The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is collecting information about current business conditions in the restaurant industry. Should take less than 15 minutes to complete. Deadline is Nov. 12. Take the survey here.
Quick Take: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has released its final joint employer rule, broadening the conditions under which two businesses might be considered jointly liable for legal issues or organizing campaigns. The National Restaurant Association strongly opposes the NLRB’s final rule.
This rule will come into effect on December 26, 2023.
History Revisited: Previously, joint employer status was largely contingent on an entity's “direct and immediate control” over the key terms of another organization's employees. The 2020 Final Rule provided clear boundaries, granting certainty to industry participants.
What’s New: The NLRB's latest update expands the joint employer standard. Now, entities can be jointly classified by "sharing or co-determining" essential aspects of employment terms. This change encompasses both indirect influences and reserved controls. Entities identified as joint employers are obligated to participate in collective bargaining with the union representing their shared employees. Furthermore, they're potentially liable for each other's unfair labor practices and become vulnerable to union pressures in the event of labor disputes.
Expanding the Scope:
The implications of the rule aren't confined to explicit, direct relationships. Circumstances where an entity impacts another’s employees through intermediaries or merely possesses (but does not exercise) control over employment conditions can now indicate a joint employer dynamic.
Who’s Affected: The franchise business model is squarely in the crosshairs. While the 2020 Final Rule, under the "direct and immediate" standard, provided a conducive environment for the industry to flourish, the current iteration neglects the industry's concerns. In the Association and Restaurant Law Center’s (RLC) comments to the proposed rule, we emphasized that, at the very least, the rule should clarify that it does not encompass franchise agreements or other clauses tied to legitimate business reasons, such as brand maintenance and product quality. Regrettably, our suggestions weren't heeded.
Bigger Picture: This is not just a minor regulatory adjustment; it's a foundational change. The rule's lack of clarity could spur extensive legal challenges and increased liability risks. Amid these unprecedented challenges, the Association and RLC are exploring all avenues, including potential legislative and legal actions, to restore a practical standard.
For More Information:
The following interview was published in LaPolitics on Thursday, October 12, 2023
In a brief Q&A with LaPolitics Weekly's Jeremy Alford, Stan Harris, President and CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association, discusses key industry issues. Covering topics from the proposed U.S. Department of Labor overtime pay threshold to members' concerns about insurance costs and state income tax legislation, Harris provides succinct insights. The conversation also touches on the 2024 session and the association's efforts to educate the new Legislature. Harris, drawing on his 30-year leadership in the restaurant industry, briefly reflects on personal connections. This interview offers a concise snapshot of policy, industry concerns, and Harris's professional journey.
JA: The U.S. Department of Labor is proposing a new threshold for overtime pay, so there are a lot of folks in the restaurant or hospitality industries trying to figure out how this fits into current operational structures. What are you hearing from your members?
SH: Stan Harris, president and CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association: Obviously this proposed new rule would impact a significant number of restaurants, bars and others in our industry. At present, we are encouraging them to submit their comments or questions during the comment period. Doubtful it will have much impact, but feedback is always important.
JA: What were some of the issues your members were hoping to hear about from candidates this cycle?
SH: Statewide, the cost and availability of commercial insurance, especially property and also flood, are top of mind. The same goes for crime and public safety. And the last is how do we create legislation that would eliminate the state income tax. As most small businesses, like LRA members, are pass-thru enterprises, this could provide a great benefit to them.
JA: What’s at the top of your membership’s to-do list for the 2024 regular session?
SH: Working with the new Legislature to educate them on the challenges of operating a restaurant, bar or catering business as well as how important our industry is to providing first jobs and second chances. We also need an update to our workers comp system’s medical fee schedule, which is a hidden cost. We missed that opportunity the last term.
JA: When it comes to association management, what are your expectations for next term? There will be plenty of new elected personalities to meet and work with in the coming months…
SH: Relationships in politics are valuable. Our goal is to provide clarity and accuracy in our information on issues we engage on. Being truthful is the best currency.
JA: Most folks reading this probably know you from your public policy work, but you actually spent 30 years in leadership roles in the restaurant industry, including with TJM Restaurant Management. You’re still working in the same arena, so to speak, but what do you miss most about that direct connection to the hospitality industry?
SH: I miss a great deal of our team members. I hear from and see a lot of them across the country. Congressman Mike Johnson was one of our team members, as was Representative Laurie Schlegel. I made great friendships with many of our guests, and keeping those connections are important to me.
The LRA Acadiana Chapter celebrated a triumphant inaugural golf tournament on October 16 at The Wetlands Golf Course in Lafayette. A perfect backdrop of clear blue skies and crisp breezes set the stage for a day of golf, all in support of a worthy cause—the proceeds benefiting LRA programs, notably ProStart.
The team from Superior Grill clinched the first-place victory, and in a playful nod, Randy Daniel, Acadiana Chapter President, humorously attributed their win to abstaining from their tempting frozen margaritas they were expertly serving, giving them a distinct edge.
A heartfelt expression of gratitude goes out to our generous sponsors whose support made the LRA Acadiana Chapter's inaugural golf tournament a resounding success: Ben E. Keith, Shilling's (Mike's Hard Lemonade, Corona, & Bud Light), Lafayette CVB, Tony Chachere's, Louisiana Seafood, Mel's Diner, Republic National Distributing Company (Pernod Richard), Coca-Cola, Sysco, Performance Foodservice, LRA Workers' Comp, Loop Linen, Buffalo Wild Wings, Raising Cane's, and Cintas.
Special thanks are also extended to the participating restaurants and dedicated members who ensured our golfers were not only well-equipped but well-fed, including Fezzo's, Prejean's, Mel's Diner, Deano's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Superior Grill, Mercy Kitchen/La Pizzeria, Ruffino's on the River, Zea's, Tony Chachere's, Petroleum Club of Lafayette, Sysco, Capitol City Produce, and Ben E. Keith.
The success of this event not only showcased the skill and camaraderie of the participating teams but also demonstrated the community's commitment to supporting the LRA’s meaningful initiatives. Congratulations to all involved for a memorable day of golf for a good cause!
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is proposing significant changes to restaurant pricing, aiming to eliminate mandatory fees and provide recommendations on tipping and credit card charges. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is closely monitoring, expressing concerns about perceived overreach. The NRA highlights potential impacts on restaurants, questions the FTC's authority, and emphasizes the need for industry education. Updates for LRA members will be provided as discussions progress.
Here's a brief summary of the proposed changes, NRA concerns, and ongoing efforts to inform the restaurant community.
Proposed Impact on Restaurants:
Concerns about FTC Overreach from the NRA:
"This proposed rule appears to be a scattershot plan that both attacks the restaurant business model and forces us to raise our prices. Small business restaurant owners create the economic engines of their local economies, which is why it is disappointing that this proposed rule appears to be a one-size-fits-all rule for businesses big and small. We’re still closely reviewing what the FTC has included about restaurants and analyzing the ways in which their proposal will fundamentally change the way restaurants do business so that we can provide appropriate comments on what we expect will be far-reaching impacts." --Sean Kennedy, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, National Restaurant Association
Rough Timeline for the FTC Proposed Rule on “Unfair or Deceptive Fees”:
We appreciate your ongoing attention to this matter and will keep you updated as we delve deeper into the implications of the proposed rule.
Bite-sized Brilliance: LRA Northshore's Sip N Slider's Event Delights Palates and Ignites Culinary Passion!
The LRA Northshore Chapter recently hosted its annual Chow Down event, featuring mini burgers in its Sip N Slider's themed gathering. This unique event brought together local businesses and students from Salmen High School, Pearl River High School, Mandeville High School, and Lakeshore High School, who collaborated with participating LRA member restaurants, including Acme Oyster House, Mr. Mudbug Catering, Zea Rotisserie, and Tchefuncte's Restaurant.
The event took place on October 12 at The Anchor in Madisonville and served as a platform for the Northshore area ProStart Programs to showcase their culinary talents. The highlight of the occasion was the mentorship provided by the partnering restaurants, offering valuable insights to the students and elevating their slider-making skills.
A special thanks goes to the event sponsors, including Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits, Ecolab, Acme Oyster House, PJ's Coffee, LRA Workers' Comp, Piggly Wiggly, and Sysco, whose support contributed significantly to the success of the event. Their involvement reflects a strong commitment to community engagement and the development of local talent.
Overall, the Chow Down event not only celebrated culinary creativity but also fostered collaboration between the community's businesses and educational institutions. The students had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and learn from industry professionals, making it a memorable and enriching experience for all involved.
Navigating the Waters: LRA's Ongoing Updates on Mississippi River Saltwater Intrusion & Business Preparedness
In the wake of the unprecedented threat posed by saltwater intrusion into the Mississippi River, the Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) remains vigilant in its efforts to keep the community informed.
Recent updates, as conveyed by LRA President and CEO Stan Harris, reveal evolving dynamics in the situation. During a recent collaborative discussion with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), it was disclosed that the anticipated dates for saltwater intrusion have been extended, and there's even a possibility of no impact at all.
Affected parishes are proactively constructing pipelines to transport supplemental freshwater from upriver to crucial water processing plants. The LDH has implemented a robust plan to test water salinity, providing ongoing monitoring.
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness disseminates regular updates through their website (emergency.la.gov), ensuring real-time information on potential saltwater intrusion.
As the LRA continues to diligently monitor reports from government agencies, the latest insights shed light on the constructive progress of supplemental pipelines, offering a glimmer of hope amidst this challenging scenario.
October 9 Update:
Building on the positive developments reported October 5, the LRA remains steadfast in providing detailed updates on the progression of saltwater intrusion in the Mississippi River. The Corps commits to weekly updates on the saltwater wedge's location, should it advance in the river.
Noteworthy considerations for businesses include the US Food and Drug Administration's salinity trigger at 250 ppm, with a focus on taste, and specific recommendations for vulnerable populations like nursing mothers or those with kidney conditions.
In discussions with the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board, efforts to maintain dilution levels below 250 ppm are ongoing, with current testing showing 40-60 ppm. For businesses reliant on municipal water, especially those with equipment like ice machines, tea and coffee brewers, and cooling towers, it is advised to consult equipment manufacturers or their manuals for salinity-specific recommendations.
The LRA assures its members that updates will be disseminated promptly as the situation unfolds, emphasizing the importance of adapting business practices to safeguard against potential disruptions caused by saltwater intrusion.
In today's workplace, where the digital landscape is integral to daily operations, maintaining strong digital hygiene is paramount. Poor cybersecurity practices can expose individuals and organizations to risks such as phishing, whaling, and spamming. Let's delve into each and outline three key tips for professionals to navigate these potential pitfalls:
Phishing: Definition: Phishing involves fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive information, often through deceptive emails or messages.
Whaling (Spear Phishing): Definition: Whaling is a targeted form of phishing where attackers focus on high-profile individuals within an organization.
Spamming: Definition: Spamming involves the unwanted and often malicious distribution of unsolicited emails.
By adhering to these tips, professionals can significantly enhance their digital hygiene, fortify their defenses against cyber threats, and contribute to creating a secure work environment. Stay vigilant, stay secure!
In an era where the digital landscape plays an integral role in every facet of business, the restaurant industry stands at the intersection of innovation and vulnerability. As we navigate an increasingly interconnected world, the importance of cybersecurity cannot be overstated, especially for establishments handling sensitive customer data and financial transactions.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a timely reminder for restaurants to fortify their defenses against online threats, elevating awareness about safeguarding digital assets and ensuring the trust of patrons. This observance fosters a proactive stance and a culture of cyber resilience, empowering restaurants to securely navigate the complexities of the digital age. As we enter October, let's collectively embrace the imperative of cybersecurity, safeguarding both the delectable experiences for our patrons and the digital foundations on which our restaurants thrive.
Here are five tips to help keep your restaurant business safe: