalizing on Fridays' strong marketplace momentum, the board has determined that this is the optimum time to assess its options for the iconic restaurant brand, including a possible sale." Fridays operates more than 900 restaurants in more than 60 countries and leads its category in American casual bar and grill dining.
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NYC Restaurant Owners Voice Opposition to Foam Foodservice Ban
New York City restaurant owners, business leaders, and local residents voiced their strong opposition last week against a bill that seeks to ban the sale of polystyrene foam foodservice products.
The Bloomberg Administration introduced the bill earlier this year, which has since faced objections from the American Chemistry Council, businesses, unions, community leaders and taxpayers.
"This bill will have serious implications not only for New York City small businesses, but upstate New York manufacturers," said Mike Durant, New York State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business. "Product bans imposed absent solid scientific backing like this are threatening the viability of small businesses within the City and across New York. The very fact that New York City is looking to threaten thousands of jobs and small businesses is alarming."
Business owners complained about the potential for increased costs if the council proceeds with the ban. "Polystyrene foam is the best option for my business because it keeps my food fresh and at the same time, it allows me to charge a fair price," said Jimmy Moncion, owner of Nelson Paella Restaurant in Brooklyn. "The cheapest alternative is much more expensive than polystyrene foam — plus, they don't work as well for my customers. If this ban goes through, it will mean cutting workers so that I can keep my doors open." According to a recent study, for every $1 spent on polystyrene foam products, businesses would have to spend nearly $2 on the alternatives, which often do not insulate food as well as foam.
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Latest Word in Food Service...
• Peter Christie, former MRA president will be honored by The Boy Scouts of America Dec. 6 at an 8:00 a.m. breakfast at The Seaport Hotel in Boston. The award is given to an individual who exemplifies the Boy Scouts organization values of “being helpful, friendly and courteous.”
• More than 600 hospitality members will gather at the RI Hospitality Association’s (RIHA) annual “Stars of the Industry” Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner on Wednesday, Dec. 4 at the Rhode Island Convention Center. Special guests at the event will include Rhode Island Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian. The program begins at 5:00 p.m.
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