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Paul Zimmerman
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Showing 56 posts in Food & Beverage.

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Here’s a Tip: Be Mindful of Pending Changes in the Treatment of Gratuities

The U.S. Department of Labor (“USDOL”) has pulled the trigger on its plan to roll back its regulations put in place in 2011 under then-President Barack Obama expressly prohibiting employers from forcing tipped employees to share gratuities with non-tipped staff (the “Obama regulations”). Once finalized, the DOL’s newly proposed rule, widely hailed by employers in the hospitality industry, will permit employers who pay its workers at least the full federal minimum wage to require traditionally tipped employees like waitstaff, captains, bussers, bartenders and runners to share customer tips with so-called “back-of-house” workers – chefs, cooks, dishwashers and porters. (Read More)

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Charles Wollertz © 123RF.com

UPDATE: Bill Requiring Mandatory Training for Alcohol Servers Vetoed by Governor Brown

Update (9.30.16): California Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed AB 2121, a bill that would have required bartenders to complete a course to help them identify customers who may be intoxicated and to intervene. Under the bill, establishments that serve alcoholic beverages would have had to certify that their employees have completed the training when they apply for a license through the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). (Read More)

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© Ken Wolter/123RF.COM

NYC Mayor to Introduce Fast Food Worker Scheduling Bill

New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, plans to introduce a law that would force fast food restaurants to schedule shifts in advance. The legislation, which Mr. de Blasio intends to draft with the City Council, is expected to include the following changes, according to a statement from the administration . . . (Read More)

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Brent Hofacker © 123RF.com

Food & Beverage Alert: Compromise Reached on NY Brunch Bill

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has reached a compromise with state legislators that will allow restaurants and bars to serve alcohol on Sunday mornings, starting at 10 a.m. In addition, restaurants and bars outside New York City will be able to apply for a permit to serve drinks beginning at 8 a.m. (up to 12 permits a year). Establishments within New York City limits will be barred from applying for the special event permits. The “brunch bill” as it has come to be known is part of an effort to eradicate what remains of 80-year old “blue laws” that once banned alcohol sales on Sundays. (Read More)

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Timur Arbaev © 123RF.com

Be Warned: Prop 65 Emergency Regulation on BPA Takes Effect

A new Proposition 65 requirement takes effect today, May 11, 2016. It requires all California hotel and lodging businesses with 10 or more employees to display a warning for all canned and bottled foods and beverages offered for retail sale that may contain Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is still commonly used in the packaging of food and beverage items sold by retailers throughout California. It is most often found in the interior lining of metal-based food and beverage containers, as well as lids for glass jars and bottles. Companies that sell canned and bottled food or beverages – whether in a sundry or through catering services – are required to post the Prop 65 warning. (View More)

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Vivian Seefeld © 123RF.com

Restaurateurs Rush to Review Tip-Sharing in Light of Surprising Ninth Circuit Decision

On February 23, 2016, a divided three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals validated regulations by the Department of Labor (“DOL”) that significantly limit employers’ ability to maintain tip pools that extend beyond “customarily and regularly tipped” employees. (Read More)

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Milosh Kojadinovich © 123RF.com

Are Robot-Operated “Smart Restaurants” the Wave of the Future?

In the face of increasing minimum wage laws and shrinking numbers of qualified cooks in the work force, many restaurants are feeling the heat. One Bay area start-up, Momentum Machines (Momentum), is touting a solution that may alleviate these business pressures.  Momentum is banking on the idea that by having machines replace line cooks in the kitchen, a restaurant can obviate the need for a work force entirely. (Read more)

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Kheng Guan Toh © 123RF.com

National Restaurant Association Challenges Minimum Wage Law

Earlier in 2015, the New York Legislature rejected a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $11.50 in the Big Apple, and to $10.50 in the rest of the state.  Governor Andrew Cuomo utilized his ability to direct the labor commissioner to convene a panel to consider whether fast-food workers' minimum wage should be raised in an effort to raise all restaurant workers' pay.  The panel ultimately concluded that the minimum wage will gradually increase to $15/hour by 2018. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) appealed this decision to the New York Industrial Board of Appeals. (Read more)

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tupungato © 123RF.com

P.F. Chang’s Sued over Gluten-Free Upcharge

On November 24th, a Northern District of California judge refused to dismiss an Unruh Civil Rights Act class action lawsuit against the popular restaurant chain, P.F. Chang’s. The plaintiff alleged that the $1 upcharge the restaurant implemented for gluten-free menu items unfairly discriminated against people who have celiac disease (celiac is an autoimmune disorder whereby the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. The disease affects approximately 1 in 100 people worldwide). (Read more)

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sakkmesterke © 123RF.com

FLSA’s Proposed New Rules Regarding Overtime Exemptions

Article originally appeared in HALA Newsletter

The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (“FLSA”) overtime exemptions, and President Obama recently announced plans that will extend overtime under the FLSA for salaried “white collar” employees who earn an annual salary less than $55,440. These regulations, if finalized, will likely have a major impact on hotels. (Read more)