The Daily Rail: The DoL Changes Restaurant Sidework Guidance... Again!

GUESTS: Creating & Executing the Perfect College Basketball Tournament Menu Experience

Since its expansion to the field of 64 in 1985, the Men’s College Basketball Tournament has become one of the most popular and successful sporting events in the nation. Now with four additional play-in games, the 68 teams play a total of 67 games over the course of three weeks. The hype and fever surrounding the tournament is infectious, spreading to office pools, friendly wagers, and campus rallies throughout the country.

For bars and restaurants, this can represent a steady stream of revenue in an otherwise slow time of year. The excitement around the tournament fills this gap and can bring in a slew of new guests. Here’s how you can build the ultimate tournament menu for your guests to enjoy all tourney long.


NYC Restaurants Bummed About Amazon

While there are many that Amazon has aborted its idea of creating a HQ in NYC, restaurant owners are not among them. For some owners, the HQ would’ve meant an increase in afternoon traffic. For others, it would’ve meant more citizens with higher salaries walking about to spend at their restaurants. Here’s what operators told Grub Street about the lost deal.

Will the Oscars Audience Continue to Drop?

The 2019 Oscars are this Friday which has us wondering if anyone is even going to tune in. The 2018 Academy Awards ceremony saw its TV audience shrink to an all-time low. According to Nielsen, the live show broadcast by ABC had an average of 26.5 million viewers, a 20% decline from 2017 when 32.9 million tuned in. The previous record low was in 2008 when 31.8 million viewers watched the ceremony hosted by Jon Stewart. That year, disaster was narrowly averted after an 11-week writers' strike in Hollywood ended in advance of The Oscars. Will 2019 end the streak?

Infographic: The Oscars' TV Audience Falls To All-Time Low  | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Daytona Bounce Back

The 2019 Daytona 500 got a 5.5 overnight rating, an 8% increase over last year’s race. This is great news for Fox and NASCAR, which suffered consistently low ratings in 2018. It beat the NBA All-Star game which earned a 5.0 rating. It’s still too early to tell if Daytona’s media success will translate into more eyes all season long, but it’s a good start.


Why it matters to you: Credit card processors like Visa and MasterCard are set to raise their rates in April.

Credit card fees are a rarely considered an expense in our industry. Most of you would say it’s a cost of doing business and, basically, you are right. Unfortunately, the folks that control most of the credit card processing know that and they are set to take advantage of your inelastic demand by raising their rates this April. The increases are on a technical aspect of credit card transactions which is the interchange fees. Card networks set the price of these fees, which merchants pay to banks when consumers shop with the cards they issue. Fees that card networks charge financial institutions for processing card payments on behalf of merchants also is part of the rising fees. Consequently, each of you has to consider how you will respond to any significant change in your expenses.

Let’s start with some math. If you process $1,000,000 in credit cards annually and your fees are 3% of each transaction, your expenses are $30,000 annually. If that price increases to 3.25%, that’s an additional $5,000 (16.7% increase) you shell out for the privilege of offering credit card payments. We suggest you ask your credit card processor how much your fee rate will increase. Multiply that by your total credit card sales from 2018 and you calculate your increase. Of course, this is even more insulting when you know that Visa, MasterCard and Discover averaged $6 billion in profit last year. So, now is the time to review your credit card processor and threaten to leave. It might actually save you five thousand bucks.

[Source: Market Watch


Why it matters to you: The Department of Labor changes guidance on sidework…again!

It’s official! The 80/20 rule for determining when restaurants can pay tipped minimum wage versus full minimum wage has been scrapped by the Department of Labor (DOL). As you may recall, the 80/20 rule requires that you pay your staff full minimum wage if their work is more than 20% dedicated to non-service tasks. The original intent of the rule was to give guidance so operators could set expectations and avoid issues that might lead to litigation. There is a legitimate debate to be had whether servers who are already your most highly compensated employees shouldn’t be paid even more. Especially given that any work they do is still in service of their own efforts to collect tips.

The new guidance eliminates any definition and uses a standard based on the nebulous term “reasonable amount of sidework.” The reality is that most servers are doing about 20% sidework and that is how the original guidance was arrived at by the DOL. By removing it, operators are left to determine what is best. Some will just continue as they are now, but others will add work, knowing that there is less exposure. While none of us wants to be told what to do by our government, we believe that this rule change is actually damaging because it removes any specific parameters from a contentious issue. That is a recipe for more litigation, not less, and none of us wants that outcome.

[Source: Restaurant Business]