“Qualified improvement property,” or QIP is any improvement to the interior portion of an existing nonresidential building, including restaurant, retail, grocer, or other commercial property.
Examples of these improvements include:
Due to a drafting error in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the period over which restaurant owners, retailers, grocers, and other small businesses can expense these facility improvements has nearly tripled – from 15 to 39 years.
The error also excludes these improvements from a benefit called bonus depreciation—which intended to allow businesses full deductions of certain investments over a period of time.
Lawmakers and the Trump Administration recognize that this was a drafting error, and there is bipartisan support to correct the mistake. However, Congressional efforts to fix this provision have stalled, and Treasury officials are not pursuing regulatory or enforcement relief.
As it stands, this QIP glitch is making it more expensive for these businesses to renovate existing facilities and refurbish the insides of new locations.
Unfortunately, if Congress and the White House do not work together to fix this drafting error, many industries will experience unintended consequences, including:
These consequences are contrary to policymakers’ goals of creating jobs, increasing investment and promoting economic growth via meaningful tax reform.
We are calling on Congress to fix this error and pass the Restoring Investment in Improvements Act (S. 803/H.R. 1869) as soon as possible.
The Louisiana Restaurant Association is pleased to announce the selection of Ashley Wethey Counce as its Communications and Sponsorships Manager. In her new role, Counce will manage the LRA’s communications platforms and oversee its media relationships and corporate sponsorship activities.
“Ashley will be instrumental to the LRA team as we evolve the way in which we connect to our members,” said Wendy Waren, VP of Communications. “Her experience will help us transform our communication methods in the next decade as we work to engage restaurateurs of all ages.”
Since her graduation from Louisiana State University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication, Counce has spent more than a decade in the public relations industry as a Media Relations Manager for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Counce is particularly versed in crisis communication, having coordinated the agency’s communications efforts following major hurricanes, the BP oil spill and unprecedented flooding in 2019. In her former role, Counce also specialized in social media management and was responsible for the exponential growth of the agency’s online presence.
Outside of her position at LDWF, she has served as the Assistant Executive Director of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation, coordinating its annual fundraiser.
She is eager to shift her professional focus towards Louisiana’s restaurant and hospitality industry, serving LRA members’ communications needs and spearheading its sponsorship initiatives.
“Who wouldn’t want to be part of Louisiana’s restaurant industry, no matter the way, shape or form?” questioned Counce. “Food is a way of life here in Louisiana, and our restaurants are an expression of our heritage, identity and culinary talents. I look forward to serving Louisiana’s restaurant industry, one of the greatest economic drivers and employers in the state.”
It has recently come to our attention that there are counterfeit $100 bills circulating around the Northshore. The LRA wants to ensure restaurant owners/employees are familiar with the proper protocol for spotting a fake bill.
If you suspect you are in possession of a counterfeit bill, examine it carefully. Compare the bill in question with a real bill of the same dollar amount and printing series.
There are several factors to consider when trying to identify fake bills from real currency:
Watch this short video below to familiarize yourself with the steps on how to tell if you're carrying genuine currency. Click here to learn more.
The Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) Greater Baton Rouge Chapter is delighted to host its “Sip and Stroll Downtown,” presented by Hancock Whitney, on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. The event will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m.at The Trademark on Third, 326 Third Street and The Loft at Cecelia, 421 N. Third Street in downtown Baton Rouge. VIP attendees will kick off their evening with champagne and sushi at Tsunami, 100 Lafayette St. at 5:30 p.m.
Sip and Stroll will feature progressive wine and food pairings from local LRA member restaurants at some of downtown Baton Rouge’s finest event venues. VIP partygoers will begin their night at Tsunami at 5:30 p.m. General admission guests will start their evening at 6:30 p.m. at The Trademark where they will enjoy wine, hors d’oeuvres and a live auction while listening to the sounds of The Michael Foster Project. The evening doesn’t end there. Attendees will then take a relaxing stroll to The Loft at Cecelia to polish off the night with even more delicious food, wine and cocktails.
Guests should bring their appetites, as they will be able to sample bites and wine from a plethora of area restaurants and bars including Beausoleil Restaurant and Bar, Cecelia Creole Bistro, Duvic’s, The Gilded Artichoke, Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar, Kalurah Street Grill, L’Auberge Baton Rouge, Neat Wines, Phil’s Oyster Bar and Seafood Restaurant, Portobello’s Grill, Reinhart Foodservice, Republic National Distributing Company, The River Room and Rouj Creole.
The auction is guaranteed to generate some friendly competition with prizes that include private dining packages, sporting events tickets, a “Date Night for a Year” package and more!
“We are excited to bring this premier event to downtown Baton Rouge again this year,” said Greater Baton Rouge Chapter President Lisa Boudreaux-Lecoq. “The city’s restaurant industry continues to flourish, particularly downtown. The evening represents the efforts of our restaurants, businesses and stakeholders who want to see continued success in the Greater Baton Rouge area. It’s become much more than a fundraiser – it’s a celebration of our area’s culinary scene.”
A portion of the proceeds from Sip and Stroll will benefit the LRA Education Foundation (LRAEF). The LRAEF, in turn, will use monies raised to further promote the restaurant industry as a career choice through its restaurant management and culinary arts program, ProStart, offered at sixty high schools statewide, 19 in the greater Baton Rouge area alone. It will also enhance the restaurant community through expanded educational and career opportunities, including culinary and hospitality scholarships.
Sip and Stroll is open to the public. General admission tickets are $75. Elevate your event experience with the purchase of a $100 VIP ticket to enjoy an additional hour of entertainment and sweeping sunset views of the Mississippi River. To purchase, visit the “upcoming events” tab on the LRA website at www.LRA.org. General admission tickets will also be available at the door the evening of the event for $75.
For more information, contact LRA Chapter Member Services Coordinator, Britney Ford, at email@example.com or (225) 240-7189.
The Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) Acadiana Chapter is excited to partner with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s (UL) Department of Hospitality Management for the third annual “Acadiana Food and Wine Soirée,” on Wednesday, November 6, 2019, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the UL Student Ballroom located at 620 McKinley St. in Lafayette.
Guests are guaranteed an evening filled with culinary specialties from some of the area’s finest restaurants, along with extensive wine tastings and entertainment provided by solo pianist Julie Williams. Event entry includes a commemorative wine glass as well as the opportunity to win an assortment of wines. If you love a wine you sip, you can buy the bottle!
“We are excited to bring the Acadiana Food and Wine Soiree back for its third year,” said LRA Acadiana Chapter President Linda Arnaud. “The funds raised from this event will support future generations of the restaurant and hospitality industry through education and training, so why not eat and drink for a good cause?”
Guests will enjoy bites from area restaurants including Charley G’s, Fezzo’s, Zea Rotisserie and Bar, Randol’s Restaurant, and more.
In coordination with the event, a raffle drawing will take place for an entire year’s worth of meals to many of Acadiana’s tastiest restaurants valued at $5,200. Contest entry is not restricted to event ticket holders, so all are invited to try their luck and enter the 52 Weeks of Dining raffle. The winning raffle ticket will be drawn the evening of the event, and the individual selected is not required to be present to be eligible. Please note, the purchase of a raffle ticket does permit entry into the event. Tickets are on sale now through November 5, 2019, at noon for $10 each at SipItLoveItBuyIt.com.
A portion of the proceeds from Acadiana Food and Wine Soirée will benefit the LRA Education Foundation (LRAEF) and the UL Department of Hospitality Management. Monies raised will be used by the LRAEF to further promote the restaurant industry as a career choice through its restaurant management and culinary arts program, ProStart®, offered at eight Acadiana high schools.
This event would not be possible without the support of our sponsors: Republic National Distributing Company, POUR Restaurant and Bar, Lafayette Travel, and Home Bank.
Tickets are available online for $50 per person at www.sipitloveitbuyit.com. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door. Attendees must be 21 or older.
For more information about the event or sponsorships, contact LRA Chapter Member Services Coordinator Britney Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org or (225) 240-7189.
By Andre Nataf, Senior Vice President of Heartland Point of Sale
When choosing a cloud-based point of sale, it’s important to know that not all are created equal.
Maybe you currently have an on-premise restaurant POS and want to make the move to cloud. Or maybe you’re already using a restaurant cloud POS, but it’s not delivering what you were promised. Don’t make the wrong purchasing decision because someone calls you nonstop to tell you “they know what you need because they come from the restaurant industry."
Here are six things to look for in a cloud-based POS that will help prevent buyer’s remorse.
1. Know the true cost of what you’re buying
With a cloud-based POS system, you pay a monthly subscription. This software as a service (SaaS) model lowers acquisition cost by not requiring you to make an expensive, upfront hardware purchase. Software should be automatically updated at no additional charge. However, the monthly fee isn’t the only thing to keep in mind. Know exactly which features are included in the package you’re signing up for. You might find that a feature you thought would come standard is a pricey add-on or only available on a premium plan. Also, be wary of companies offering lower rates if you commit to a year or more. If you are unhappy with the POS solution, breaking the contract can come with steep fees. For example, breaking a contract might still commit you to paying the full fees of every transaction you would have made if you were still using the POS.
2. A cloud POS should integrate with multiple processors
In addition to the monthly subscription, know how much you’re going to be spending on processing fees. Your cloud POS should support independent credit authorization. This gives you the option of choosing a payment processor that is competitively priced and transparent. Beware of POS systems that come with a mandatory payment processor. They often charge more for flat rate processing and hide fees in merchant statements. You can save money per transaction by choosing a processor that offers you interchange-plus pricing.
3. One size doesn’t fit all ― it only fits the seller’s business model
Every restaurant is different, and therefore has specific and unique needs. Do you need a solution that supports table service, quick service or bar? Do you want to boost revenue through online ordering? Do you want to improve guest interaction? Do you want to cut costs? Is the wait at your restaurant so long that guests leave to eat next door? It might seem like a no brainer, but make sure you know what business issues you want to solve and what business opportunities you want to pursue. Compare these to the features a cloud POS offers to ensure it checks all your boxes. Ask for an in person, physical demo. Additionally, inquire if the cloud POS uses open application programming interfaces (APIs) so you can seamlessly integrate with complementary third-party software apps. Do your due diligence on solutions claiming to be “one size fits all.” The diverse nature and demands of your restaurant will likely be better served by a tailored cloud POS solution that can both meet your every need and flexibly scale.
4. You can never have too much security
A cloud POS is more secure than an on-premise POS as long as it provides end-to-end data encryption, tokenization and EMV authentication. This significantly reduces your risk of fraud and chargebacks, and your customers won’t have to worry about stolen card information. Also consider using a processor that offers the added benefit of a breach warranty to further protect your business. Security is not an area you can afford to skimp on.
5. Don’t shut down because the Internet goes down
Choose a cloud POS that continues to work offline when the Internet goes down. This ensures you can still do essential functions such as taking orders and processing payments. Orders and credit card information is simply queued until your connection is restored, allowing your business to operate as normal during an outage. This requires a fully redundant solution that is built on apps running on local devices that back up data to one another regardless of Internet availability.
6. Customer service shouldn’t keep you waiting
Investing in a new cloud POS is a big undertaking. Remember you’re not just choosing a POS you are also choosing a POS provider. Practically every company boasts about its customer service. But while many companies claim 24/7 service, it often comes at an added price, or simply means you can email support and get put in a queue. Check and see if the company’s live chat service actually sets you up with a local representative. Partner with a local dealer that has a proven track record of providing POS solutions to the restaurant industry – one that is responsive, reliable and provides high touch training and support long after your purchase. A dealer living in your community is far more valuable than a remote help desk. A dealer will configure and install your cloud POS and be your support, consultant and advocate for life.
If you’ve investing in the right cloud POS system, all of these capabilities, and more, should be at your fingertips. Your POS should do everything from processing transactions and tracking customers’ purchasing habits to managing digital signage content. It should provide access to real-time analytics on a smartphone, and track sales performance, employee time and attendance and inventory so you to make smarter, data-driven decisions.
The fact that not all cloud-based POS systems offer these things is a reminder that it is your responsibility to thoroughly do your due diligence: talk with local dealers, get in person demonstrations, read reviews and look at cloud POS ratings.
The U.S. Department of Labor released the final version of its overtime exemption rule today (Sept. 24). It sets the annual salary threshold workers need to exceed to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FSLA) "white collar" exemptions at $35,000. The rule will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
Scheduled to be published Sept. 25 in the Federal Register, the final rule updates the FLSA’s overtime exemptions for Executive, Administrative and Professional (EAP) workers and replaces a currently enjoined rules that was finalized by the Dept. of Labor in 2016.
Similarly to the version proposed in early 2019, the final rule raises the salary threshold to qualify for one of the EAP exemptions to $35,568 per year or $684 per week — up from the current $23,660 annual salary. The current threshold was last updated by the George W. Bush administration in 2004 and is nearly $12,000 lower than the Obama administration's proposed $47,476 cutoff.
The new thresholds account for growth in employee earnings since the currently enforced thresholds were set in 2004. In the final rule, the DOL is:
A 2016 final rule to change the overtime thresholds was enjoined by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on November 22, 2016, and was subsequently invalidated by that court. As of November 6, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has held the appeal in abeyance pending further rulemaking regarding a revised salary threshold. As the 2016 final rule was invalidated, the DOL has consistently enforced the 2004 level throughout the last 15 years.
More information about the final rule is available here. If you have questions and would like to confer with the LRA General Counsel for Labor & Employment Fisher Phillips, please contact the LRA Communications Dept. at 504-454-2277.
The Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) is pleased to name three new Restaurant Legends and one state National Restaurant Association Restaurant Neighbor Award winner in the Acadiana Chapter. Tom Yongue of Freshko Foodservice in Lake Charles and Terry and Carnel Harrison of Café Bella in Lafayette were recognized as LRA Restaurant Legends, and Leonard Louvierre of Zea’s Rotisserie and Grill was recognized as the LRA State Award winner of the Restaurant Neighbor Award. These recipients were honored at the LRA Acadiana Chapter Dinner and Awards Presentation at City Club at River Ranch on September 16, 2019.
The Restaurant Legends Award recognizes the long-term dedication of employees of the restaurant industry, with 20 or more years of service at an establishment. With over 76 years of combined service, these three Restaurant Legends exemplify what it means to have a rewarding career in our industry.
Tom Yongue has been employed with Freshko Outside Sales since 1995. He is described by his supervisors as a loyal and dedicated employee since day one.
Terry Harrison and Carnel Harrison have been with Café Bella since 1993. Both Terry and Carnel are described as stellar employees with fantastic worth ethics and attitudes. Terry is the Head Chef at Café Bella and Carnel is the Sous Chef.
“It’s individuals like Tom, Terry and Carnel that are the heart of this industry,” said Stan Harris, LRA President and CEO. “They don’t just do their jobs masterfully; they inspire those around them to be the best they can be. That’s what makes a true restaurant legend.”
Yongue, Terry and Carnel Harrison join more than 260 individuals in our state recognized by the LRA through its Restaurant Legends program. Collectively, these industry professionals have more than 5,000 years of service to Louisiana restaurants and suppliers.
The Restaurant Neighbor Award honors restaurateurs for outstanding community service and involvement and highlights the positive contributions restaurateurs make in their local communities. This year’s state winner is Leonard Louvierre, Partner and General Manage of Zea Rotisserie and Grill, Lafayette.
Louvierre is known by his peers as a kind, compassionate and charitable man that is committed to serving his community. As a cancer survivor himself, Louvierre has been a board member on the Dance to a Cure Cancer event, won the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Man of the Year, and holds a Crawfish Boil for Hospice of Acadiana annually. He also serves as a Team Leader at KAIROS Prison Ministry at Angola, the largest maximum-security prison in the United States.
“I’ve known and worked with him for 17 years and I continue to be impressed with his commitment to serving his community,” said Greg Reggio of Taste Buds Management, which operates Zea and Semonlina Restaurants, as he presented the award to Louvierre. “Leonard’s faith is the centerpiece of his life and work. He’s willing to put himself in situations with people are at their most vulnerable and provide guidance and more importantly, hope.”
Hungry partygoers to decide who wears the Chowdown Crown: LRA Northshore Chapter hosts its “Northshore Chowdown: Taco Takeover”
The Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) Northshore Chapter is excited to present the second annual event, “Northshore Chowdown: Taco Takeover,” which will be held Thursday, September 19, 2019 at Benedict’s Plantation, 1144 N. Causeway Blvd. in Mandeville from 6-9 p.m.
Northshore Chowdown, which is featuring a taco battle between the participating chefs, will feature LRA member restaurants’ taco-inspired dishes, margaritas, raffles and more. The public is invited to taste their way through the evening and vote on their favorite to receive the Chowdown Crown.
“Last year’s event was such a success, we have decided to host the second-annual Taco Takeover event for the Northshore Chapter at the beautiful Benedict’s Plantation in Mandeville,” said LRA Northshore Chapter President Jake Palmer. “We hope you can join us on September 19 for an evening of delicious tacos, cold margaritas, and a little friendly competition!”
A few of the competing restaurants are: The Shack, Benedict’s Plantation, Acme Oyster House, Old Rail Brewing Company, Half Shell Oyster House, The Rusty Pelican and St. Ann Wine Bar.
A portion of the proceeds from Northshore Chowdown: Taco Takeover will benefit the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation (LRAEF). The LRAEF, in turn, will use monies raised to further promote the restaurant industry as a career choice through its restaurant management and culinary arts program, ProStart®, offered at seven Northshore Louisiana schools.
Thank you to our sponsors for the event: Acme Oyster House, Community Coffee, LRA SIF, MMI Culinary, New Orleans Fish House, Piggly Wiggly/Mizer’s, PJ’s Coffee, Sauza Tequila, Tito’s Vodka, Toast Inc., and Trinchero Family Estates.
Tickets are available at $35 per person. To purchase tickets, visit www.LRA.org (Upcoming Events). Admission price includes food tastings, two margaritas and two voting tickets.
NOTE: This event is open to the public, for ages 21 and up.
For more information about the event or sponsorships, contact LRA Chapter Member Services Coordinator Ellyn Davis at email@example.com or (504) 303-4660.
Help us celebrate National Food Safety Month in September by connecting your members to these great resources: In our ongoing commitment to food safety, ServSafe is proud to announce this year’s National Food Safety Month (NFSM) theme, “Controlling Risk: The Elements of a Food Safety Management System.” We hope your association will celebrate with us throughout September by passing these resources along to your members, as we explore how managers and employees can work together to develop and implement strong Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) at their operation.
Having a solid FSMS in place can provide a framework for an operation’s entire team to know and implement practices that keep guests, employees, and the business safe. While management designs and implements the FSMS, employees must understand and carry out its policies and procedures. Their role is key to making sure the FSMS works the way it should.
We’ve provided weekly activity sheets, posters, and infographics on www.foodsafetyfocus.com for you to pass along to your members for them to share with their employees. They can also be found in the NFSM section of Brandfolder as well. These assets are designed to help managers and employees work together to ensure food safety throughout their operation. Weekly themes are:
• Week 1 (9/3): Understand the Process
• Week 2 (9/9): Provide Input
• Week 3 (9/16): Refine the Process
• Week 4 (9/23): Maintain Your Commitment
This year’s NFSM sponsor is Tork, an Essity brand. The Tork brand offers professional hygiene products and services to customers ranging from restaurants and healthcare facilities to offices, schools and industries.
We encourage your association and your members to join the conversation on Twitter (@ServSafe) and Facebook (@NationalRestaurantAssociationServSafe) using #NFSM2019 #FoodSafetyMonth #FoodSafetyFocus. Questions? Contact Robin Boyce at (312) 627-2432.