As senior vice president of the National Restaurant Association’s Research and Knowledge Group, Hudson Riehle directs consumer, economic, market, human resources, tourism and operations research. He also oversees the NRA’s Knowledge Center, which provides information services to restaurant operators and researchers.
Frequently cited in major national and international newspapers, he has appeared on major national TV broadcasts and has authored a variety of articles. Riehle serves as an information source and spokesperson for the restaurant and hospitality industry.
What is the state of the restaurant industry today?
We expect sales this year will exceed $825 billion, despite some challenges. Among consumers, there is still pent-up demand for dining out. Our research indicates 90 percent of Americans enjoy eating out, but income issues restrict their ability to patronize restaurants as often as they’d like.
Who is dining out and where?
Income and employment are often related and, generally, the areas of the country posting the highest restaurant sales growth have the highest employment growth, income growth and population growth. Where are people dining? Tableservice restaurants last year posted sales of $263 billion, and quickservice, which includes fast-casual restaurants, posted sales of $234 billion. Consumers also are interested in restaurants specializing in the snack and nonalcoholic beverage category.
How important is takeout and delivery to the restaurant business?
The off-premises market – takeout, delivery, drive-thru, curbside and food trucks – has been an important driver of sales over the past decade and is only growing more important. The most rapidly developing component is delivery, especially in quickservice. From the consumer perspective, there’s nothing more convenient than having a restaurant come to them.
What are the biggest challenges to the industry today?
Labor costs and talent recruitment. After analyzing hourly eating-and-drinking-place wages over the past three years, we discovered that wage growth in our industry has become substantially higher than private-sector wages. New minimum wage mandates in multiple states and a shallow labor pool caused a dramatic increase in labor costs, making it much more difficult economically to operate a restaurant. If you ask restaurateurs, 50 percent will tell you that high labor costs threaten their long-term success.
What should we expect a year from now?
We’ll still be talking about labor, and there will be even greater focus on the off-premises market, especially delivery. That will include alcohol, not just food. We also expect there to be greater emphasis on sustainability, sourcing, technology, kids’ meals and global flavors.
The Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund (ASSF) provides one recipient with a fully paid culinary scholarship to the
International Culinary Center (ICC) in New York City and a paid internship in New Orleans upon completion of the ICC program. Recipient must be an aspiring chef from the Latin community in the Greater New Orleans area and committed to bettering themselves and their community through food. The deadline to apply is May 31, 2018.
Yesterday was a day many of us in the industry have been waiting on for nearly 10 years. Effective May 7, 2018, the menu-labeling regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – eight years after Congress called for the provision as part of the Affordable Care Act – officially becomes the law of the land.
The menu-labeling requirement applies nationwide to chain restaurants and businesses that serve prepared food and have more than 20 locations. These establishments will now have to post calorie counts on foods they sell – although many in the industry already do.
This is a welcome development for both the restaurant industry and consumers, and we are pleased that our efforts to preserve the May 7th compliance date were successful. By setting a clear standard, this rule provides the necessary guidance and expectations for America’s restaurants to follow in order to continue delivering a high quality experience and customer service to everyone who walks through our doors, as well as the transparency our customers demand. We applaud Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and the Trump Administration for working with the National Restaurant Association to push this policy across the finish line.
To read an op-ed by the National Restaurant Association’s Cicely Simpson, click here.
Going forward, the FDA intends to actively assist restaurants and foodservice establishments comply with the new requirements, and they will not issue penalties during the first year of implementation. To read the FDA’s guidance on this rule, click here.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to the National Restaurant Association with any questions we may assist with.
The Lt. Governor and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board are proud to announce the selection of 12 chefs from across the state to represent their areas in the 11th annual Louisiana Seafood Cook Off (LASCO).
The chefs include:
Paul Gibson Pont Breaux's Cajun Restaurant Breaux Bridge
Scott McCue Cypress Bayou Casino and Hotel Charenton
Joshua Hebert The Cabin Restaurant Gonzales
Kris Allen Pamplona Tapas Bar & Restaurant Lafayette
Ryan Trahan Blue Dog Café Lafayette
Justin East Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse at the Golden Nugget Lake Charles
Paige Lucas Pork Belly's Bar and Grill Marksville
Nick Simons Wine Country Bistro Shreveport
Anthony Felan Fat Calf Boucherie Shreveport
Justin Ferguson BRQ Restaurant Baton Rouge
Noah Lessard Ruffino's Baton Rouge
Richard Brennan III Bourbon House New Orleans
“Seafood is a part of our culture and has created a culinary identity for Louisiana unlike any other state,” Lt. Governor Nungesser said. “Oysters Rockefeller, shrimp poboys, crab boils and all the wonderful dishes these chefs create with our abundant seafood keep tourists coming back. This is a chance for us to celebrate the great contribution chefs and our hard working seafood industry make to the state.”
LASCO will be held in conjunction with the Taste of EatLafayette event which will be held at the Cajundome Convention Center on June 19. The evening will include the live cook off with chefs from all over the state participating in a competition with the winner to be announced that evening.
This event features the best of both worlds: a taste of EatLafayette restaurants and a world class cooking competition. This is the 14th year for EatLafayette and the 11th year for the state’s premier cooking competition, which is presented by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board in partnership with the Louisiana Restaurant Association.
“We are delighted that the Lt. Governor and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion Board are staging the Cook-off in Lafayette again this year,” said Ben Berthelot, President & CEO of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission. “Last year it helped take our popular Taste of EatLafayette Event to another level, while providing great exposure for our area, our chefs, restaurants, the Cook-off and EatLafayette. It is exciting to see this partnership and event continue this year.”
The Taste of EatLafayette showcases locally owned restaurants that participate in the annual EatLafayette™ campaign. The event has traditionally served as the kick off for the summer campaign that drives customers to local eateries and is a sell out every year.
The winner of LASCO will represent Louisiana at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off (GASCO) in New Orleans on Saturday, August 4 at the Morial Convention Center. GASCO is held in conjunction with the Louisiana Restaurant Association EXPO and will feature chefs from around the country competing for the title of King of Queen of American Seafood.
Follow @LaSeafoodBoard on Instagram and Twitter and keep up will all Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off (LASCO) events via the official hashtag, #LASCO18.
Louisiana is one of 16 states where people have been sickened by E.coli linked to chopped romaine lettuce, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC reports that nine hospitalizations have resulted, including two people who have developed a type of kidney failure. As of April 18, 2018, one case of E.coli linked to the lettuce has been reported in Louisiana. The contaminated romaine lettuce is from the Yuma, Arizona growing region; no common brand or distributor has been named. The CDC’s advice to consumers who have recently purchased romaine lettuce and are unsure of its origin—throw it away. No deaths have been reported.
CDC Advice for Restaurants & Retailers:
This investigation is ongoing and the CDC will provide updates when more information is available.
To read more, click here to be directed to the CDC’s website.
Every April and October, the four major card brands (Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover) make policy changes to their interchange fees. Starting this month, a few more changes are being made, but the most notable is that the Big Four will no longer require customer signatures for transactions of any size in a face-to-face environment.
Visa’s policy only applies to EMV chip card transactions, while MasterCard, AmEx and Discover’s policies apply to any terminal or point-of-sale transactions.
What does this have to do with me?
If you’re a small business owner, this has everything to do with you. This latest update may seem small in scale, but it will allow you to reap the most benefit.
Eliminating the requirement for a signature is not only a step forward as the world of digital payment evolves, it also shows that credit and debit cards are becoming more secure (Note: Merchants can still ask for signatures, they will just no longer be required. A receipt must still be provided to a customer if they ask for one, even without a signature).
“What consumers will find reassuring is that removing the need to sign for purchases will not have any impact on safety,” said MasterCard’s executive vice president Linda Kirkpatrick in a recent blog post. “Our secure network and state-of-the-art systems combined with new digital payment methods that include chip, tokenization, biometrics and specialized digital platforms use newer and more secure methods to prove identity.”
So not only can you process transactions more securely and worry-free, the new update also allows you to process customers through your line faster. Think about how many additional seconds signatures added to the day that you’re now able to get back. That accrual of seconds over the course of the day could free up time for you, which could result in less man hours or the time to address other duties, like spending time getting to know your customers, introducing them to the rewards in your customer engagement program or even processing your employee payroll.
Chip on your shoulder?
When you think about it, a scribbled signature on a piece of flimsy receipt paper is not the best line of defense when it comes to fraud protection, especially with the issuing of EMV chip cards. That being said, if you’re a merchant that hasn’t updated to an EMV terminal, these changes will not apply to your business. This can leave you exposed to identity theft and data breaches, so it’s probably best to protect the business you work hard for everyday with amazing security.
The benefits of updating your terminals will reduce the chances of fraud happening and increase customer trust, among other things. (Have we mentioned that Heartland’s EMV chip processors are four times faster than the other guys’? That’s like…even more extra seconds added to your day!)
Onward and Upward
If you have any questions moving forward, please don’t hesitate to contact your Heartland Relationship Manager. Our goal is to always make sure that your business is running as smoothly as possible, and we understand that sometimes changes like these take some getting used to.
The 2018 EXPO Attendee Registration is LIVE! If you're an owner, operations or purchasing manager looking for the latest innovative products and services, make sure you don't miss the premier foodservice event in the Gulf South! See below to register.
The LRA, in partnership with the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry (LABI), would like to invite its members to the Ready4Work Employer Seminar. During this 3-hour informational session on April 13, you will learn about the Ready 4 Work model, help guide its refinement and explore new opportunities for your business to grow its workforce.
Ready4Work is part of the Louisiana Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative, focused on providing opportunities for formerly incarcerated citizens to attain financial stability with the skills and resources necessary to re-enter the workforce and turn away from crime. Business participation in this program is vital to its success. Your input in how it is designed and implemented will lead to full-time employment for those that meet job standards.
Last year, Louisiana released more than 1,400 non-violent offenders from prison as part of its Criminal Justice Reform efforts. If these men and women are given the opportunity to receive training and a job they are proud of, it can lead to a new chapter of their life outside the prison system.
Ready4Work has chapters all across the country, with proven success stories. Jacksonville's program has a recidivism rate of 29 percent, compared to the Department of Correction's recidivism rate of 67 percent.
Louisiana spends almost $20,000 annually for each individual behind bars- a total of over $700 million annually. Our state's highest-in-the-nation imprisonment rate, along with this hefty price tag and poor outcomes, add up to a problem business can no longer ignore.
We hope you will join us for this informative seminar:
Friday, April 13, 2018
600 Carondelet St., New Orleans
World famous butcher, Dario Cecchini is traveling to New Orleans for two days this May to host a series of events at Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse and Tableau, including a butcher workshop and multiple dinners. Dario was invited to New Orleans to experience how Italian culture permeates the city by his apprentice, Richard Brennan III, fourth generation of the New Orleans famed Brennan restaurant family.
The title “World’s Best Butcher” is frequently used to describe Italian butcher, Dario Cecchini. Some of the most revered names in food worship his work. He hails from Panzano in the Chianti region of Italy and his family has a legacy of more than 250 years as butchers, passing the trade down from one generation to the next.
Dario has practiced nose to tail butchery for the past 42 years and believes his work to be an ancient art that involves respect for the animal. There are no premium and lower cuts of meat but rather all parts of the animal are useful if butchered and prepared in an appropriate manner. At this point in his career he sees his role as a teacher and educator. “I am in the phase in my life as an artisan where I feel the need to give away everything I have learned and sow the seeds for the future. It gives me great joy to share my work. I look forward to the pleasure of returning to New Orleans for my second time. A wonderful city—full of positivity and energy, good food, good wine, and lots of great music.”
Richard Brennan III, has had the honor of working as Dario’s apprentice in Panzano over the last year. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Richard’s passion for butchering brought him to Italy to train and work with Dario. Many of the skills he learned with Dario he has brought back to the team at Dickie Brennan and Co., particularly to Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse.
“Learning from Dario has created a shift in the way I approach food and my role as a chef—seeing the animal as a whole and not just a few select cuts. It’s simply amazing what you can create if you have the knowledge and tools. I’m excited for Dario to share this with the New Orleans culinary community,” said Richard Brennan III.
Dickie Brennan & Co. has always partnered with local farmers, fishers and ranchers, but the renewed energy and perspective Richard returned with has ignited a spark. For example, guests at Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse will see “Oyster Steak” as an entrée. This is a cut of beef that comes from the side hip joint and is not commonly seen on menus but is tender with great flavor. This is just one example of making the effort to use the entire animal, rather than just choice cuts.
Dickie Brennan & Co. chefs have also recently met with a Louisiana rancher raising wagyu. As a team they are exploring how to use less well-known cuts throughout the four restaurants. Richard Brennan III is leading the charge to establish increased connections with farmers, and ultimately provide superior quality to guests. He’ll be the first to tell you that his education under Dario goes far beyond butchering techniques and includes an entire philosophy of respecting the animal, of its life, of its death, and consciously using everything to the very last tendon. Attendees of the following events will get first-hand experience of Dario Cecchini’s larger than life personality and philosophy.
Butcher for a Day with world-famous Italian Butcher, Dario Cecchini
Place: Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse
Time: 10 a.m.-Noon
Description: Gain access to the ‘best butcher in the world’ when Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse invites Dario Cecchini into their restaurant. The Butcher for a Day event mirrors the popular experience Dario offers guests visiting his shop in Panzano, Italy.
Guests will see Dario demonstrate his skills preparing a side of Louisiana beef and pork for the following event, a Butcher's Dinner at Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse. Not for the faint of heart, this close-up view of a master butcher at work is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Only 100 tickets available.
Steaks from the event will be auctioned off to benefit the Louisiana Restaurant Association’s Educational Foundation and the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation.
Butcher’s Dinner with Dario Cecchini, Richard Brennan III
Place: Dickie Brennan Steakhouse
Price: $165 (early bird tickets available until March 31 or until sold out. 100 tickets only)
$200 (after March 31 or after first 100 sold)
Description: After a once in a lifetime butchering demonstration by Dario Cecchini, the beef and swine prepared will be the focal point of a coursed meal prepared by the famed butcher and his team who have traveled to New Orleans from Italy. Working alongside will be 4th Generation Brennan family chefs Geordie Brower and Richard Brennan.
Hosted at Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse, the courses will be paired with wine selections from Castello di Ama, one of Italy’s most famous wine producers.
On behalf of your LRA Advocacy Team, and as the 2018 Regular Legislative Session gets underway, we are proud to bring you the first in a series called "Capitol Connection." Our goal is to help keep you informed and involved with legislation at the State Capitol that could impact your business and its profitability. This video provides you with a refresher on the Louisiana Legislature, how a bill becomes a law and which committees legislation impacting the restaurant industry is most often heard.