The Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) and its chair, Paul Rotner, Chief Executive Officer of Acme Management Group in New Orleans, are pleased to announce this year’s Restaurateur of the Year, Associate Member of the Year, Advocate of the Year and Hall of Fame Inductee. The honorees were recognized at its Board of Directors meeting at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Lake Charles on Tuesday, October 29, 2019.
The LRA named Robért LeBlanc, Creative Director and Chief Executive Officer of LeBlanc & Smith, a boutique hospitality group which includes Meauxbar, Sylvain, Cavan, Barrel Proof and Longway Tavern, as its 2019 Restaurateur of the Year. LeBlanc is heavily involved with the LRA and served as keynote speaker at this year’s LRA Education Foundation’s ProStart Invitational, inspiring area high schoolers to pursue their dreams of a career in the culinary arts.
The 2019 Associate Member of the Year is Perry Eastman, IV, third-generation owner and Chief Executive Officer of Auto-Chlor System, which provides cleaning and sanitation solutions to the foodservice industry. The Eastman family is well-recognized in the industry, with their roots dating back to 1949 when Eastman’s grandfather, George Eastman started the company. Eastman has been involved on a full-time basis with the company since 1996. Employing 390 team members, Auto-Chlor is known for the quality of its employees and makes the investment in both time and dollars to ensure it maintains the best workforce.
The 2019 Advocate of Year is The Honorable Thomas Carmody, Jr., Louisiana State Representative for District 6, with over 12 years’ experience in the legislature. The Advocate of the Year recognizes an individual who has supported the advocacy efforts of the LRA and its partner industries. Through his position as Chair for the Louisiana Retail Food and Beverage E-commerce Task Force, he authored HB 349 which authorizes third-party delivery companies to include alcoholic beverages with food orders. Rep. Carmody recognizes the importance of Louisiana keeping abreast of technology advancements with regards to the future of the foodservice industry.
The 2019 Hall of Fame Inductee is Melvin Rodrigue of Galatoire’s in New Orleans. Made up of experienced and exceedingly deserving food and beverage leaders, the LRA Hall of Fame is a way to recognize those who have exhibited extraordinary dedication to the restaurant industry. Rodrigue has had a distinguished career in the foodservice industry, most notably from his role as President/CEO of Galatoire’s. However, his reach extends far beyond the French Quarter staple. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation and New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, serves as President of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and will soon serve as the 2020 Chair of the National Restaurant Association.
“What makes Louisiana restaurants unique far exceeds our cuisine,” said Paul Rotner, 2019 LRA Chair. “It’s individuals like these who truly exemplify servant leadership and philanthropy and elevate the professionalism and importance of the restaurant industry.”
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com or (225) 240-7189.