The Daily Rail: How Restaurants Can Use the Power of Chefs to Make Changes

OPINION PIECE: Should We Toss Guests’ Salads? 

There seems to be a bit of a debate raging on whether or not restaurants should or shouldn’t toss & chop guests’ salads or let them do it on their own time at home. Silly right? We think so. If your policies are so rigid that guests are leaving feeling frustrated, then it’s time to reevaluate your policies.


Scanning the Skies

According to the National UFO Reporting Center in the US, sightings of UFOs reached record heights in recent years but are now falling back to earth. Back in 1990, the organization only recorded 307 sightings (most are in the US but their records include global sightings) and that has skyrocketed in the years since. They reached a peak of 8,619 in 2014 before falling slightly to 5,516 in 2016. This year, the total number of sightings is only 1,329 so far. Makes ya think…

Infographic: Has E.T. Gone Home? | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Is Natural Wine Overrated?

“Natural wine” is a big booze trend at the moment and like all trends it’s facing a huge wave of backlash because disliking what’s popular is “cool” or something. Anyways, is the natural hype? Here’s what nine sommeliers think.

RIP go90

Verizon’s go90 steaming platform is shutting down at the end of the month. go90 hosted a variety of content including NWSL and CONCACAF Champions League matches, QB1 and Dear Basketball. Verizon will be shifting gears to make new streaming services more sports-oriented, centering around live sports. It already has some exclusive pacts within the NFL and NBA via Yahoo! Sports, so time will tell.


Why it matters to you: A new bill in New York could change the way restaurants handle the plastic straws. 

We’ve been covering the disposable plastic straw issues pretty regularly lately.  It’s an important issue to us here at The Rail and it should be to everyone else in the industry.  It’s a relatively simple issue that our industry can tackle and make huge positive gains. We could switch away from plastic straws industry-wide with relative ease and speed within a week if everyone hopped on board. Anyway, a new bill in New York state could change the way restaurants are allowed to give out plastic straws before an expected full on ban is imposed. This bill will only allow restaurants to give out their plastic straws if (and only if) the customer specifically asks for them. It’s a start.

Now, will there be any real policing of this bill? We kind of doubt it. This is the sort of issue where, unless you’ve been paying attention to the restaurant industry’s media coverage, you’d most likely have no idea about. Plus, we sincerely doubt New York state will have people out there doing sting operations on restaurants and penalizing them for doing what they’ve always done, so we see this bill as flawed although in the correct mindset. Regardless, nice try, New York. We love seeing the effort at least.



Why it matters to you:The Red Hen controversy has birthed some truly important community conversations, like using the power of chefs to startingmaking a change.

It seems like the whole country was has been focused on the Red Hen controversy over the past week. So, is there anything we can take from this mess of a situation? That there are far more eyes on our industry than we could have ever imagined. That’s a lot of power and a lot of responsibility, and that we need to start making better use of that power.

The James Beard Foundation recently held their Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change this month in New York and while it focused on the Farm Bill, it’s lessons weren’t just focused solely on that. Attendees became experts on their chosen issues as well and learned what steps to take towards making a difference. Their whole idea is to use the power of chefs to accelerate positive change in our communities. That idea makes perfect sense after the waves of news stories in our industry make has made in the average-person’s world.

Think of the lessons we have learned from chefs already.Chefs taught us to buy local before anyone else did, to try to use sustainably caught seafood instead of the farmed BS, to think about the immigrants that harvest or cook or clean-up for us after our meals. We learn and are enlightened by chefs constantly and we think it truly is time that we train, educate, and empower them to be the pillars of our neighborhoods. If we don’t then all of this influence will be for nothing.