The Daily Rail: The DoL Clarifies What Rates Restaurants Can Pay Servers for Non-service Activities.

PROMOTIONS: Boost Sales & Save Cash by Teaming Up with National Brands [Sponsored Hack]

Because of how tight restaurant budgets typically are, operators and marketers are pretty good at getting creative with their marketing campaigns and stretching every dollar as far as it can. But with so many other responsibilities on your plate, that creative river may run dry or you just don’t have the extra cash flow to really entice guests with prizes. Make your life much easier and make every buck go further by teaming up with national brands and utilizing their promotions.


Brace Yourselves. An Avocado Shortage is Coming

There’s a bit of a dispute going between avocado producers and the packing companies and it’s brought avocado exports to a halt. The shipping suspension is affecting shipments to the US, Canada and Japan – Mexico’s three biggest avocado buyers. The dispute stems from producers wanting to see a minimum price range per kilo of avocados and it’s entering its second week, already disrupting some US businesses. #DamnedAcovadoMafia

Progress but More Work to Do

The sight of a homeless veteran struggling to keep warm in a doorway is going to remain relatively common in American cities this winter. Even though the United States is making progress in reducing levels of veteran homelessness, the problem is still highly evident in many parts of the country.

Infographic: Where Veteran Homelessness Is Rising And Falling | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

RIP Billboard Ads?

The NFL wants to get rid of “billboard” ads during games to appease fans watching on TV. The billboard ads are the giant ads that takeover most of a screen while a shot of the stadium lays underneath and the announcer reads off a quick script. The reason is younger fans are used to little to no commercials (thanks Neflix & Hulu!) and don’t like the interruption in play.


Why it matter to you: Wendy’s CEO claims low-end wages are lagging and it’s hurting their sales…huh?

You can’t help but hear the irony dripping from Tod Pegenor, CEO of Wendy’s, most recent comment on income equality and its impact on their sales. As a QSR, the bulk of Wendy’s employees fill the low income jobs in the restaurants. Pegenor said on a recent quarterly earnings call, “look at that income growth, it’s skewed significantly to higher income households... on the low-end, you start looking at folks with rent and healthcare costs starting to rise that are really eating into some of the headway that they’re making.” I guess the real question is, why doesn’t Wendy’s increase their wages to deliver more buying power to their own staff?

This is where it gets complicated and many operators retreat to their respective political corners. Sure, raising wages means either raising prices or taking it on the chin. Let’s face it, we are in the most difficult labor market in many years. If you want the best employees, the simple answer might be to pay them more. We are already seeing median wages climbing up, albeit less than inflation. In fact, the very QSR operators that are complaining from low wage folks feeling the pinch are the ones who employ them. Sure an increase in minimum wage might be scary, but it also might be the only answer to your staffing problems while simultaneously putting money in the pockets of people who will visit your restaurant. Isn’t that ironic?

[Source: Eater]


Why it matters to you: A new opinion from the DOL clarifies what rates you can pay servers for non-service activities.

The Department of Labor has offered renewed guidance regarding what rate can be paid for a tipped employee and in what situation. The exact wording of the opinion is, "We do not intend to place a limitation on amount of duties related to a tip-producing occupation that may be performed, provided they are performed contemporaneously with direct customer-service duties."

In English, this means that any work a tipped employee does ancillary to their direct serving, but related to the execution of that service, can be paid at the minimum wage for tipped employee. If operators are respectful of intent of this ruling, it means tasks like rolling silverware and cleaning the carpet in a section would be covered by the tip credited minimum wage, if available in your state.

This opinion will certainly curtail further lawsuits regarding this issue. However, it doesn’t mean you can have service staff clipping green beans or scrubbing out walk-in coolers as a part of their direct customer service duties. They also applied a 20% rule. This means that if your staff person is doing non-direct service activities (even if they are service related) for more than 20% of their overall time, they must be paid full minimum wage for that time. Now that the DOL has clarified, you can assign your related duties and fear not that a staff person will have cause to sue you, which is nice.

[Source: RestaurantBusinessOnline]