Thursday, October 31, 2013

Famous for Hurricanes, Pat O'Brien's celebrates 80th Anniversary with block party

As Prohibition was ending, Pat O’Brien opened the doors to his neighborhood watering hole on Saint Peter Street on December 3, 1933.   A lot has changed in the last 80 years, but they still know how to throw a party on St. Peter Street in the Quarter.   Consider this your “Save the Date” for a block party on December 3, 2013 with live music by the local favorite band The Bucktown Allstars. 

The green jacket-clad bartenders will be serving up the famous Hurricanes for half-price and a special commemorative Hurricane glass will be on sale with proceeds going to a to be named local charity.   As always, the fountain will be burning strong and the piano players will be playing your napkin-scribbled requests.  Not many 80 year olds can throw a party like this, so mark your calendar now.
Shelly Oechsner Waguespack, President and 3rd-generation owner of Pat O’Brien’s, had this to say about the party:  “Our first anniversary party was our 60th and we’ve been doing this every 5 years since.  We felt strongly about giving back to our community that has supported us through the years.  We have the best customers in the world!   We are grateful that we can continue this incredible tradition of celebrating Pat O'Brien's, our customers and our incredible employees!”

For more information on this event visit or

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

ProStart students take first prize in Men Who Cook quick-fire challenge

Salmen High School ProStart students win first prize in  Men Who Cook
quick-fire challenge with their Pumpkin Supreme Ice Cream Sundae.
ProStart students from St. Tammany Parish competed head-to-head October 26, 2013 at the first Men Who Cook quick-fire challenge to raise money for Children’s Advocacy Center—Hope House.

Competing alongside celebrity chefs including La. Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain and numerous others, ProStart teams competed in the ice cream sundae cooking challenge. Competitors were asked to prepare a crunchy topping, a sauce and a whipped topping. Salmen High School’s ProStart team, led by Instructor Allison Armand took home first prize with their Pumpkin Supreme Ice Cream Sundae.

ProStart is a dynamic, two-year, restaurant management and culinary arts curriculum offered in nearly 50 high schools across Louisiana. ProStart is administered by the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

LRA Northshore Chapter wants you to Serve It Up for Education!

The Louisiana Restaurant Association Northshore Chapter will host its first-ever “Serve It Up for Education” Co-Ed Volleyball Tournament, Saturday, Nov. 16 at 11 a.m. at the new Digs Volleyball Complex, 700 Windward Drive in Covington.  Digs is the premier spot North of the Lake for beach volleyball leagues, tournaments and instruction. This is also the first event to be held at the new Complex.

The “Serve It Up for Education” tournament will have two divisions—Intermediate and Open. The Intermediate Division winner will receive prizes, while the Open Division winner will receive a $1,500 cash prize. Teams of four are $400 and teams must have at least one female player. There’s a $1500 cash prize for the Open Division winner. The proceeds benefit the LRA Education Foundation.

And no LRA event would be complete without a lineup of delicious cuisine from our generous members! You’ll enjoy tasty eats from Acme, Raisin’ Canes, Martin’s Seafood, Benedict’s, Zea and Chimes and libations from Crescent Crown, Southern Eagle, Bayou Rum and Coca-Cola products.

Individual tickets to the tournament are $35 per person and includes food and beverage and must be purchased at the door. 

To register your team, please visit If you have any questions, the contact for the event is Jodi Williams at or 504-454-2277.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses accepting applications for 2014 classes

Updated programming offered for early-stage business owners
Delgado Community College chancellor Dr. Monty Sullivan announced today that applications are now being accepted for all cohorts of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program scheduled for 2014. The three cohorts (or classes) are scheduled to begin in February, June and September, 2014. The program, aimed at helping existing companies grow revenues and create jobs, is funded through a grant to Delgado Community College through the Goldman Sach Foundation and is no-cost to selected participants.
As part of the 2014 schedule, Delgado 10,000 Small Businesses will offer classes designed specifically for business owners who have successfully launched scalable businesses, but who do not yet meet the criteria for the traditional 10,000 Small Businesses program. This session begins in February.
Louisiana Restaurant Association member Phil de Gruy, owner of Phil's Grill in Metairie, knew that participating in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program would be an investment in his business's future. He was right! The knowledge de Gruy gained from the intensive business program has helped him maximize his restaurant's position in the market, manage his finances for greater profitability, and develop a more accountable and customer-focused workforce. 
Last year Delgado Community College and the Goldman Sachs Foundation partnered with The Idea Village to pilot a program geared toward early-stage businesses in the Greater New Orleans area.
“Based on the success of this class and a noticeable demand from the local entrepreneurial community, a second cohort for early-stage businesses will be launched in February 2014,” said Carla Coury, 10,000 Small Businesses executive director.
Small business owners who demonstrate a commitment to growing their businesses and have been in operation for at least one year, generate revenues in excess of $25,000, and employ at least one person in addition to the owner are encouraged to apply to the early-stage cohort that begins in February.
"Being able to identify areas I needed to work on and take steps to put my business on track for growth was an invaluable product of my participation in the program," said de Gruy. "I learned the difference between running a restaurant and running a business."
Small business owners who have been in business for two or more years, earn annual revenues in excess of $150,000, and employ four or more employees (including the owner) should apply for the traditional cohorts scheduled to begin in June and September 2014.
Since launching the program in 2011, Delgado Community College has served 174 small business owners in the New Orleans/Gulf South region.
With education programs at community colleges in 10 cities and capital-only programs in 6 states nationwide, the program boasts more than 1700 alumni and a 99 percent graduation rate. Approximately 63 percent of graduates report that they have increased revenues just six months after graduating and 47 percent have created new jobs in the same period. Over 75 percent of all graduates report doing business with one another.
Delgado Community College works with community-based partners and national business organizations to encourage small businesses to apply for the program and to provide business advice, technical assistance, and networking to program participants. Local partners include Hope Enterprise Corporation, Greater New Orleans Inc., The Idea Village, the Louisiana Small Business Development Center and area chambers of commerce.
Participation is free to business owners who are accepted through a competitive application process. 
To download an application or learn more about the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program in New Orleans, visit or call 504-671-5555.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

ASCAP bill for music licensing fees not a scam

In the last few weeks, the Louisiana Restaurant Association Communications staff has fielded a number of calls from members who received bills from ASCAP for playing music.

The most common questions are if they have to pay to “license” the music they play. They ask, “Do I really have to pay license fees on the music I am playing in my establishment?” Typically, the answer is “yes.” The following will help put the issue into perspective.

Q. Why should I pay for playing music to the public? Legally, a piece of music belongs to the composer who created it and to the music publisher who markets it. When you use other people’s property, you have to ask their permission to do so.
Q. What is a “public performance” of music and what is the “performing right?” A “public performance” is a performance that occurs in a public place or in any other place where people gather (other than a small circle of a family or acquaintances). A public performance is also one that is transmitted to the public; for example, radio or television broadcasts, music-on-hold, cable television or by the internet. Generally, those who publicly perform music must obtain permission to do so from either the owner of the music or his or her representative.

Q. If musicians are playing live music, aren’t they responsible for paying the public performance fees? People mistakenly assume that musicians and entertainers must obtain licenses to perform copyrighted music or that the business where the music is performed can shift that responsibility to the performers. The law says that all of those who participate in, or are responsible for, the performance are legally responsible. Since it is the business owner who obtains ultimate benefit from a performance, it is the business owner who must obtain the license.  Music license fees are just one of the many costs of doing business.

Q. I’m interested in having music played in my restaurant. Do I need permission if I am only using CDs, records, tapes, radio or TV? Yes, you need permission to play CDs, records, or tapes in your establishment. Permission for radio or television transmissions in your business is not needed if the performance is by means of public presentation of TV or radio transmissions. Eating, drinking, retail and certain other establishments of a certain size may play public radio and TV signals over a limited number of speakers or TVs if the reception is not further transmitted (from one room to another, for example) from the place in which it is received. No admission fee can be charged.

Q. My establishment is very small. Do I still need to pay for music licensing? You are required to get a music license if:
  • You play video games with music tracks (such as Guitar Hero)
  • Your establishment is 3,750 square feet or larger (foodservice or drinking establishment), plays the radio or TV, and (has at least one of the following)
    • Has more than four TVs total, or more than four TVs in any one room
    • Has any TV with a diagonal screen size greater than 55 inches
    • Any of the audio portions of the audiovisual performance is communicated by means of more than six loudspeakers or there are four loudspeakers in any one room or adjoining outdoor space
    • There is a cover charge
    • You allow live music or open-mic performances
    • You provide a deejay to play music
    • You allow customers to play their own music devices (such as iPods) through your sound system
Q. I have one license. Doesn’t that cover all the music I play? You can—theoretically—license with just one of the three major companies (BMI, ASCAP and SESAC). But, doing so limits you to using only those titles to which that one company hold the copyrights. While each company has a repertoire of over a million pieces of music, it would be very difficult to play only the music controlled by any one of the music licensing companies. How would you even begin to keep track?

Q. Aren’t TV, cable and radio stations already licensed with BMI? The agreements for broadcasts apply to private use rather than public use. When you broadcast the radio or television in your establishment, it constitutes a “public broadcast” –a public use.
As a member of the LRA, you are eligible for a 20 percent discount on licensing services through BMI. LRA members get:
  • 10 percent discount for being a member of the LRA.
  • An additionally 10 percent discount if you pay for your music licensing through BMI’s website.
In addition to discounts on licensing by BMI, the LRA has other member value programs to help you save:
For more information on the various member value programs, call the LRA at (504) 454-2277.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pre-order "The Pot & The Palette" cookbook today!

The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation (LRAEF) in partnership with the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts (GRFA) is pleased to announce the release of The Pot & The Palette Cookbook (7 x 9 inches, 192 pages, ISBN 978-0-615-86341-2, $24.95) with foreword by Emeril Lagasse.

Pre-order your copy of The Pot & The Palette today and you'll receive a complimentary entry into a raffle to win an exclusive George Rodrigue print, "Heat in the Kitchen" signed by Louisiana's most notable chefs.

                 “Is there any state in the union more closely associated with good food than Louisiana?” says Blue Dog artist George Rodrigue. “From its abundant Gulf seafood to its Cajun and Creole traditions to its world-famous restaurants, residents of the Pelican State bring a lot to the table.  The Pot and the Palette is a dual celebration of all that Louisiana has to offer: more than 100 recipes from the state’s finest chefs accompanied by illustrations of its culinary heritage by its most talented student artists.”

                  “In Louisiana, we believe in supporting each other,” says Emeril Lagasse. “George has supported the Emeril Lagasse Foundation for 10 years, and I am so proud of the many chefs and restaurateurs who have contributed recipes to make this book a true reflection of today’s Louisiana cuisine.” 

                  According to Stan Harris, CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association, “the recipes in ‘The Pot & The Palette’ reflect the full bounty of the state, from Monroe to Metairie, Bossier City to Baton Rouge, Lake Charles to Lafayette, and of course, New Orleans.”

The book includes over 100 recipes from top LRA member chefs and restaurants, such as, Emeril’s New Orleans Barbecued Shrimp with Petite Rosemary Biscuits, Leah Chase’s Gumbo Z’Herbes, John Besh’s American Sector Chicken and Dumplings, Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Meatloaf, Commander’s Palace’s Commander’s Salad, Café B’s Crawfish Beignets, Susan Spicer’s Artichoke Dolmades, Blue Dog Café’s Cast-Iron Duck Breast with Fig and Root Beer Glaze, Ruffino’s Crawfish Mac & Cheese, Cotton’s Chicken Fried Rabbit Po’ Boy, Slap Ya Mamma’s Red Beans and Rice, Ruth’s Chris’ Sweet Potato Casserole and Galatoire’s Chicken Clemenceau and Donald Link’s Grilled Tuna and Olive Salad from Peche. 

Louisiana’s culinary heritage is brought to life through more than 50 stunning artworks created by Louisiana junior and senior high school students as entries to the annual GRFA Visual Arts Competition, through which GRFA awarded $45,000 in college scholarships in 2013.
The LRAEF administers the ProStart program in nearly 50 high schools statewide. ProStart is a two-year, dynamic and comprehensive culinary arts and restaurant management curriculum, also for juniors and seniors, designed to attract young people to rewarding and exciting careers in the Louisiana’s restaurant industry. Through fundraising and event sponsorships, the LRAEF has awarded more than $140,000 in scholarships to ProStart students and others wishing to pursue careers in the culinary arts, since the inception of its Scholarship Fund in 2009.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

LRA first approved by ATC for Online Server Permit Training

The Louisiana Restaurant Association is pleased to announce ServSafe Alcohol Online. For the first time in Louisiana, individuals can now obtain their Responsible Vendor Permit, or bar card, by completing the two-hour course online 24-7—it’s fast, convenient and state approved.

ServSafe Alcohol is a vital, practical and current responsible alcohol service training program that includes Louisiana alcohol regulations. The ServSafe Alcohol for Louisiana Online Program is approved by the Louisiana Office Alcohol & Tobacco Control and the Responsible Vendor Board. By providing practical knowledge and best-in-class resources, ServSafe Alcohol helps servers put knowledge into action when it matters most. That makes ServSafe Alcohol the smart training solution for every server and every operation. 

Online Learning Benefits

Convenience. Traditional training relies on instructors presenting materials at a specific time and location. Online training enables workers to learn in the office or at home, and allows the flexibility of scheduling the training when it is most convenient.

Pace of Learning. One fundamental advantage of online training over synchronous (real time) training is that a student can learn at his own pace. Comprehension quizzes at the end of each training module test knowledge before moving on to the next module and allow students to review portions of training materials before moving on to new chapters.

Presentation. Online training courses can be supplemented by on-screen graphics, short videos, which may accelerate learning for some participants.

Consistency. One of the advantages of online training is consistency of the message. In-person training is different as trainers may deliver their material differently or adjust the course content from one session to another as they see fit. Thus, no two students are guaranteed that they will receive the exact same training.
Visit today to take your alcohol server course.

The National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe Alcohol Online Course is a convenient and easy training solution that prepares bartenders, servers, hosts, bussers, valets, bouncers and all front of the house staff to effectively and safely handle difficult situations in the operation. Knowledgeable, responsible alcohol service is a priority for every operation. That’s why ServSafe creators teamed up with experts in the beverage, foodservice, medical, insurance, legal, academic and regulatory industries to develop our comprehensive program. The online program is built by the same creators as the highly-regarded ServSafe food safety program, protecting you for nearly 40 years.

NRA launches second annual Kids LiveWell Recipe Challenge

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is now accepting submissions for its second annual Kids LiveWell Recipe Challenge, an initiative aimed at showcasing restaurant and foodservice companies’ culinary ingenuity of creating healthful options for children. Sponsored by founding partner McCormick For Chefs®, the Food Away From Home Division of McCormick & Company, and Healthy Dining’s team of registered dietitians, the Challenge takes an “industry tested, kid approved” approach with a panel of food and nutrition professionals selecting finalists and elementary school students choosing the winners.

“We received a tremendous response for the inaugural year of the Kids LiveWell Recipe Challenge,” said Joan McGlockton, vice president of industry affairs and food policy for the National Restaurant Association. “This contest is a great way for restaurant and foodservice companies of all sizes to receive recognition for their important efforts in kids’ nutrition. As this top trend in the restaurant industry continues to grow, we are looking forward to building on last year’s success.”

Megan Ford, vice president, sales and marketing US Industrial Group, McCormick & Company noted, “Actively supporting the Kids LiveWell Recipe Challenge again with the NRA is fully in line with our company’s commitment of ‘Inspiring Healthy Choices.’ This contest reflects an important industry movement and dovetails perfectly with our desire to celebrate foodservice professionals who are passionate about creating healthful and flavorful menu choices for kids.”

To participate in the Kids LiveWell Recipe Challenge, restaurant and foodservice operators should submit one or more recipes from their children’s menus that meet the nutrition criteria from Kids LiveWell, which are based on the USDA dietary guidelines. Operators/chefs may participate in four categories: Independent restaurant or company with fewer than 20 units; Multi-unit company with more than 20 units; Contract Managed Food Service; and Independent Noncommercial Food Service.

The deadline to submit recipes is December 15, 2013. The winners will be recognized at the 2014 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show (May 17-20, 2014 in Chicago).

The Challenge is a complement to the Kids LiveWell program, which the NRA launched in collaboration with
Healthy Dining to help parents and children find healthful menu options when dining out. To date, more than 140 brands representing over 41,000 restaurant locations nationwide are participating in Kids LiveWell.

“Food preferences are established at a young age and continue to expand as children grow, so the restaurant industry is playing an important role in developing new enticing Kids LiveWell recipes and menu choices that ultimately contribute to a healthier generation of kids,” said Anita Jones-Mueller, MPH, president of Healthy Dining. “It is exciting to see the number and variety of Kids LiveWell choices continue to grow on”

For details on submitting recipes, nutrition criteria and contest rules, visit

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

LA Tax Amnesty 2013: Fresh Start program runs through Nov. 22

Louisiana Tax Amnesty 2013: A Fresh Start is a two month period for individuals and business taxpayers to bring delinquent tax accounts up to date by clearing unpaid tax bills and filing overdue state tax returns. It is a completely voluntary program that began on Sept. 23 and ends Nov. 22, 2013.

Taxpayers in the following categories are eligible to apply for amnesty:
  • Taxpayers who failed to file a tax return or report
  • Taxpayers who failed to report all income or all tax, interest and penalties that were due
  • Taxpayers who claimed incorrect credits or deductions
  • Taxpayers who misrepresented or omitted any tax due
  • Certain taxpayers under audit or in administrative or judicial litigation
Taxpayers involved in a criminal investigation or criminal litigation for taxes administered by the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) do NOT qualify for the Fresh Start program.

Amnesty may be applied to all taxes administered and collected by LDR except: motor fuel taxes, prepaid 411 sales tax, oil field restoration (oil); oil field restoration (gas), inspection and supervision fee and penalties for failure to submit information reports that are not on an underpayment of tax (i.e., withholding L3 penalty).
The program applies to tax balances due prior to Jan. 1, 2013. You are eligible for Fresh Start even if LDR currently has a garnishment on your wages or a levy on your bank account, provided you pay the amnesty amount due during the amnesty period. You should contact LDR so that the garnishment or bank levy can be released after full payment.

Some taxpayers in special circumstances do not qualify for amnesty. LDR can assist you in determining if you qualify. If you have never filed a Louisiana tax return, you must file all outstanding tax returns, pay the tax and 50 percent of the interest balance owed.
If you have filed a petition for bankruptcy, you may participate in the Fresh Start program. Consult with an attorney to determine if the Fresh Start program would benefit you.

If you have questions about Louisiana Tax Amnesty 2013: A Fresh Start, visit If you need additional amnesty applications, call the Fresh Start Customer Service Line at (866) 782-9241 Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

More than 1,300 employers sign up for NRA's notification tool

Health insurance exchanges, the centerpiece of the 2010 health care law, have opened, and individuals have begun enrolling in insurance plans for 2014. Restaurants, like all other employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, must give written notice about the health insurance exchanges to new and existing employees.

The National Restaurant Association’s online Notification Tool makes the notification process easy. More than 1,300 restaurateurs have signed up for the Notification Tool in the past month.

The Notification Tool, which is available exclusively to NRA members, offers:
  • An easy way for employers to notify employees about the new, government-run health insurance exchanges
  • Simple online registration that guides employers through the ACA-required information process
  • Stored employee notification for employer tracking and proof of notification
  • Peace of mind that employees have been properly notified.
Corner Bakery Café is part of the growing number of companies that are using the NRA’s Notification Tool to fulfill their requirements under the health care law.

“We’ve found the Notification Tool to be a great resource for communicating with our managers and home office employees,” said Denise Clemons, Corner Bakery Café’s senior vice president for people resources. “The tool is user friendly, easy to understand, and the team at the NRA worked diligently to help us set it up.” 
Even if you've missed the Oct. 1, 2013 deadline to notify your employees of the health care exchanges, you are still obligated to do so.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gulf oyster popularity increases; safety measures stepped up

Across the nation, millions of Americans love the rich and succulent flavors of the Gulf of Mexico oysters. Available throughout the year, the shellfish provide decadence without the guilt as a low-calorie protein that is an excellent source of zinc, vitamin B-12 and omega-3 fatty acids.

The Gulf of Mexico waters produce the world’s best oysters due to the nutrient-rich waters in which they were raised and harvested, yielding more than 500 million pounds of in-shell oysters each year. The Gulf Coast oyster community currently produces nearly 65 percent of all oysters commercially harvested in the United States.
The oysters from the Gulf Coast are delightful to enjoy both raw and cooked. However, it’s important for oyster enthusiasts to understand the potential risk associated with eating raw shellfish, including Gulf of Mexico oysters.

Vibrio vulnificus is a naturally occurring bacteria that normally lives in warm, salty seawater and can be contracted by consuming raw seafood or allowing an exposed wound to come in contact with affected water. In at-risk consumers, such as those with liver disease, diabetes or a weakened immune system, vibrio vulnificus can be life threatening.
Gulf Coast oyster processors have taken the lead in developing new post-harvest processes technologies to ensure safer alternatives to traditional raw oysters for at-risk consumers. These processes reduce any present vibrio vulnificus to non-detectable levels allowing oysters to be consume safely without cooking.

Three post-harvest treatment processes currently are being practiced at Gulf Coast seafood processors: individual quick-freezing (IQF), low-heat pasteurization or heat-cool pasteurization (HCP), and high-hydrostatic pressure (HPP) and irradiation. Though each process is very different, all reduce risk and increase safety for at-risk consumers.
Restaurants serving oysters must visibly post the following statement in two of three spots--on one of the walls and either on each menu or at each table:

There may be a risk associated with consuming raw shellfish as is the case with other raw protein products. If you suffer from chronic illness of the liver, stomach or blood or have other immune disorders, you should eat these products fully cooked.

The Louisiana Restaurant Association makes these signs available to members both printed and electronic as a member service.
Gulf of Mexico oysters are delectable any way you enjoy them—raw, baked, broiled, chargrilled, fried and everything in between. The Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition encourages at-risk consumers to enjoy Gulf of Mexico oysters fully-cooked or post-harvest processed.

LRA invites restaurateurs, chefs to join Share the Gulf coalition

As a member organization of the recently created Share the Gulf coalition, the Louisiana Restaurant Association is actively advocating for equitable allocation for some of the Gulf’s most sought after fish. We invite you to join the Share the Gulf coalition.

The Louisiana restaurant industry wants and relies on fair and sustainably managed fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. This means equal consideration for restaurant and consumers as well as fishermen. We recognize that recreational anglers currently face harsh rules on favorites like red snapper, grouper and others. At the same time, fishermen, seafood providers, restaurant owners and chefs with Share the Gulf are asking: How does taking fish from consumers help solve the problems facing anglers?
In the Gulf of Mexico the red snapper allocation between commercial and recreational fishing is just about even (51% commercial and 49% recreational). The recreational interests have sought as the total catch increases to allocate more of it for recreational fishing. The LRA supports today’s allocation percentages whether based on the current allowable catch or any future allocation increase.

There is an important fact being overlooked. Recreational and commercial fishermen harvesting red snapper have seen a 70 percent jump in the amount they’re allowed to catch in just the past five years. Commercial fishermen, seafood businesses and consumer are reaping benefits because the management plan works (and helps promote fish population recovery).
Unfortunately, angling seasons continue to shrink, regardless of the 70 percent more fish, because the underlying recreational management plan remains broken. Anglers are understandably angry, but assigning them more fish (reallocation) won’t help. Instead, it hurts more people and more businesses. It’s already difficult for many chefs to source many options for fresh Gulf fish and this would make it even harder.

Many of us enjoy recreational fishing with our families and friends, and we want our children to experience catching their own dinner. We also know that many recreational fishermen enjoy ordering fresh local fish in Gulf seafood restaurants.
Recreational fishing is important to the economy and so are the small businesses tied to the “commercial fishery” and the “supply chain” like restaurants, grocery stores, distributors, shippers and others.

Let’s talk about solutions and new management options. Let’s talk about what everyone’s goals are and how we can achieve them together. Let’s stand up together and ask the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council to focus their attention on recreational management plans that will actually extend seasons over the long-term, improve data collection and reporting and enhance sustainability.
Through the Share the Gulf coalition, we hope to work with recreational fishermen throughout the Gulf to find productive long term solutions for this shared resource.

Join the Share the Gulf coalition today!

Restaurateurs across the country call on Congress to end government shutdown, raise debt ceiling

The National Restaurant Association announced the launch of a broad-based grassroots effort among its members, urging Congress to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling in order to maintain economic confidence.

“The restaurant industry provides opportunities to over 13 million Americans, and the ability to sustain business while maintaining consumer confidence is greatly impacted by our nation’s economic health,” said Scott Defife, Executive Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs, the National Restaurant Association. “The debate over government funding and the debt ceiling, while important, is cutting into restaurant operators’ bottom-line every day the government remains closed. The shutdown is negatively impacting the livelihood of our restaurant customers and our workers. Congress must act now to end the government shutdown and restore economic certainty.”

The NRA is directing its members to  America’s Restaurant Advocates initiative, an industry-wide, national grassroots advocacy program that connects restaurateurs with elected officials on issues critical to the industry. The Association is encouraging restaurant operators to sign a letter and share their personal stories with their elected officials.

Ahead of the Oct. 1 shutdown, the NRA, along with more 250 other organizations, called on Congress to pass a continuing resolution to fund the federal government into the next fiscal year, raise the debt limit, reform entitlement programs, and tackle tax reform. In a joint letter, the groups said that government shutdowns can cause even more uncertainty in a fragile economy.

In his recent Economist Notebook, the NRA’s Chief Economist Bruce Grindy noted that both consumers and restaurant operators already had low expectations for the economy, and the shutdown will only add to the uncertainty in the months ahead.

Only 23 percent of restaurant operators said they expected the economy to improve in six months, according to the NRA’s September 2013 Restaurant Industry Tracking Survey. Another NRA survey found that only 21 percent of consumers said they expected the nation’s economy to be better in the next six months. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

ICYMI: LRA SIF lowers workers’ comp rates AGAIN

For the third time in four years, the Louisiana Restaurant Association Self Insurer’s Fund for workers’ compensation is lowering its rates! If you’re a restaurant, hospitality-related business or a supplier to the industry, the LRA SIF can quote your workers’ comp.

Just last week, we saved a restaurant owner more than $2,000 on his premium costs. Wouldn’t you at least let the LRA SIF give you a comparison quote?  
You may be wondering how this is possible, especially when many providers in our state have taken rate increases? The commitment of our members who focus on reducing claims cost and promoting a culture of safety in the workplace helped to produce this result.

This reduction provides members of the LRA SIF with added value and potential for savings. The LRA SIF has a 31-year track record of serving the industry’s workers’ comp needs with effective in-house claims management that prepares workers to return to work sooner, resolves claims efficiently.
By the way, workers’ compensation coverage is required in Louisiana and applies to any enterprise in the state regardless of the number of employees. The LRA SIF’s complimentary loss prevention resources can provide workplace solutions on how to improve best practices in a hospitality environment.

Spend a few minutes gathering this information to speed up the quote process: class codes, payroll amount, MOD and your loss runs.

What are you waiting for? Pick up the phone now to learn how the LRA SIF can help you reduce your workers’ compensation costs and to get a quote. Call the LRA Member Services at (504) 454-2277 today!

Florida Restaurant & Lodging Assc joins Share the Gulf Coalition

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) joined the Share the Gulf coalition, formed to help ensure Gulf seafood continues to be shared fairly and sustainably for generations to come. The effort was initiated in part as a response to a current proposal being vetted before members of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council that could alter allocation of fresh gulf seafood and diminish the supply for restaurants and seafood markets.

Every year, millions of Americans enjoy fresh seafood caught by local small businesses and supplied to restaurants and grocery stores across the country.  These small businesses make up what is called the “commercial fishery” and they provide consumers the ability to enjoy Gulf seafood like red snapper, grouper and other reef fish without having to catch it themselves on deep sea boats. The coalition knows that if the resource is managed well, there are plenty of fish like red snapper and grouper to go around. The Share the Gulf coalition believes that all Americans – sportsmen as well as restaurants, seafood lovers and commercial fishermen – deserve to enjoy the Gulf's bounty.
“It is imperative the Gulf’s resources are shared fairly to ensure Florida’s commercial fisheries remain healthy and sustainable,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the FRLA. “Here in the Sunshine State, fresh Gulf seafood is an essential part of our hospitality industry and we will continue to vigorously work with fishery leaders to safeguard our businesses and consumers.”

The Louisiana Restaurant Association is also a coalition member and its President/CEO Stan Harris has been a vocal advocate for the cause. Member chefs Haley Bittermann, Brian Landry, Tenney Flynn and Frank Brigtsen have testified before the Gulf Fishery Management Council in past months in support of Share the Gulf’s cause.
“Members of Congress, our Gulf state governors, the Gulf Council and the federal and state fishery agencies must hear from the chefs and restaurateurs about the need for fair allocations on behalf of the American consumer and the businesses our industry partners with for supply.” said Harris. “The coalition will press decision-makers to keep sustainably caught Gulf seafood on the table for the millions of Americans who don’t fish or own their own boat."

The body responsible for managing these fisheries, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, will be meeting October 28th through November 1st in New Orleans. The Share the Gulf coalition plans to alert members of the restaurant and seafood communities, elected officials, and consumers of these plans and their dire economic consequences.

Friday, October 11, 2013

OSHA makes significant change to rule pertaining to Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)

New title means new training required

OSHA recently altered the way in which hazardous material labeling will look. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) will now be called Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and will have a new look, with a more consistent definition and the addition of standard pictograms. Education and training is required on your part to educate your employees now, before new product labels arrive.
This new training must be in place by December 1, 2013.

Please see this YouTube video for a quick understanding of the new OSHA rules and regulations pertaining to Hazard Communications.
The “Highlights” section on the OSHA page pertaining to the new changes have many useful downloads for your use.

LRA SIF rates are falling once again

For the third time in four years, rate reductions take effect in January

The Louisiana Restaurant Association Self Insurer’s Fund for Workers’ Compensation (LRA SIF) is pleased to announce rate reductions on premiums for its Fund, which specializes in the hospitality industry. This marks the third time in four years that the fund has reduced its rates. The rate reductions will take effect January 1, 2014.

This is made possible by the commitment of our members who participate by maintaining low claims experiences and promoting a culture of safety in the workplace. Because of the efficient management of the Fund, no rates were increased for the upcoming year.

“Most workers’ compensation providers in our state have taken rate increases, particularly in the hospitality-related business classes. Given our LRA SIF members’ commitment to workplace safety and prevention measures, these rate reductions should continue to make our fund the best option for our industry,” said Stan Harris, President & CEO of the LRA SIF.

“This reduction provides members of the LRA SIF with added value and potential savings,” added Harris. “The LRA SIF has a 31-year track record of serving the industry’s workers’ comp needs with effective in-house claims management that prepares workers to return to work sooner, resolves claims efficiently and will continue to offer competitive rates.”

The benefit of placing workers’ comp coverage with a self-insured fund is it allows business owners to spread risk among all participants and creates positive claims outcomes that benefit all the fund’s policyholders.

Workers’ compensation coverage is required by Louisiana law and applies to any enterprise in the state regardless of the number of employees. The LRA SIF’s complimentary loss prevention resources can provide workplace solutions on how to improve best practices in a hospitality environment. Whether you have questions on fire safety, preventing slips and falls, or any other safety concern, the LRA SIF loss prevention professionals can provide helpful information and training for your staff.

As the LRA SIF enters its 32nd year, it has expanded its program to welcome insurance brokers and agents who offer the LRA SIF to their hospitality related clients. Since its inception in early 2011, through membership and partnership with PIA and Big I, the LRA SIF is focused on meeting the specific needs of the agent with superb service and a competitive commission structure.

To learn more about how the LRA SIF can help you reduce your workers’ compensation costs and to get a quote, please contact Member Services at (504) 454-2277 today.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

NRA Manage My Restaurant: Millennials changing definition of brand value for restaurant marketers

Jeff Fromm is EVP at ad agency Barkley, co-author of a new book “Marketing to Millennials”, founder of - aMillennial trends and emerging technologies conference - and editor of NRA Members receive $100 off their registration to when using code NRA2013.

In the new Millennial-inspired Participation Economy, the old definition of brand value — the one that worked for decades — is dead.  Millennials don’t just want to buy your brand, they want to be a part of it. They’re looking for ways to participate.  And they want to understand why you do what you do not just what you want to sell.  As a result, the brand value equation has morphed to include participative benefits. This is key for tapping into Millennial passion — and therefore, Millennials’ dollars.Brand value for restaurant operators has more variables today than ever before.  Here’s a few that may be impacting your brand:

Food quality
You ain’t nothin’ if you don’t have great food – 60% of Millenials consider it the most important criterion for choosing a restaurant, according to a Barkley survey.  However, Millennial loyalty only goes so deep. From there, look at other important considerations such as good value for the money, order accuracy and key basics that are “price of admission” factors but rarely differentiating.

Unique Flavor Profiles
Millennials want affordable adventures, tasting and sampling.  Barkley’s research with The Boston Consulting Group and Service Management Group found that 77 percent of Millennials enjoy eating a variety of different ethnic cuisines, which gives restaurants ample opportunities for appealing to the Millennial palate.

This doesn’t apply only to exotic flavors. For example, Millennials love chicken wings – after all, the variety of different dipping sauces with every order is almost as exciting as the actual wing.

Transparency & Authenticity
According to Barkely’s research, Millenials place a high value on the transparency and authenticity of the restaurants they do business with. Chipotle and McDonald’s are two well-known brands that have focused on letting consumers know more about the food products and practices of their growers. Just recently, Chipotle added an Ingredients Statement to their online menu flagging which ingredients are local and organic, as well as those containing GMOs, hydrogenated oils and preservatives.

Learn more about the variables that are helping to define your brand at
For more articles on industry best practices, visit the National Restaurant Association's Manage My Restaurant online resource center here.