The National Restaurant Association's Public Affairs Conference, scheduled for April 15-17, 2024, in Washington, D.C., stands as a pivotal moment for businesses in the foodservice world. This event opens its doors to a diverse spectrum of industry players, from quick-service establishments to upscale fine dining venues, encompassing both global giants and local independent operators. At its core, this conference is a powerhouse of advocacy, offering a platform for attendees to actively engage in shaping policies that directly impact their businesses.
Central to the conference's agenda is the opportunity for participants to delve into crucial advocacy issues currently affecting the restaurant landscape. Beyond mere discussions, attendees will meet with Louisiana’s Congressional Delegation, rallying their support for the restaurant industry's causes. This emphasis on grassroots advocacy underscores the significance of collective action in influencing policies and regulations that can make a tangible difference for businesses of all scales.
The roster of events promises an engaging and informative experience. From face-to-face meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to insightful sessions featuring esteemed political speakers, the conference weaves together educational opportunities and strategic networking. It's not solely about discussing policy; it's about mobilizing and making a meaningful impact.
For those pondering the value of attending, the conference stands as an unparalleled platform to effect change. It serves as the industry's largest grassroots advocacy event, empowering attendees to play an active role in shaping policies that affect their operations directly. The importance of participation is underscored by the diverse representation of segments within the restaurant industry, ensuring that voices from across the spectrum are heard and considered.
With an early bird registration fee of $200, becoming a part of this pivotal event holds the potential not just for networking or knowledge gathering, but for wielding influence and contributing to the future of the restaurant industry. It's an opportunity to be at the forefront of change, advocating for policies that could significantly impact the operational landscape for years to come.
Register today here.
Reserve your room at the host hotel here.
The National Restaurant Association and every state restaurant association brought a fresh wave of pressure on lawmakers to overturn the Biden administration’s new joint employer rule via the Congressional Review Act.
— In a letter to the Hill on Thursday, the restaurant associations complained that the new joint employer rule released last month, which could make it easier for companies to face liability for labor law violations involving franchisees or contractors, would have implications that “are profound and far-reaching for the restaurant industry.”
— “This change is not merely administrative; it redefines what it means to be an employer in our industry. Under this rule, the expanded criteria for joint employer status could result in numerous restaurant operators being inadvertently caught in complex legal and regulatory networks, particularly those in franchisor-franchisee relationships or those utilizing third-party vendors,” the groups wrote, warning that it “could limit entrepreneurship and dampen the dynamism essential for restaurants’ continued success and resilience in communities in every state.”
— The National Restaurant Association is at the forefront of the business community’s aggressive opposition push to block the new rule from going into effect. Its legal arm was part of the industry coalition that filed the first legal challenge to the rule last month, and signed on to a letter with more than sixty other trade associations urging Congress to roll back the rule.
The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE) has announced that the 2024 Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award will be presented to chef and restaurateur Donald Link. The gala celebration will take place on January 25 at 7 p.m. at The Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans, with a VIP reception beginning at 6 p.m.
"Chef Link will be honored for his long-standing stewardship of our culinary culture and heritage, his celebration and cultivation of the remarkable bounty of growers, farmers, and fishermen in Southern Louisiana, and his guiding inspiration of future generations of chefs," said Aimee Brown, NOWFE Executive Director.
Inspired by the Cajun and Southern cooking of his grandparents, Louisiana native Chef Donald Link began his professional cooking career at 15 years old. Chef Link has peppered the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans with a collection of award-winning restaurants for the past two decades, including Herbsaint, Cochon, Cochon Butcher, Calcasieu, Pêche Seafood Grill, La Boulangerie, Gianna, and Chemin in the Four Seasons Hotel. Herbsaint earned Chef Link a James Beard award in 2007 for Best Chef South. The same year, Cochon was nominated for Best New Restaurant. The James Beard Foundation has also nominated Chef Link for the prestigious award of Outstanding Chef for multiple years. Pêche Seafood Grill was awarded Best New Restaurant at the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards. Gianna was honored to be named a James Beard Award Nominee for Best New Restaurant 2019. Gourmet Magazine listed Herbsaint as one of the top 50 restaurants in America and was inducted into the Nation’s Restaurant News Hall of Fame. Cochon was listed in The New York Times as “one of the top 3 restaurants that count” and named one of the 20 most important restaurants in America by Bon Appétit. For his commitment to the industry, the Louisiana Restaurant Association honored Link by naming him Restaurateur of the Year in 2012.
The James Beard Foundation also honored Link’s first cookbook – Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana (Clarkson Potter) with its top award for Best American Cookbook. Released in 2009, Real Cajun is a collection of family recipes that Link has honed and perfected while honoring the authenticity of the Cajun people. In February 2014, Link celebrated the release of his second cookbook Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everything (Clarkson-Potter), which looks beyond New Orleans and Louisiana at dishes in nearby states.
The Ella Brennan Award recognizes one individual each year that has made a lifetime commitment to the hospitality industry through extraordinary leadership, personal and professional accomplishments, and philanthropic contributions to the community. The Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award is named for restaurateur legend Ella Brennan. Her deep passion and commitment have made a significant and longstanding impact on the New Orleans hospitality industry. The award's past recipients include Chef Paul Prudhomme, philanthropist Bill Goldring, Chef Leah Chase, restaurateurs Drago and Klara Cvitanovich, Audubon leader Ron Forman, local restaurateur Ralph Brennan, celebrity chef and philanthropist Emeril Lagasse, tourism industry icon Mark Romig, Chef Frank Brigtsen, and Chef Susan Spicer. In 2021, NOWFE presented the Ella Brennan “Stand Up for Your Hometown Award” to recipients who exhibited unwavering love and extended an extraordinary response to support the New Orleans community during the pandemic. Those recipients included Al Copeland, Jr., Phil Moseley and Ronnie Evans, Robert Peyton and Troy Gilbert, Zeid and Marv Ammari, Erich and Jennifer Weishaupt, Devin De Wulf, Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski, Jennifer Kelley Killian, Lauren Darnell, Melvin Rodrigue, Zach Strief, Charles Armstrong, and Isaac and Amanda Toups.
What happened: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued a proposed rule on “Unfair or Deceptive Fees” that would force U.S. businesses to eliminate the use of “hidden” and “misleading” fees. The proposed rule would instead require businesses to post total prices for a service or good, which reflects all costs except shipping and government charges.
Why it matters: If this proposed rule is adopted as written, restaurant operators will have to rewrite their compensation models, increase their menu prices, and overhaul established business practices. Projected compliance costs top $3.5B.
What we're saying: The rule is unworkable as written. The Association strongly opposes this proposed rule and will submit comments.
Learn more: Register for the Association's webinar on the FTC's proposal, happening Thurs., Dec. 7, at 1 p.m. Central.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently announced it would delay the adoption and enforcement of its new joint employer definition until Feb. 26, 2024.
Dive deeper: NLRB cited pending legal challenges, including the Restaurant Law Center’s lawsuit, as the cause of this delay.
Learn more: Check out the Association’s new joint employer policy brief.
2024 What’s Hot Culinary Forecast from the National Restaurant Association predicts top menu trends for next year
Swipe. Like. Crave. More and more, the line between restaurant menus and home cooking is blurring, thanks to social media like TikTok where restaurant dishes become viral sensations and in the right culinary hands popular social “food fads” are translating to menus and limited time offers. That’s according to the National Restaurant Association’s 2024 What’s Hot Culinary Forecast and insights pulled from a survey of 1,500 culinary professionals nationwide—its largest to-date—who identified incorporating social media as one of the top ten hottest trends in 2024.
The survey uncovered several broader menu trends to watch for next year as well as specific dishes, ingredients, flavors, and condiments that are set to become fast favorites among consumers. Topping the list of trends, world soups and stews check all the boxes for consumers and restaurant operators. They’re a safe way for customers to experience new ingredients, an economical way to diversify a menu, and they can be an easy way to integrate healthier options.
Top Trends for 2024
“This year’s trends are dominated by consumer craving for comfort and community with a healthy side of curiosity influenced by social media,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of Research for the Association. “Old favorites like BBQ are taking on new flavors and social sharing is influencing the spread of regional fares like Nashville Hot. Even the chicken competition is going global on local menus.”
Across all the food categories, comfort foods ruled the day, with respondents pointing to soups and stews, stuffed vegetables, and melty cheeses as next year’s hottest trends. In a sign of increasingly sophisticated preferences, natural flavors took center stage for alcohol drinks, including botanicals like spices and herbs, along with low-alcohol spirits, while drinks with perceived health and energy benefits led the way for non-alcohol offerings.
The National Restaurant Association surveyed over 1,500 culinary professionals in the United States from October 9, 2023 - October 23, 2023.
Restaurant operators have until Sunday, January 7 to submit comments on the federal ban for commonly used restaurant fees.
The FTC’s proposed rule contains severe flaws – such as recommending a sweeping menu price increase and mandating that credit card fees must be hidden – which are currently being scrutinized.
It is important that you review this information and submit your comments by January 7, 2024.
If you are interested in submitting feedback and need assistance, please contact Brennan Duckett and Aaron Frazier. The National Restaurant Association and Restaurant Law Center will submit joint comments.
The Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) Greater Baton Rouge Chapter gathered November 15 at the elegant Ruffino’s De La Rhonde Hall for an evening of celebration, recognition, and honor. The 2023 Awards Night brought together esteemed members, industry professionals, and friends to acknowledge the exceptional contributions of individuals who exemplify excellence in the culinary and hospitality sectors.
The event commenced with an opening address by Chapter President Stephen Hightower, welcoming attendees to an evening dedicated to acknowledging the passion, dedication, and ingenuity that define the culinary community within the Greater Baton Rouge Chapter.
The night's highlights included the recognition of several outstanding individuals:
The evening concluded with heartfelt gratitude extended to all awardees, presenters, and attendees for their unwavering passion and dedication. Special recognition was given to Megan Klock and the team at Ruffino’s for an outstanding dinner.
Stephen Hightower emphasized the profound influence and friendship between Bruce Attinger and Mickey Freiberg, highlighting their shared dedication to the LRA's mission and their pivotal role in shaping the industry's future.
As the night drew to a close, Hightower encouraged fostering camaraderie and excellence within the industry, inspired by the exemplary dedication of the evening's honorees.
The LRA Greater Baton Rouge Chapter Awards Night 2023 was a testament to the relentless pursuit of excellence and the unbreakable bond within the culinary and hospitality community.
Funding Supports Youth from Diverse Backgrounds to Further Life Skills
Emeril Lagasse Foundation awarded nearly $200,000 in grants to non-profit organizations that support its mission to inspire, mentor, and enable youth to reach their full potential.
“We support programs that provide mentorship to the most vulnerable youth in our communities. We help them to achieve life skills necessary to gain and sustain employment,” said Emeril Lagasse. “Teaching through food is at the core of what we do.”
Four local entities were awarded Community Grants based on the shared mission to support youth through culinary, nutrition, and arts education with a focus on life skills development: Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation ProStart (LRAEF), New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute (NOCHI), Reconcile New Orleans (RNO),Youth Empowerment Project (YEP).
Also, the Aarón Sánchez Impact Fund (ASIF), a program of Emeril Lagasse Foundation, will enable four Latino youth to receive culinary education in New Orleans through the Aarón Sánchez Scholarship. The students will gain hands-on industry experience, as the program works to diversify future kitchen leadership. Established in 2016, the Aaron Sanchez Scholarship is the signature education program of ASIF.
Unlocking tax advantages for businesses in the food and beverage industry involves understanding Form 8846. This form allows eligible employers to claim crucial credits for social security and Medicare taxes paid on employees' tips.
Here's a breakdown of its key aspects and how to leverage it for maximum benefit.
Purpose of Form 8846
Who Should File
How the Credit Is Figured
The form should be filed by partnerships and S corporations, while other taxpayers can report the credit directly on Form 3800 if they solely receive the credit through a partnership or S corporation. Remember, you can go back up to three years to amend returns if necessary.
Click here to download the form.