Restaurants Would Get More Flexibility With Workers' Tips Under Proposed Rule

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The Trump administration has proposed a new rule governing the wages of tipped employees, after an earlier effort sparked a backlash from waitstaff, bartenders and other workers.

The proposed rule from the Labor Department would allow employers to require more widespread sharing of tips with "back of the house" coworkers, such as cooks and dishwashers. The rule makes clear, however, that employers cannot pocket those tips or use them to reward managers and supervisors.

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Do Fashion Collaborations Actually Make Restaurants Money?

COURTESY OF DEATH AND CO

COURTESY OF DEATH AND CO

Any restaurant can find a way to put its logo on a T-shirt. But some chefs are thinking way outside the box when using fashion to brand their food.

When it comes to America’s obsession with dining out, restaurant branded merchandise is the perfect way to flash brand loyalty. From Turkey and the Wolf’s colorful trucker hats to James Beard winner Alon Shaya’s hummus and pita earrings, the days of Hard Rock Cafe ruling restaurant fashion are long gone.

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Can Restaurants Be Welcoming to Seniors While Still Chasing the Millennial Dollar?

Elizabeth White at Cork Wine Bar

Elizabeth White at Cork Wine Bar

"I like for them to know I’m still alive and in their restaurant."

When restaurateurs are ready to open new spots in D.C. these days, they often ask themselves one key question: What would millennials want? “We are looking for a young, fun, exciting, and very vibrant feel,” Hakan Ilhan told City Paper when he announced he was opening a casual restaurant called Lazy Kate’s in West End. Everything, from the design of the space to the price of food and drinks, is done with younger diners in mind. 

But according to U.S. Census Bureau numbers from 2018, 12.1 percent of D.C. residents are 65  or older. Many of these roughly 85,000 Washingtonians are retired and ready to spend their disposable income and free time exploring D.C.’s surging dining scene. 

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State Regulator Could Push Food-delivery Companies Away from Percentage Fee

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The state Liquor Authority appears set to enforce a limit on the fees businesses can collect from restaurants with liquor licenses—a decision with the potential to shift the market for the food-delivery industry

During a hearing Monday, the authority's board heard both concerns and support for an advisory board that would clarify state liquor policy. The advisory board, as described, could push food-delivery companies to adopt a fee-based business model rather than the percentage fee companies such as Grubhub and Uber Eats currently charge. 

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5 Advantages of Self-Delivery for Restaurants

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As consumers increasingly gravitate toward platforms like Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber Eats for their delivery needs, many restaurants are making the switch as well, choosing to hand over their delivery operations to third-party vendors to meet the growing demand. However, there are several overlooked risks and challenges associated with outsourcing last-mile delivery. Here are five reasons why restaurants should opt for self-delivery, and how it can benefit their business.

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How A Growing Chicken Concept is Differentiating Itself in a Crowded Market

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Chick N Max, founded by an industry vet, sells chicken fried and smoked—and even has its own in-store radio station.

Why it’s worth watching: The growing chain differentiates itself by offering fried as well as smoked chicken. It has seen its catering program grow, which has also led to sales growth for its large-format, family-style meal offerings. “As our catering has grown, more people have tried our product, so we’re seeing family meals go up,” Sheets said. He has spent nearly three decades working in restaurant development and plans to continue to grow Chick N Max, possibly through franchising.

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Inside Cult Favorite Beer Brand Evil Twin’s Stunning New Greenhouse Brewery in Queens

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The brewery for the globally beloved beer brand pops open in Ridgewood today in a luscious greenhouse

At the height of when craft beer was becoming an obsession in the United States, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø founded Evil Twin, a brand that shot to the top of the beer geek world. It had a certain elusiveness: It was a gypsy production, or one without a permanent space, and his limited-run beers were unique, incorporating unusual ingredients like olive or beetroot. It gained fervent fans, and Jarnit-Bjergsø became somewhat of a celebrity.

But now, he’s ready to widen his reach beyond those who salivate over each new release with his first brewery, Evil Twin Brewing, open today at 1616 George Street, between Wyckoff and Cypress avenues in Ridgewood, Queens. The hope, he says, is for it to be just as much of a casual “hangout” as it is a destination for the brand’s most obsessive followers.

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35 Outstanding Tacos in NYC

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With al pastor, barbacoa, and cheesy concoctions, NYC tacos hold their own

Tacos have nearly taken over from slices of pizza as the culinary backbone of New York City. Over the last three decades, we’ve learned to love the southern Mexican style of two corn tortillas flopped over a meaty filling, sprinkled with onions and cilantro. But other types of tacos have flown in the window, too, reminding us of the days when all we had were hardshells.

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Restaurants approach CBD with caution as popularity grows like a weed

NPD Group notes that 20% of consumers have tried cannabidiol, CBD, in states where it's legal.

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Cannabidiol, or CBD, is growing in popularity as consumers grow more comfortable with the hemp cannabis extract, according to new research by the NPD Group, and restaurant operators are keeping a close eye on its legal and consumer developments.

The NPD Group on Wednesday said nearly 20% of adults have tried CBD in states where it’s legal and nearly half of them have used it recently.

“This number is expected to increase quickly as CBD is appearing in snack foods and beverages, consumers are getting more comfortable with the idea and just as many people plan to try it as are currently using it,” NPD said.

“We are in the midst of one of the most remarkable and complex legal and cultural shifts in American history,” Shawn Stevens, founder of the Milwaukee, Wis.-based Food Industry Counsel LLC, told the annual Food Safety Symposium Monday in Las Vegas. “A new product. A new market. It’s unbelievable.”

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Is Your Restaurant Contributing to Gentrification?

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If you suddenly find your affordable rental is within walking distance of an oat milk latte, you’re probably standing in a gentrifying neighborhood. According to a 2018 study, one of the leading indicators that housing prices are about to go up is the addition of a café in the neighborhood. What might seem like a delicious addition to the area to some might signal impending displacement to others.

What exactly is gentrification? Most of us recognize it when we see it but have a hard time defining what it is. “Gentrification is the process of property speculation that jacks up prices and the displacement of the people that cannot afford them,” says John J. Betancur, professor of urban planning at the University of Illinois at Chicago and co-author of the study, The Trajectory and Impact of Ongoing Gentrification in Pilsen. 

Gentrification happens when an area that has traditionally been home to low-income communities experiences an influx of new affluent residents that results in rapid development and a rise in residential and commercial real estate prices. As a result, long-time area residents are often forced to move out of their neighborhoods or close up their businesses because the rent is too high, while property owners are often forced to sell their homes because they cannot afford the higher property taxes. 

Though this phenomenon isn’t new to urban life, it has intensified in recent decades. The reasons are complex and range from a lack of affordable housing to stagnant wages to city policies that perpetuate existing inequalities. Governing reports that since 2000, roughly 20% of lower income neighborhoods have experienced gentrification, compared to only 9% in the 90s. According to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, most of these neighborhoods are concentrated in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and San Diego. 

In addition to the economic concerns, there are reasons to worry about the cultural impact of gentrification. The communities most affected tend to be predominantly Black and Latinx, and their displacement often means the whitewashing of neighborhoods and possible erasure of marginalized groups

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Lettuce launches second virtual restaurant, with Bon Appetit

Lettuce Entertain You and Bon Appetit magazine are partnering with Grubhub for a new virtual restaurant concept.

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Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises is expanding its virtual restaurant offerings for the second consecutive month in a big bet on delivery.  

In a partnership announced today, Lettuce and Bon Appetit are teaming with Grubhub to serve Chicago residents with recipes curated from the food magazine. The menu will be available to lunch and dinner for residents of Lincoln Park, Lakeview and River North.  

Items will include dishes like cider-braised pork shoulder with butternut squash and short rib skewers with peanut-chile oil and bok choy. The recipes were produced through a collaboration between Bon Appetit and Lettuce. Entrees are priced between $8.95 to $22.95. 

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When We Love Our Food So Much That It Goes Extinct

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We humans love food to death — literally.

From mammoths to passenger pigeons, we have driven our favorite meals to extinction through overhunting and habitat destruction. And globally, our tendency to overharvest just a narrow range of crops has limited the variety of foods we eat.

"When it comes to fruits and vegetables, we have access to only a fraction of the diversity that existed a century ago," says Lenore Newman in her forthcoming bookLost Feast: Culinary Extinction and the Future of Food (out Oct. 8). She is the Canada research chair in food security and environment at the University of the Fraser Valley, in British Columbia.

In her book, Newman explores how human activity has limited our food options and still threatens what we are able to put on our plates.

"I think the important lesson that I took away from writing this book was realizing that things can — and do — go extinct even if we really love them," Newman told NPR. Silphium, a plant that was critical to Roman and Egyptian culinary society, is one of many examples of foods we loved that are now considered extinct. The stalk of the silphium plant was used to flavor food, and its leaves were fed to sheep and cattle to improve the flavor of their meat. Newman says the extinction of silphium taught us that loving a food is not enough to keep it in existence: "We actually have to fight to be conscientious, especially as we have a bigger impact on the planet," she says. "We need to be a little more thoughtful about how we eat."

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Can My Boss Ask Me to Share My Tips?

Short answer: Yes. Long answer: It’s complicated.'

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Q: Can my boss ask me to share my tips?

A: The short answer is yes. Sharing or pooling of tips is allowed under federal law.

That said, there are restrictions about how and with whom tips can be shared that employers must follow in order to not run afoul of any Department of Labor or Fair Labor Standards Act regulations, not to mention laws of the particular state you’re in. State requirements may be more restrictive than those provided on a federal level so you’ll want to seek local counsel before trying to decide whether there’s something amiss about how an employer is handling these issues. (If an employee thinks they’re being paid incorrectly, many plaintiffs lawyers will do free audits of their paystub and timesheet.)

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In The Food & Hospitality Industry, How Do You Stand Out, Define Your Brand And Build Your Business Online To New Levels?

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We sat down with the experts from Mélange, a Hospitality & Food marketing and branding agency and broke open key factors leveraging your consumer insights and industry expertise. Being in the business for over ten years, Mélange built and provides an End-to-End marketing solution that compliments and enhance the food & hospitality industries on a whole new level. A team of 10+ seasoned professionals based in New York City is well-versed in all areas such a marketing, branding and brand awareness, social media, and more. Their ever-growing team delivers! Mélange works with some of New York’s most prominent restaurants and influencers, such as Sushi Seki and FoodyFetish with over 3 million followers on Instagram. Read more…

Finally, Aperol Spritzes Sparkle Up Seventh Avenue South Via Carota’s long-awaited sister spot, Bar Pisellino, soft-opens this week.

Jody Williams, left, and Rita Sodi at Bar Pisellino. Photo: Jonas Fredwall Karlsson

Jody Williams, left, and Rita Sodi at Bar Pisellino. Photo: Jonas Fredwall Karlsson

Between the two of them, the newly crowned James Beard Foundation Best New York City Chefs Jody Williams and Rita Sodi own a French-inspired “gastrothèque” (Buvette), a traditional Tuscan ristorante (I Sodi), and a lively Italian neighborhood canteen (Via Carota), all within a three-block West Village radius. Still, something was lacking. Running three incessantly mobbed restaurants in New York wasn’t enough. What was needed to make their mini-fiefdom complete, according to the married couple, was a classic Italian bar — the kind of civilized oasis they loved to visit in the old country’s cultural capitals and longed for when they returned home. And so over the last year or so, they’ve created their own version of that iconic social institution and christened it Bar Pisellino, and will open it this week opposite Via Carota on a Seventh Avenue South corner that sorely needed some sprucing up. Read more…