The first weekend of Mardi Gras yielded reports that the City of New Orleans and the Louisiana Office of Alcohol & Tobacco Control (ATC), were active throughout the Metro area. To avoid citations, fines and possible license suspension, please review the following checklist to ensure compliance. Be sure to review with your staff the alcohol rules and regulations of which they are subject.
The industry's grassroots effort to include Replenishing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (S.2675) into the government spending bill is approaching its 11th hour, as Congress has until Feb. 18 to come to a compromise. For thousands of Louisiana operators who applied for the RRF, but weren't funded, it is critical as they look towards a future. Without it, many will close the doors of their restaurants, laying to rest their life's work, livelihoods for themselves and those they employ.
This National effort has generated an outstanding response of over 45,000 letters to Congress. Louisiana has sent over 1,100 letters to Louisiana's Congressional members. If you have not contacted Congress to urge them to Replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, DO NOT DELAY. Take Action here.
With Fat Tuesday only two weeks away, many restaurants are in the thick of a make-or-break moment. Our President and CEO Stan Harris spoke with Tommy Tucker on WWL First News about the reemergence of Mardi Gras festivities and what this year means for restaurants in the French Quarter, and around the city.
"That is 100% true especially for your full service or table service, not just fine dining," said Harris who said last year's loss of Mardi Gras parades and activities was financially devastating. "All of that was just hundred of millions of dollars of lost opportunity."
Lots of restaurants are continuing to operate on limited hours with a sized-down staff. Many operators have had higher than normal turnover rates in their restaurants, and keeping a staff seems to be a key factor in getting through the Mardi Gras season.
"That is going to really tell the tale of if restaurants can operate later in the day and expanding the days of the week that they operate."
This week, we honor Louisiana Restaurant Legend Andre Garel (posthumously). He was a server at The Rib Room for 24 years, inside of the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel. Andre suddenly passed away on January 3, 2022, shortly after his 24th anniversary with the restaurant.
Human Resources Director Tanja Davis nominated Andre for his sharp customer service and friendly demeanor.
"As news of his death spread, his coworkers and guests began sharing their stories of memorable times with him. He was a leader amongst his peers and was the epitome of service for his guests. He knew what his guests wanted before they asked and he made each of them feel special."
Posing with the plaque are Andre's coworkers:
Jason Turner, Restaurant Manager (left)
Ivo Arkulin, Director of Food & Beverage (right)
Metairie, LA— The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation (LRAEF) is pleased to announce it has distributed $25,914 to ProStart® programs around the state through its ProStart Program Support Fund. Since 2014, the LRAEF has awarded $349,469 to its ProStart programs—funds which in part are made up from grants from our 2022 partner organizations the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation, JP Morgan Chase Bank Foundation and the Fore! Kids Foundation.
Nineteen eligible ProStart programs will receive funding this year. The first check was presented to ProStart educator Alan Boyd of Young Audiences Charter High School.
Upon receiving the $1,000 check, Boyd said, “As a new ProStart program, we’re still trying to secure all of the equipment and supplies we need. This money will go a long way in helping us achieve that goal.”
To be considered, applicants indicated their needs along with a specific action plan on how the funds would be spent. Nineteen recipient schools will receive an average of $1,400 to help defray the costs of testing materials, perishables, small wares, capital projects, field trips, and the upcoming Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers ProStart Invitational at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center on March 29 and 30.
LRAEF Executive Director Jonathan Baynham said, “Louisiana ProStart schools are still feeling the effects of COVID-19, just like our restaurant industry. Thanks to our amazing sponsors the LRAEF was able to help alleviate some of the financial burden on our ProStart programs. We want all participating schools to have the equipment, materials, and opportunities necessary to run a successful program. These funds help us achieve that goal.”
Schools receiving funds in the spring allocation include: Pearl River High School in Pearl River, Young Audiences Charter High School in Gretna, Istrouma High School ProStart in Baton Rouge, W.D. & Mary Baker Smith Career Center in Lafayette, Hammond High Magnet School in Hammond, Walker High School ProStart Program in Walker, Sulphur High School in Sulphur, Salmen High School in Slidell, Chalmette High School in Chalmette, Lafourche Parish School District ProStart in Lockport, Red River High School ProStart in Coushatta, East St. John High School in Reserve, Woodlawn High School in Baton Rouge, Abbeville High School in Abbeville, Leesville High School in Leesville, Springfield High School in Springfield, West Monroe High School in West Monroe, Plaquemine High School in Plaquemine, and Washington Career and Technical Education Center in Washington.
ProStart is a nationwide, two-year program for high school students that develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s industry leaders. From culinary techniques to management skills, ProStart’s industry-driven curriculum provides real-world educational opportunities and builds practical skills and a foundation that will last a lifetime. The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation is supported by our annual partners AutoChlor, ACME Oyster House and Ecolab. If interested in making a donation, please contact Jonathan Baynham, email@example.com or (504) 454-2277.
The LRA Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization that is the philanthropic partner of the Louisiana Restaurant Association. The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation mission is to enhance the industry’s service to the public through education, community engagement, workforce development and promotion of career opportunities. ProStart is a two-year restaurant management and culinary arts curriculum in more than 50 high schools statewide. ProStart is a trademark of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. ProStart is a registered trademark of the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation.
This year, Winter Educator Training was held at the John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux February 4, with a record 41 ProStart educators attending. Led by Mistica Maples-Adams, LRAEF Program Manager, educators experienced a boot camp to prepare them for the upcoming Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers Louisiana ProStart Invitational, March 29-30th.
“It’s been two years since our educators have prepared students and participated in the invitational,” said Maples-Adams. “Some of the rules for competing have been updated and our newer teachers have yet to attend or participate in the invitational.”
In addition, the training included two JFCI students in a cook-off with LPSI Head Judge Randy Cheramie, who led two volunteer educators through the judging process. One student demonstrated how to use Blue Runner white beans as a puree to elevate the pan roasted quail dish, and Maples-Adams covered the national rule change that now enables competitors to use pre-soaked beans in competition.
Regional Leader of Recruiting for Raising Cane’s Brigette Monistere spoke to the group about the ability for Raising Cane’s to help the students achieve their Certificate of Achievement (COA) by working at a Cane’s near them. “Those leaders in your class, those are students we are really interested in. We are looking for students we can train as managers if that’s what they are interested in,” said Monistere.
Another session featured the Registered Youth Restaurant Apprenticeship program led by David Emond, who explained the pre-apprenticeship requirements in which ProStart students are applicable.
“It’s important that the ProStart educators can bridge their students from ProStart into an apprenticeship in the industry to further their career,” said LRAEF Executive Director Jonathan Baynham. “The NRA Educational Foundation sees pre-apprenticeship and ProStart as complimentary to one another.”
The LRAEF wishes to thank the John Folse Culinary Institute for hosting the one-day training event, and the Bayou Chapter for providing lunch from LRA member Spahr’s. Summer Educator Training planning is underway and will be held June 20-22 in New Orleans.
After a seemingly interminable intermission, the Louisiana Restaurant Association Cenla Chapter’s annual carnival extravaganza, “Taste of Mardi Gras,” will be back in full force when it returns to the Alexandria on February 25. The 27th iteration of the event will be held Friday, February 25 from 7 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. at the Randolph Riverfront Center.