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45 Melville St. • Augusta, ME 04330

August / September 2O15

207. 623 . 2178 mainerestaurant . com

info @ mainerestaurant . com

A Visit with National Restaurant Association Chairman - Maine's Own Jack Crawford

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Member Benefits

Workers Comp Trust Workers compensation insurance is a necessary part of doing business and, in the restaurant industry, it can be a hefty line-item on your financial statement. Luckily, members of the Maine

Restaurant Association have access to the Maine Merchants Association Workers Comp Trust. The Trust is made up of Maine employers like you. (Members of the Maine Retailers Association and Maine Innkeepers Association are also a part of The Trust.) Together, members self-insure to meet their workers compensation obligation while sharing claim expenses, and profits that are achieved when, collectively, claims are low. Just this year, The Trust anticipates returning half a million dollars in premiums to its members! While being a member of the Maine Restaurant Association alone does not guarantee that your business is eligible to join The Trust, membership does get your foot in the door. To qualify, you must demonstrate your company's financial stability and a proven track record of workplace safety. Typically, businesses with $5,000 or more in annual workers comp insurance premiums achieve the most benefit of becoming a Trust member. We know you didn't get into the restaurant business for your love of workers compensation insurance but it's the kind of business expense that's important to review from time to time. If it saves you money it's well worth investigating. Contact us today to explore this option further and to get a quote for your workers comp insurance: 207.623.2178 or info@ mainerestaurant.com. FMI: maineworkerscompensation.com

Jack Crawford, President & CEO of Ground Round IOC (Independent Operators Cooperative), is a Maine restaurateur with a major role on the national restaurant stage. A longtime member of the Maine Restaurant Association (MERA), Jack served on our board of directors for twelve years - two as Chairman and another four as Maine’s representative to the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Board of Directors. Jack has, over the past twelve years, worked his way up through the leadership ranks of the NRA Board and in January 2015 took the reigns as Chairman of the Board becoming the first ever Mainer to serve in this role.

velopment for them. I call that my sabbatical. Other than that, I've been with Ground Round the whole time. I worked for the company for about 11 years and then I was a franchisee for 15 years. So, when the company was bought out by the franchisees I was the natural person, having worked on both sides of the tracks, to lead the new group forward. It was 11 years ago that we bought the company and we’ve proved-out that structure. Q: You’ve devoted your entire professional career to this industry. What appeals so much to you about it?

I worked in a deli and a liquor store through college where I got a little bit of food service experience but that was it. I graduated with a degree in business management and my brother urged me to join this company called Ground Round. It was growing rapidly at the time and I went through their management training program. So, I guess I'm an example of somebody with very little experience and a college degree who can advance through good training and have a good career.

It’s all the things that the restaurant business means to people in America. It isn't just that we're this big jobs provider or career opportunities provider - people can get promoted from within and, whether they have a management degree or not, they can still move up in our organizations - but it's all the other things that we do. Community groups meet in our restaurants. We raise money in our restaurants. We're some of the best charitable givers in business anywhere in America. People go to our restaurants to celebrate an event or meet with family or have a business lunch or just to get a break. Our business provides all of that and so, that's what gets me excited about the restaurant business. We're very connected in the community. You can go to any community out there in any small town in America and you'll find restaurants at the top of the list as far as being engaged businesses in the community.

Q: So, you've been with Ground Round since college?

Q: How did you become involved with the National Restaurant Association?

We sat down with Jack recently to discuss his NRA chairmanship, his perspective on the restaurant business nationally and his thoughts on the future of the industry in which he’s spent his career. Q: How did you get your start in the food service business?

There was one four-year period where I worked for Uno Chicago Grill to do de-

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An Active Summer for Advocacy Efforts Even though the Legislature recessed on June 24 and was gone until June 30, when they returned to override the Governor’s budget veto, and adjourned on July 16 with a flurry of veto overrides, it has still been very busy for your association. Local initiatives have been taking a tremendous amount of time. Two minimum wage proposals in Portland and one in Bangor have made Mondays a very long day for association staff. The Portland City Council met on July 6 to pass a minimum wage ordinance that will raise the minimum wage to $10.10 on January 1, 2016, $10.68 on January 1, 2017 and then adjust future increases to the Consumer Price Index (CPI.) There was a sizable issue with the tip credit, as the council believed it was freezing the tipped wage at $3.75, but froze the tip credit at $3.75 instead, thereby necessitating a reconsideration of the ordinance to make that fix. The Council moved to reconsider on July 20 and the ordinance is

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IN THIS ISSUE:

Chairman’s Message

2

Upcoming Events

2

President’s Report

3

Annual Golf Classic

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Accommodating Service Animals 4 Member Benefits: Workers Comp 12


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Chairman’s Message:

Chairman Crawford...

By Tina Hewett-Gordon: The Nonantum Resort - Kennebunkport

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats Kennebunkport has been bursting at the seams this summer! I've been at The Nonantum for 24 years and I can't remember a more glorious stretch of weather or seen such flocks of people coming to enjoy it! With each turning of the calendar, I look forward to what's to come and take a moment to reflect on what has already been. In late June the MERA Board of Directors met for its first strategic planning session. The basis for this session was to establish a baseline SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis of the association. It was a fun-filled day - thought provoking and, at times, charged with emotion and conviction. The result of our time is a document that the board can use to formulate and anticipate the needs of the association as well as support the restaurant industry in Maine. Let me share a few of the conclusions: • Strengths: Staff and leadership • • Weaknesses: Communication of our message • • Opportunities: Educating restaurateurs of the association's efforts • • Threats: Negative consequences of extreme legislation

time to sit down with the other decisionmakers in our own businesses to conduct this same type of exercise. The answers are vital to goal setting and our future successes. It seems that many of the questions and answers are the same for a restaurant operation as they are for our association. Our #1 strength is our staff, so it’s important to treat them well! Weaknesses? Is the message that you communicate to the public conveying what you're really trying to say? Is it clear? Do all of your collateral materials have a consistent, professional look? Opportunities? Are you educating your staff? Do you have a mission statement and if so do your employees know what it is? Do your customers? Threats? Are there any local issues that might directly affect your dayto-day operations and are you communicating your concerns to town officials? Are you regularly evaluating your systems and operational practices? Do they need updating? Needless to say, the strategic planning experience has been very thought provoking and produced useful information. I find each encounter I have as a member of the board incredibly rewarding for not only my personal search for knowledge and networking, but the benefits and knowledge I gain by working side-by-side with the other industry professionals that make up the MERA board. I would urge you to answer these questions as they pertain to your own business and put a plan in place! 

As I sat in the planning session and as I ponder this process, I think how applicable these questions and answers are to The Nonantum's operations. As busy restaurateurs, we tend to get wrapped up in our day-to-day operations and don't take the

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is published six times a year by the Maine Restaurant Association. 2015 © All Rights Reserved 45 Melville Street Augusta, Maine · 04330 Tel: 207.623.2178 · Fax: 866.711.5408 mainerestaurant.com info@mainerestaurant.com ../mainerestaurantassociation @mainerestaurant MAINE RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION OFFICERS Tina Hewett-Gordon

Chairman of the Board The Nonantum Resort Kennebunkport

Michelle Corry

Vice Chair Five Fifty-Five & Petite Jacqueline Portland

Laurie Palmer

Second Vice Chair Burger King Waterville

Bruce Woodard, CPA, CFP

Treasurer Woodard & Associates, CPA’s Auburn, Portland

Steve DiMillo

Secretary DiMillo’s On the Water Portland

John Kyle

O u r s e r v i c e d o e s n ’t e n d w h e n o u r t r u c k l e a v e s y o u r d o o r.

We aren’t just in the delivery business; we’re in the success business. We do everything we can to help each of our customers become a crazy, line-out-the-door success.

STAFF Greg Dugal

President & CEO greg@mainerestaurant.com

Chris Jones

Chief Operating Officer chris@mainerestaurant.com

Becky Jacobson

20 Dalton Road • Augusta, Maine www.NorthCenter.com 1-877-564-8081

Operations Manager becky@mainerestaurant.com

Rebecca Dill

Marketing & Events Director rebeccad@mainerestaurant.com

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Maine Ingredient

Senior Advisor Pat’s Pizza Yarmouth

Amongst the other questions we evaluated were: • What programs or services are no longer needed by our membership? • • How would you evaluate MERA communications? • • What is the single most important objective MERA must accomplish? • • What are our important strategic partnerships?

August / September 2015

because we have one less person involved. I speak more about that than I do about the residual benefits of being a member because it's an obligation and it's an association that's working on your behalf and it's only going to be stronger if you support it. Q: What's been your favorite part of the job? Doing the student-related things. The first one that I did was at the University of Delaware where they a had student forum of 200 people who were about to graduate and enter our industry, and then I gave the commencement address at the Culinary Institute of America. That's probably the most memorable thing I’ve done all year and something I'll always remember. They actually gave me an ambassador degree - it was a dreamy day. I mean, it was like going to Harvard for our industry. When I visited that campus in Hyde Park, New York, what really struck me was that every classroom has a window. That may sound simple, but in this particular educational environment faculty walk by all the time and it's not uncommon for them to look in on the class and see what the students are doing so students always have to be at their best. And ProStart. When I first became an officer a couple of years ago, first as treasurer and then vice chair, there were 60,000 students in the ProStart program. I remember saying to Dawn Sweeney, you know, this is great, but wouldn't it be more impactful if there were 100,000 students and now there's 120,000. So it just keeps growing. Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge to today's restaurateurs? Recruitment. And, that comes back to the advocacy and telling our story and making sure that our voice is heard, because there's a stigma about our industry. There’s still that dead-end jobs-provider stigma out there and we need to refute that. We need to speak to it in facts and figures about our business and advancement opportunities that we offer and the significance that we are a great part-time employer for people who want or need part-time work. We're a big provider of that as well as careers. We need to keep telling that story, because if we don't, then more and more people are going to be less interested in joining

our industry even though we're an industry that seems to grow in good times or bad economic times, restaurants seem to find a way to get open - it's that entrepreneurial spirit. But if you don't have the people to execute, you're not going to be able to continue at that pace. I would say recruitment is the biggest challenge. People are feeling it right now. It ebbs and flows like the economy, but right now it's challenging. Q: What do you see as the biggest opportunity for those in the restaurant industry today? I think of two audiences – employees and owners. For the employee, the opportunities are the rapid expansion and the opportunity to climb the ladder, no matter what kind of educational background you have, to advance and have a career in our industry. It's a real thing that you can see the rungs in the ladder and the steps you need to take and there's training programs along the way. For restaurant owners and prospective owners, there’s always a way to open a restaurant - even in bad economic times. If you want to own a business, you can. It might mean that you go work for somebody or partner with somebody for a while and really get your skills down or get your finances together, but you can find a clear path to own your own business someday maybe more so than other industries offers. Q: More and more millennials are entering into food service careers. How do you see them shaping the future of the industry? They're going to challenge us. They're not like we or our parents were in the way we looked at our careers. They're not afraid to make a risky decision and if they're not satisfied with where their career is going with you, they're not afraid to jump across to another employer. And maybe all of us, in the past, have had a little more loyalty or a little more fear in that decision. Millennials don't. They're confident and they are skillful and they're going to challenge their superiors to create the right environment and have the right advancement opportunities or they're not going to be as loyal as we all have been in our careers. That's the biggest challenge, to keep them motivated and retain their talent on your team.

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Q: How has this chairmanship experience helped you grow both personally and professionally? It's interesting how some core values and principles necessary for this role relate back to home and to business. In this role, you need to get off the plane and your game face needs to be on, even if you're tired or if you worked the whole day before or you have things going on at home. People are excited to see you and you need to get off that plane with a big smile on because people are counting on you. And that has taught me something back at home. Think about the way you treat employees or the way you speak to people or how approachable you are. No matter how busy a day I’ve had, when I get home, I can't appear like I'm tired and I'm disinterested in what my family might want to talk about or might want to do that evening. With my own company, if somebody needs to talk to me I need to be approachable. I think this role has made me a more approachable person - both at home and at work. Q: What does the rest of the year have in store for you? I have a few more state visits planned, some business meetings at the NRA office in Washington, DC to plan for 2016, and two international trips planned - one in Mexico City and one in London - to participate in their restaurant association events and speak about common issues with the food service business in America. Although my year is winding down, I still have several trips ahead so, I'll go out with a bang and certainly be engaged to the end. I'm honored to have had this opportunity to serve in this role and represent the industry that's been so good to all of us. And, I'll have no difficulty passing the torch to the capable leaders who are ready to serve behind me. While I will stay active in these efforts, I'll also look forward to continuing to serve the needs of my company, Ground Round, and enjoy more time with family and friends. Jack’s stint as chairman concludes at the end of December. He’s looking forward to reflecting on his year at the helm of the NRA Board with a much deserved desert vacation that he’s already booked for January. 


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Advocacy Update... ...continued from page 1 in limbo, as it awaits a fix at the Wednesday September 9 City Council Meeting. The options for that meeting include leaving it the same at a $3.75 tip credit, thereby adopting the $6.35 tipped wage, making the tipped wage half of the Portland minimum wage or adopting language that would freeze the tipped wage at $3.75, as they originally intended to do. They have also sent the Portland Green Party $15 minimum wage referendum question to the voters in the November election. Their only other option would have been to enact the proposal and most of the councilors believe the $15 minimum wage to be too much. Both the Maine Restaurant Association (MERA) and Maine Innkeepers Association (MEIA) are working with other local, state and national associations to create a coalition to help defeat this referendum question. More on this in subsequent issues. In Bangor, Councilor Joseph Baldacci has introduced a proposed ordinance to create a minimum wage in the City of Bangor, which would be $8.25 on January 1, 2016, $9.00 on January 1 of the following year and ending with an increase to $9.75 in 2018. This ordinance would also be tied to CPI, thereafter. In this version, anyone under the age of 18 and tipped employees are exempt. There are currently moves at the council level to remove or modify those exemptions, which would be a serious issue especially for the tipped wage. A vote by the Council on this ordinance at the end of July was expected, but never occurred. The ordinance was tabled and sent to the Business and Economic Development Committee for further review on August 18. The next vote on the ordinance has been scheduled for November 23. MERA has been working hard to rally restaurateurs from both cities to continue to petition the councils to take business interests into consideration when reviewing these onerous ordinances. South Portland is also considering a wage increase. Much of this outward aggression by these communities towards the business community was driven by the State Legislature’s inability to come together to create a compromise to raise the minimum wage in a reasonable and responsible fashion. Some Republicans including the Governor were opposed to any increase in the minimum wage and other Republicans were interested in a modest three year increase of $0.50 per year, but were hoping to also get a pre-

emption clause in statute. This clause would have restricted the ability for a community to create their own wage in Maine. The Democrats countered with $0.50 a year for four years culminating in a $9.50 per hour wage by 2019. There were not the votes to secure either outcome. The Maine People’s Alliance is currently collecting signatures to put a $12 minimum wage initiative on the 2016 statewide ballot. This would occur over a period of 4 years and the tip credit would also be eliminated over a period of eight years. The association dodged a bullet on the budget. As you probably remember, the Governor proposed a 6.5% meals tax and an 8% lodging tax. There was little belief in any circle that those rates would hold, though there was a hope that lodging tax would stay at 8%. At the end of the day, as budget negotiations generally go, we were encouraged by the fact that meals tax stayed at 8%. This was the result of several members petitioning legislators for the residents of the State who pay most of the tax. Unfortunately the lodging tax was increased to 9% as of January 1, 2016. Both taxes were schedule to return to 7% as a result of their being increased to 8% in the last budget but we were all pretty sure that was not meant to be. We did very well to defeat the tip credit elimination bill with a unanimous vote of the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee, but little did we know that tip credit elimination would become part of the statewide referendum question. We had a couple weeks to bask in our short lived victory. Also, a bill that we thought had been killed in committee got new life on the floor of the Legislature. LD 1326 would require restaurants, among others, to identify genetically modified foods (GMOs) on their menus. This bill was carried over to the next session and we will be monitoring it closely. At the Federal level, there is some good news to report and some not so good news. After lengthy discussions by the national organizations (National Restaurant Association and American Hotel & Lodging Association among others) with legislative leaders, the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Homeland Security marked-up and passed its FY ‘16 funding bill which includes language providing for a one-year “returning worker exemption”, providing H2B users some relief under the

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annual cap as workers that comply with all aspects of the law in one of the previous three years would not count against the 66,000 worker cap. The Senate version of the DHS appropriations bill does not include the measure so it will be critical to protect the House language when the House and Senate convene a conference committee. For those who use or have used H2B visa workers in the past, this returning worker provision has always been helpful as it provides for so many more workers in the Northeast with our late filing deadlines.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Annual Golf Classic Spring Meadows Golf Club, Gray Thursday, October 1, 2015

EMV "Chip & Pin" Standards: Implementation Date Wednesday, October 20, 2015

The Department of Labor released the text of overtime proposed regulations shortly thereafter, before publishing them in the federal register. The regulation is officially published in the federal register. There will be a 60 day comment period, which may end sometime in September. Senator Collins and others may try to get an extension. This is a very important issue for Maine restaurateurs. We’ll be emailing a link to members soon where you can add your own comments for consideration. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Membership Meeting 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Membership Reception Black Point Inn, Scarborough

Annual Awards Banquet Holiday Inn By the Bay, Portland Wednesday, March 30, 2016 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Maine Restaurant & Lodging Expo Cross Insurance Arena, Portland

www.DennisExpress.com Serving Maine Since 1908 P 207-947-0321 F 207-947-0323

Info@DennisExpress.com

President’s Report: By Greg Dugal: President & CEO, Maine Restaurant Association

Near and Long-term Labor Solutions

The bad news is that the much anticipated overtime regulations the Obama Administration has been working on have been released. President Obama posted a blog post on the Huffington Post announcing his intention to more than double the salary threshold for employees eligible for overtime from the current level of $23,660 to $50,440 beginning in 2016.

800-439-2727

August / September 2015

www.Sysconne.com 1-800-632-4446

Fall is on the way and that means lots of beautiful foliage and with it, many guests at our restaurants. It also means trying to cobble together a workforce through what has become a very busy time of the year. September has caught up with June in almost every region in the state in restaurant revenues and the month of October also continues to grow. As economic times improve, access to the labor force contracts for our industry. What can we do? Visa workers tend to be available more in the May until early September timeline. These days, J-1 visa workers really are more summertime employees and, though you can get some H2B visa workers through the end of the season, they’re getting harder and harder to acquire. Rest assured that this association, along with the National Restaurant Association, will continue to work hard at making both processes easier. Recently introduced legislation may bring back the returning worker provision of the H2B visa, which means that H2B visa workers would not count against the cap for two additional years after their visa is first issued. This will allow for many more workers than the current cap of 66,000. At this time of year, with the school year fast approaching, it is hard not to recognize that many young people are looking to our industry for their career. In this era of labor shortages, make every effort to engage with local culinary programs to use this resource not only for temporary labor, but for students who may make your restaurant their permanent job upon completion of their studies. Find out about the secondary and postsecondary schools in your area that may provide you with interns, part time employees and potentially long term employees. In urban areas like Portland and Bangor, there are Career and Technical Education

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(CTE) Centers and in more rural areas CTE Regional Schools where multiple communities fund and govern these educational entities. Couple that with the fact that most of Maine’s community colleges also have a post-secondary culinary programs and it makes your involvement with local educational institutions essential to your survival. Granted, not every student will become a model employee, but it an obvious place to look for employees as the shortage of skilled laborers continues to grow. The Maine Restaurant Association supports and promotes the ProStart culinary curriculum throughout the state. We assist with funding schools attempting to get a quality curriculum off the ground including financial assistance with text books and teacher instruction materials. We also help to organize Maine’s ProStart culinary competition that culminates in sending the winning team of young people to the national competition, generally held in a very desirable location, last year at Disneyland. This year, the MERA Education Foundation presented scholarships to four lucky culinary students headed off to complete their education and fulfill their dreams. Our industry needs to be as supportive as possible of these educational programs and champion their successes in order for restaurants to continue to thrive. When Maine’s 2015 Chef Educator of the Year, Dan Caron from Lewiston Regional Technical Center, accepted his award, he commented on the fact that what made him most proud of his students and his program was dining out in the Lewiston area and seeing alumni from his program being successful at these area restaurants. It doesn’t take a lot of time to acquaint yourselves with the team at the CTE schools and they are happy to make your acquaintance. It truly is a win-win for the instructor and program and you, the restaurateur. Don’t have time you say? Start small and just engage with one student. The experiences we have had with students in the ProStart competition have been inspiring and we believe that you can have a similar experience. Just give it a chance! 


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August / September 2015 Chairman Crawford... ...continued from page 1

annual golf classic Affairs. Do you think all of these ties to Maine benefit your fellow restaurateurs here at home?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015 ▪ Spring Meadows Golf Club ▪ Gray 7:30 am Registration ▪ 8:30 am Shotgun Start ▪ Rain Date: September 23

Golf with us! Team: $675 Twosome: $350 Single: $185

Send some swag!

Donate a prize! Send to: ME Restaurant Assoc. 45 Melville Street Augusta, ME 04330

Become a sponsor!

We're collecting:

Sponsorships start as

Coupons, trinkets, vouchers & more for our 144 golfer welcome bags.

low as $200. Tournament Sponsor:

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Service Animals & Your Restaurant A Guest Article from the Maine Human Rights Commission More and more, Maine businesses are seeing people going about their daily activities accompanied by an animal. Some of these may be people who are simply enjoying the company of their pets, but many of them are individuals with disabilities who are accompanied by their service animals. Service animals are not pets, and are not governed by a general “no pets allowed” rule. The difficulty is in knowing the difference between a pet and a sevice animal, and knowing what rules govern efforts to distinguish between them. The Maine Human Rights Act (“MHRA”) requires that places of public accommodation – which include restaurants, inns, and hotels – allow the use of service animals by individuals with disabilities. In the context of public accommodations, a “service animal” is a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a physical or mental disability. Other animals are not considered service animals in the context of public accommodations. The work or task that the dog is trained to do must be directly related to the individual’s disability. The provision of emotional support, comfort, or companionship does not constitute work or tasks under the public accommodation provisions of the MHRA, so “companion animals” are not considered service animals in this context. If a public accommodation is not sure whether a dog is a service animal, it may ask two questions: (1) is the animal re-

quired because of a disability; and (2) what work or task has the animal been trained to perform? These are the only inquiries that may be made, and they should only be made when it is not readily apparent that the dog is trained to perform work for an individual with a disability. The public accommodation may not ask about the nature or extent of the individual’s disability. It is important to know that a public accommodation cannot require documentation showing that the dog has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal. While some service animals may have such documents, they are not required by law, and cannot be required by a business. Individuals with disabilities must be allowed to be accompanied by their service animal in all areas where members of the public are able to go. This means that a public accommodation may not designate certain areas of its facility as off-limits to individuals because they are accompanied by a service animal. For example, a restaurant cannot require a patron with a service animal to sit outside or in any particular section within the restaurant, and a hotel cannot require a guest with a service animal to accept a particular room or type of room. A public accommodation also cannot require an individual to pay a fee or comply with special requirements in order to be accompanied by their service animal, even if the public accommodation requires those things of people accompanied by pets. Remember, service animals are not pets under the law.

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A public accommodation may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises only if the animal is out of control or the animal is not housebroken. The dog also must be on a leash/ tether/harness, unless that would interfere with their work, in which case they must be otherwise under its handler’s control. Additional guidance can be found online at maine.gov/mhrc. The single most important thing to remember, though, is that the MHRA’s general rule is one of inclusion, requiring that a public accommodation allow service animals to be present. 

When I was serving on the MERA board, I was approached by [then association president] Dick Grotton to represent the State of Maine on the national board. I decided to apply and I went through their nominating process to become a board member. Initially I represented the State of Maine but, about six years in, I moved to Massachusetts when I accepted a career position at Uno's. The NRA wanted to keep me on the board, so they made me a multi-unit representative on the board. So, I started as a state liaison, going to the national meetings and reporting back to the state board and, eventually, I got involved in things like chairing committees. I chaired the jobs and careers committee, I chaired the NRA trade show one year, then I was on the executive committee several times before eventually becoming an officer. Q: How does it feel to be the only person ever from Maine to be chairman of the National Restaurant Association?

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It's pretty exciting to have someone from the State of Maine at this level and for me to be in a leadership role representing my home state - it's just been a great experience. One of the things I've always liked about the NRA board - and I still feel this way today - is that you can run a large company or a small company or have one restaurant and when you go in that boardroom for a meeting, you have the same voice as everybody else. Even when it comes to naming their officers, I don't think they rule out the fact that you come from a smaller or a less populated state. Q: Dawn Sweeney, President & CEO of the NRA is also from Maine as is Matt Walker, Vice President of Government

With Dawn leading the NRA, me as her chair for this year, and Matt as one of the primary spokespersons for our advocacy efforts - there is certainly a Maine influence these days, but the input and voices from across the U.S. are balanced and diverse on the NRA board, not only by geography, but representing all aspects and segments of our industry, and affiliated businesses. Q: What are your primary roles and responsibilities as chairman of the NRA? Well, first and foremost, running the board meetings. I also have weekly calls with Dawn Sweeney on any critical issues or things that are facing our industry where I give her input on her direction - really supporting her. It's her organization to run, but I have a weekly voice with her all the time. So, those are the business aspects of it and leading that direction. Also the budget, the advocacy plan, and the strategic plans - I have direct input on all of that. The rest of my role as chairman is to be an ambassador for the industry and traveling to visit various states, educational forums and universities, association and industry events, all to promote our industry, tell our story and encourage others to choose our industry for their careers and join our advocacy efforts. Q: How have you sought to advance the NRA during your tenure? My number-one goal has been to get more people engaged in our advocacy efforts. Everybody is busy and has a reason not to participate, but everybody that jumps in can strengthen our voice and our advocacy effort. The National Restaurant Association works closely with the state associations, and those benefits are pretty clear, but I focus on the benefit of restaurateurs getting engaged and them getting more involved. That’s one of the things that Dawn and I have worked on this year - helping restaurateurs understand that getting engaged doesn’t necessarily mean having to serve on the board. It can be as simple as writ-

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ing an op-ed article or meeting with a legislator about minimum wage bills, or taking a day out of their time to meet with a members of congress, sponsoring an event, or attending a fundraiser for a candidate or supporting our advocacy efforts. So, there's many ways to get involved. Q: Why do you think it's important that restaurant professionals be engaged with their association? Because legislators or regulators that are putting these bills together are doing things in a legislative way that affect our business. They need to hear from us: the operator. They need to understand better the impact that their actions will have on our business - for better or for worse. And yes, they can get that from an association executive or from a lobbyist, but it really resonates if they're hearing from someone in their district or someone in their community that is a taxpayer and a job provider and an active community member - voicing concern on something that they're voting on. They really take that to heart. To the extent that we don't have engagement from the entire industry when we're lobbying, we're less effective than if we did. Q: Why do you think belonging to the restaurant association is so important? I give a little bit of an awkward answer because I know there are great tangible benefits, but that's not why I joined. I became a member when someone urged me to join because of a particular issue and then I got engaged and before I knew it I was a couple of years into the process and still connected. When I get that renewal bill as a member of the NRA or MERA now, I pay it because I need to be involved. I'm not paying that invoice thinking ‘what do I get for this money’. When the association recruits somebody new, that's often their biggest question: What do I get out of it? But the flip side of that is that it isn't fair. If they don’t support the association, we're going to fight for them whether they're engaged with us or not, and that's a little unfair. Our voice is going to be less strong or not as effective

...continued on page 11


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The

Maine

INGREDIENT I

Maine Restaurant Association

August / September 2015 Chairman Crawford... ...continued from page 1

annual golf classic Affairs. Do you think all of these ties to Maine benefit your fellow restaurateurs here at home?

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Service Animals & Your Restaurant A Guest Article from the Maine Human Rights Commission More and more, Maine businesses are seeing people going about their daily activities accompanied by an animal. Some of these may be people who are simply enjoying the company of their pets, but many of them are individuals with disabilities who are accompanied by their service animals. Service animals are not pets, and are not governed by a general “no pets allowed” rule. The difficulty is in knowing the difference between a pet and a sevice animal, and knowing what rules govern efforts to distinguish between them. The Maine Human Rights Act (“MHRA”) requires that places of public accommodation – which include restaurants, inns, and hotels – allow the use of service animals by individuals with disabilities. In the context of public accommodations, a “service animal” is a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a physical or mental disability. Other animals are not considered service animals in the context of public accommodations. The work or task that the dog is trained to do must be directly related to the individual’s disability. The provision of emotional support, comfort, or companionship does not constitute work or tasks under the public accommodation provisions of the MHRA, so “companion animals” are not considered service animals in this context. If a public accommodation is not sure whether a dog is a service animal, it may ask two questions: (1) is the animal re-

quired because of a disability; and (2) what work or task has the animal been trained to perform? These are the only inquiries that may be made, and they should only be made when it is not readily apparent that the dog is trained to perform work for an individual with a disability. The public accommodation may not ask about the nature or extent of the individual’s disability. It is important to know that a public accommodation cannot require documentation showing that the dog has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal. While some service animals may have such documents, they are not required by law, and cannot be required by a business. Individuals with disabilities must be allowed to be accompanied by their service animal in all areas where members of the public are able to go. This means that a public accommodation may not designate certain areas of its facility as off-limits to individuals because they are accompanied by a service animal. For example, a restaurant cannot require a patron with a service animal to sit outside or in any particular section within the restaurant, and a hotel cannot require a guest with a service animal to accept a particular room or type of room. A public accommodation also cannot require an individual to pay a fee or comply with special requirements in order to be accompanied by their service animal, even if the public accommodation requires those things of people accompanied by pets. Remember, service animals are not pets under the law.

4

A public accommodation may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises only if the animal is out of control or the animal is not housebroken. The dog also must be on a leash/ tether/harness, unless that would interfere with their work, in which case they must be otherwise under its handler’s control. Additional guidance can be found online at maine.gov/mhrc. The single most important thing to remember, though, is that the MHRA’s general rule is one of inclusion, requiring that a public accommodation allow service animals to be present. 

When I was serving on the MERA board, I was approached by [then association president] Dick Grotton to represent the State of Maine on the national board. I decided to apply and I went through their nominating process to become a board member. Initially I represented the State of Maine but, about six years in, I moved to Massachusetts when I accepted a career position at Uno's. The NRA wanted to keep me on the board, so they made me a multi-unit representative on the board. So, I started as a state liaison, going to the national meetings and reporting back to the state board and, eventually, I got involved in things like chairing committees. I chaired the jobs and careers committee, I chaired the NRA trade show one year, then I was on the executive committee several times before eventually becoming an officer. Q: How does it feel to be the only person ever from Maine to be chairman of the National Restaurant Association?

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It's pretty exciting to have someone from the State of Maine at this level and for me to be in a leadership role representing my home state - it's just been a great experience. One of the things I've always liked about the NRA board - and I still feel this way today - is that you can run a large company or a small company or have one restaurant and when you go in that boardroom for a meeting, you have the same voice as everybody else. Even when it comes to naming their officers, I don't think they rule out the fact that you come from a smaller or a less populated state. Q: Dawn Sweeney, President & CEO of the NRA is also from Maine as is Matt Walker, Vice President of Government

With Dawn leading the NRA, me as her chair for this year, and Matt as one of the primary spokespersons for our advocacy efforts - there is certainly a Maine influence these days, but the input and voices from across the U.S. are balanced and diverse on the NRA board, not only by geography, but representing all aspects and segments of our industry, and affiliated businesses. Q: What are your primary roles and responsibilities as chairman of the NRA? Well, first and foremost, running the board meetings. I also have weekly calls with Dawn Sweeney on any critical issues or things that are facing our industry where I give her input on her direction - really supporting her. It's her organization to run, but I have a weekly voice with her all the time. So, those are the business aspects of it and leading that direction. Also the budget, the advocacy plan, and the strategic plans - I have direct input on all of that. The rest of my role as chairman is to be an ambassador for the industry and traveling to visit various states, educational forums and universities, association and industry events, all to promote our industry, tell our story and encourage others to choose our industry for their careers and join our advocacy efforts. Q: How have you sought to advance the NRA during your tenure? My number-one goal has been to get more people engaged in our advocacy efforts. Everybody is busy and has a reason not to participate, but everybody that jumps in can strengthen our voice and our advocacy effort. The National Restaurant Association works closely with the state associations, and those benefits are pretty clear, but I focus on the benefit of restaurateurs getting engaged and them getting more involved. That’s one of the things that Dawn and I have worked on this year - helping restaurateurs understand that getting engaged doesn’t necessarily mean having to serve on the board. It can be as simple as writ-

9

ing an op-ed article or meeting with a legislator about minimum wage bills, or taking a day out of their time to meet with a members of congress, sponsoring an event, or attending a fundraiser for a candidate or supporting our advocacy efforts. So, there's many ways to get involved. Q: Why do you think it's important that restaurant professionals be engaged with their association? Because legislators or regulators that are putting these bills together are doing things in a legislative way that affect our business. They need to hear from us: the operator. They need to understand better the impact that their actions will have on our business - for better or for worse. And yes, they can get that from an association executive or from a lobbyist, but it really resonates if they're hearing from someone in their district or someone in their community that is a taxpayer and a job provider and an active community member - voicing concern on something that they're voting on. They really take that to heart. To the extent that we don't have engagement from the entire industry when we're lobbying, we're less effective than if we did. Q: Why do you think belonging to the restaurant association is so important? I give a little bit of an awkward answer because I know there are great tangible benefits, but that's not why I joined. I became a member when someone urged me to join because of a particular issue and then I got engaged and before I knew it I was a couple of years into the process and still connected. When I get that renewal bill as a member of the NRA or MERA now, I pay it because I need to be involved. I'm not paying that invoice thinking ‘what do I get for this money’. When the association recruits somebody new, that's often their biggest question: What do I get out of it? But the flip side of that is that it isn't fair. If they don’t support the association, we're going to fight for them whether they're engaged with us or not, and that's a little unfair. Our voice is going to be less strong or not as effective

...continued on page 11


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Advocacy Update... ...continued from page 1 in limbo, as it awaits a fix at the Wednesday September 9 City Council Meeting. The options for that meeting include leaving it the same at a $3.75 tip credit, thereby adopting the $6.35 tipped wage, making the tipped wage half of the Portland minimum wage or adopting language that would freeze the tipped wage at $3.75, as they originally intended to do. They have also sent the Portland Green Party $15 minimum wage referendum question to the voters in the November election. Their only other option would have been to enact the proposal and most of the councilors believe the $15 minimum wage to be too much. Both the Maine Restaurant Association (MERA) and Maine Innkeepers Association (MEIA) are working with other local, state and national associations to create a coalition to help defeat this referendum question. More on this in subsequent issues. In Bangor, Councilor Joseph Baldacci has introduced a proposed ordinance to create a minimum wage in the City of Bangor, which would be $8.25 on January 1, 2016, $9.00 on January 1 of the following year and ending with an increase to $9.75 in 2018. This ordinance would also be tied to CPI, thereafter. In this version, anyone under the age of 18 and tipped employees are exempt. There are currently moves at the council level to remove or modify those exemptions, which would be a serious issue especially for the tipped wage. A vote by the Council on this ordinance at the end of July was expected, but never occurred. The ordinance was tabled and sent to the Business and Economic Development Committee for further review on August 18. The next vote on the ordinance has been scheduled for November 23. MERA has been working hard to rally restaurateurs from both cities to continue to petition the councils to take business interests into consideration when reviewing these onerous ordinances. South Portland is also considering a wage increase. Much of this outward aggression by these communities towards the business community was driven by the State Legislature’s inability to come together to create a compromise to raise the minimum wage in a reasonable and responsible fashion. Some Republicans including the Governor were opposed to any increase in the minimum wage and other Republicans were interested in a modest three year increase of $0.50 per year, but were hoping to also get a pre-

emption clause in statute. This clause would have restricted the ability for a community to create their own wage in Maine. The Democrats countered with $0.50 a year for four years culminating in a $9.50 per hour wage by 2019. There were not the votes to secure either outcome. The Maine People’s Alliance is currently collecting signatures to put a $12 minimum wage initiative on the 2016 statewide ballot. This would occur over a period of 4 years and the tip credit would also be eliminated over a period of eight years. The association dodged a bullet on the budget. As you probably remember, the Governor proposed a 6.5% meals tax and an 8% lodging tax. There was little belief in any circle that those rates would hold, though there was a hope that lodging tax would stay at 8%. At the end of the day, as budget negotiations generally go, we were encouraged by the fact that meals tax stayed at 8%. This was the result of several members petitioning legislators for the residents of the State who pay most of the tax. Unfortunately the lodging tax was increased to 9% as of January 1, 2016. Both taxes were schedule to return to 7% as a result of their being increased to 8% in the last budget but we were all pretty sure that was not meant to be. We did very well to defeat the tip credit elimination bill with a unanimous vote of the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee, but little did we know that tip credit elimination would become part of the statewide referendum question. We had a couple weeks to bask in our short lived victory. Also, a bill that we thought had been killed in committee got new life on the floor of the Legislature. LD 1326 would require restaurants, among others, to identify genetically modified foods (GMOs) on their menus. This bill was carried over to the next session and we will be monitoring it closely. At the Federal level, there is some good news to report and some not so good news. After lengthy discussions by the national organizations (National Restaurant Association and American Hotel & Lodging Association among others) with legislative leaders, the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Homeland Security marked-up and passed its FY ‘16 funding bill which includes language providing for a one-year “returning worker exemption”, providing H2B users some relief under the

1O

annual cap as workers that comply with all aspects of the law in one of the previous three years would not count against the 66,000 worker cap. The Senate version of the DHS appropriations bill does not include the measure so it will be critical to protect the House language when the House and Senate convene a conference committee. For those who use or have used H2B visa workers in the past, this returning worker provision has always been helpful as it provides for so many more workers in the Northeast with our late filing deadlines.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Annual Golf Classic Spring Meadows Golf Club, Gray Thursday, October 1, 2015

EMV "Chip & Pin" Standards: Implementation Date Wednesday, October 20, 2015

The Department of Labor released the text of overtime proposed regulations shortly thereafter, before publishing them in the federal register. The regulation is officially published in the federal register. There will be a 60 day comment period, which may end sometime in September. Senator Collins and others may try to get an extension. This is a very important issue for Maine restaurateurs. We’ll be emailing a link to members soon where you can add your own comments for consideration. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Membership Meeting 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Membership Reception Black Point Inn, Scarborough

Annual Awards Banquet Holiday Inn By the Bay, Portland Wednesday, March 30, 2016 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Maine Restaurant & Lodging Expo Cross Insurance Arena, Portland

www.DennisExpress.com Serving Maine Since 1908 P 207-947-0321 F 207-947-0323

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President’s Report: By Greg Dugal: President & CEO, Maine Restaurant Association

Near and Long-term Labor Solutions

The bad news is that the much anticipated overtime regulations the Obama Administration has been working on have been released. President Obama posted a blog post on the Huffington Post announcing his intention to more than double the salary threshold for employees eligible for overtime from the current level of $23,660 to $50,440 beginning in 2016.

800-439-2727

August / September 2015

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Fall is on the way and that means lots of beautiful foliage and with it, many guests at our restaurants. It also means trying to cobble together a workforce through what has become a very busy time of the year. September has caught up with June in almost every region in the state in restaurant revenues and the month of October also continues to grow. As economic times improve, access to the labor force contracts for our industry. What can we do? Visa workers tend to be available more in the May until early September timeline. These days, J-1 visa workers really are more summertime employees and, though you can get some H2B visa workers through the end of the season, they’re getting harder and harder to acquire. Rest assured that this association, along with the National Restaurant Association, will continue to work hard at making both processes easier. Recently introduced legislation may bring back the returning worker provision of the H2B visa, which means that H2B visa workers would not count against the cap for two additional years after their visa is first issued. This will allow for many more workers than the current cap of 66,000. At this time of year, with the school year fast approaching, it is hard not to recognize that many young people are looking to our industry for their career. In this era of labor shortages, make every effort to engage with local culinary programs to use this resource not only for temporary labor, but for students who may make your restaurant their permanent job upon completion of their studies. Find out about the secondary and postsecondary schools in your area that may provide you with interns, part time employees and potentially long term employees. In urban areas like Portland and Bangor, there are Career and Technical Education

3

(CTE) Centers and in more rural areas CTE Regional Schools where multiple communities fund and govern these educational entities. Couple that with the fact that most of Maine’s community colleges also have a post-secondary culinary programs and it makes your involvement with local educational institutions essential to your survival. Granted, not every student will become a model employee, but it an obvious place to look for employees as the shortage of skilled laborers continues to grow. The Maine Restaurant Association supports and promotes the ProStart culinary curriculum throughout the state. We assist with funding schools attempting to get a quality curriculum off the ground including financial assistance with text books and teacher instruction materials. We also help to organize Maine’s ProStart culinary competition that culminates in sending the winning team of young people to the national competition, generally held in a very desirable location, last year at Disneyland. This year, the MERA Education Foundation presented scholarships to four lucky culinary students headed off to complete their education and fulfill their dreams. Our industry needs to be as supportive as possible of these educational programs and champion their successes in order for restaurants to continue to thrive. When Maine’s 2015 Chef Educator of the Year, Dan Caron from Lewiston Regional Technical Center, accepted his award, he commented on the fact that what made him most proud of his students and his program was dining out in the Lewiston area and seeing alumni from his program being successful at these area restaurants. It doesn’t take a lot of time to acquaint yourselves with the team at the CTE schools and they are happy to make your acquaintance. It truly is a win-win for the instructor and program and you, the restaurateur. Don’t have time you say? Start small and just engage with one student. The experiences we have had with students in the ProStart competition have been inspiring and we believe that you can have a similar experience. Just give it a chance! 


The

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Maine Restaurant Association

Chairman’s Message:

Chairman Crawford...

By Tina Hewett-Gordon: The Nonantum Resort - Kennebunkport

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats Kennebunkport has been bursting at the seams this summer! I've been at The Nonantum for 24 years and I can't remember a more glorious stretch of weather or seen such flocks of people coming to enjoy it! With each turning of the calendar, I look forward to what's to come and take a moment to reflect on what has already been. In late June the MERA Board of Directors met for its first strategic planning session. The basis for this session was to establish a baseline SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis of the association. It was a fun-filled day - thought provoking and, at times, charged with emotion and conviction. The result of our time is a document that the board can use to formulate and anticipate the needs of the association as well as support the restaurant industry in Maine. Let me share a few of the conclusions: • Strengths: Staff and leadership • • Weaknesses: Communication of our message • • Opportunities: Educating restaurateurs of the association's efforts • • Threats: Negative consequences of extreme legislation

time to sit down with the other decisionmakers in our own businesses to conduct this same type of exercise. The answers are vital to goal setting and our future successes. It seems that many of the questions and answers are the same for a restaurant operation as they are for our association. Our #1 strength is our staff, so it’s important to treat them well! Weaknesses? Is the message that you communicate to the public conveying what you're really trying to say? Is it clear? Do all of your collateral materials have a consistent, professional look? Opportunities? Are you educating your staff? Do you have a mission statement and if so do your employees know what it is? Do your customers? Threats? Are there any local issues that might directly affect your dayto-day operations and are you communicating your concerns to town officials? Are you regularly evaluating your systems and operational practices? Do they need updating? Needless to say, the strategic planning experience has been very thought provoking and produced useful information. I find each encounter I have as a member of the board incredibly rewarding for not only my personal search for knowledge and networking, but the benefits and knowledge I gain by working side-by-side with the other industry professionals that make up the MERA board. I would urge you to answer these questions as they pertain to your own business and put a plan in place! 

As I sat in the planning session and as I ponder this process, I think how applicable these questions and answers are to The Nonantum's operations. As busy restaurateurs, we tend to get wrapped up in our day-to-day operations and don't take the

The

is published six times a year by the Maine Restaurant Association. 2015 © All Rights Reserved 45 Melville Street Augusta, Maine · 04330 Tel: 207.623.2178 · Fax: 866.711.5408 mainerestaurant.com info@mainerestaurant.com ../mainerestaurantassociation @mainerestaurant MAINE RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION OFFICERS Tina Hewett-Gordon

Chairman of the Board The Nonantum Resort Kennebunkport

Michelle Corry

Vice Chair Five Fifty-Five & Petite Jacqueline Portland

Laurie Palmer

Second Vice Chair Burger King Waterville

Bruce Woodard, CPA, CFP

Treasurer Woodard & Associates, CPA’s Auburn, Portland

Steve DiMillo

Secretary DiMillo’s On the Water Portland

John Kyle

O u r s e r v i c e d o e s n ’t e n d w h e n o u r t r u c k l e a v e s y o u r d o o r.

We aren’t just in the delivery business; we’re in the success business. We do everything we can to help each of our customers become a crazy, line-out-the-door success.

STAFF Greg Dugal

President & CEO greg@mainerestaurant.com

Chris Jones

Chief Operating Officer chris@mainerestaurant.com

Becky Jacobson

20 Dalton Road • Augusta, Maine www.NorthCenter.com 1-877-564-8081

Operations Manager becky@mainerestaurant.com

Rebecca Dill

Marketing & Events Director rebeccad@mainerestaurant.com

2

...continued from page 9

Maine Ingredient

Senior Advisor Pat’s Pizza Yarmouth

Amongst the other questions we evaluated were: • What programs or services are no longer needed by our membership? • • How would you evaluate MERA communications? • • What is the single most important objective MERA must accomplish? • • What are our important strategic partnerships?

August / September 2015

because we have one less person involved. I speak more about that than I do about the residual benefits of being a member because it's an obligation and it's an association that's working on your behalf and it's only going to be stronger if you support it. Q: What's been your favorite part of the job? Doing the student-related things. The first one that I did was at the University of Delaware where they a had student forum of 200 people who were about to graduate and enter our industry, and then I gave the commencement address at the Culinary Institute of America. That's probably the most memorable thing I’ve done all year and something I'll always remember. They actually gave me an ambassador degree - it was a dreamy day. I mean, it was like going to Harvard for our industry. When I visited that campus in Hyde Park, New York, what really struck me was that every classroom has a window. That may sound simple, but in this particular educational environment faculty walk by all the time and it's not uncommon for them to look in on the class and see what the students are doing so students always have to be at their best. And ProStart. When I first became an officer a couple of years ago, first as treasurer and then vice chair, there were 60,000 students in the ProStart program. I remember saying to Dawn Sweeney, you know, this is great, but wouldn't it be more impactful if there were 100,000 students and now there's 120,000. So it just keeps growing. Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge to today's restaurateurs? Recruitment. And, that comes back to the advocacy and telling our story and making sure that our voice is heard, because there's a stigma about our industry. There’s still that dead-end jobs-provider stigma out there and we need to refute that. We need to speak to it in facts and figures about our business and advancement opportunities that we offer and the significance that we are a great part-time employer for people who want or need part-time work. We're a big provider of that as well as careers. We need to keep telling that story, because if we don't, then more and more people are going to be less interested in joining

our industry even though we're an industry that seems to grow in good times or bad economic times, restaurants seem to find a way to get open - it's that entrepreneurial spirit. But if you don't have the people to execute, you're not going to be able to continue at that pace. I would say recruitment is the biggest challenge. People are feeling it right now. It ebbs and flows like the economy, but right now it's challenging. Q: What do you see as the biggest opportunity for those in the restaurant industry today? I think of two audiences – employees and owners. For the employee, the opportunities are the rapid expansion and the opportunity to climb the ladder, no matter what kind of educational background you have, to advance and have a career in our industry. It's a real thing that you can see the rungs in the ladder and the steps you need to take and there's training programs along the way. For restaurant owners and prospective owners, there’s always a way to open a restaurant - even in bad economic times. If you want to own a business, you can. It might mean that you go work for somebody or partner with somebody for a while and really get your skills down or get your finances together, but you can find a clear path to own your own business someday maybe more so than other industries offers. Q: More and more millennials are entering into food service careers. How do you see them shaping the future of the industry? They're going to challenge us. They're not like we or our parents were in the way we looked at our careers. They're not afraid to make a risky decision and if they're not satisfied with where their career is going with you, they're not afraid to jump across to another employer. And maybe all of us, in the past, have had a little more loyalty or a little more fear in that decision. Millennials don't. They're confident and they are skillful and they're going to challenge their superiors to create the right environment and have the right advancement opportunities or they're not going to be as loyal as we all have been in our careers. That's the biggest challenge, to keep them motivated and retain their talent on your team.

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Q: How has this chairmanship experience helped you grow both personally and professionally? It's interesting how some core values and principles necessary for this role relate back to home and to business. In this role, you need to get off the plane and your game face needs to be on, even if you're tired or if you worked the whole day before or you have things going on at home. People are excited to see you and you need to get off that plane with a big smile on because people are counting on you. And that has taught me something back at home. Think about the way you treat employees or the way you speak to people or how approachable you are. No matter how busy a day I’ve had, when I get home, I can't appear like I'm tired and I'm disinterested in what my family might want to talk about or might want to do that evening. With my own company, if somebody needs to talk to me I need to be approachable. I think this role has made me a more approachable person - both at home and at work. Q: What does the rest of the year have in store for you? I have a few more state visits planned, some business meetings at the NRA office in Washington, DC to plan for 2016, and two international trips planned - one in Mexico City and one in London - to participate in their restaurant association events and speak about common issues with the food service business in America. Although my year is winding down, I still have several trips ahead so, I'll go out with a bang and certainly be engaged to the end. I'm honored to have had this opportunity to serve in this role and represent the industry that's been so good to all of us. And, I'll have no difficulty passing the torch to the capable leaders who are ready to serve behind me. While I will stay active in these efforts, I'll also look forward to continuing to serve the needs of my company, Ground Round, and enjoy more time with family and friends. Jack’s stint as chairman concludes at the end of December. He’s looking forward to reflecting on his year at the helm of the NRA Board with a much deserved desert vacation that he’s already booked for January. 


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MAINE INGREDIENT I

45 Melville St. • Augusta, ME 04330

August / September 2O15

207. 623 . 2178 mainerestaurant . com

info @ mainerestaurant . com

A Visit with National Restaurant Association Chairman - Maine's Own Jack Crawford

MAINE INGREDIENT I

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Member Benefits

Workers Comp Trust Workers compensation insurance is a necessary part of doing business and, in the restaurant industry, it can be a hefty line-item on your financial statement. Luckily, members of the Maine

Restaurant Association have access to the Maine Merchants Association Workers Comp Trust. The Trust is made up of Maine employers like you. (Members of the Maine Retailers Association and Maine Innkeepers Association are also a part of The Trust.) Together, members self-insure to meet their workers compensation obligation while sharing claim expenses, and profits that are achieved when, collectively, claims are low. Just this year, The Trust anticipates returning half a million dollars in premiums to its members! While being a member of the Maine Restaurant Association alone does not guarantee that your business is eligible to join The Trust, membership does get your foot in the door. To qualify, you must demonstrate your company's financial stability and a proven track record of workplace safety. Typically, businesses with $5,000 or more in annual workers comp insurance premiums achieve the most benefit of becoming a Trust member. We know you didn't get into the restaurant business for your love of workers compensation insurance but it's the kind of business expense that's important to review from time to time. If it saves you money it's well worth investigating. Contact us today to explore this option further and to get a quote for your workers comp insurance: 207.623.2178 or info@ mainerestaurant.com. FMI: maineworkerscompensation.com

Jack Crawford, President & CEO of Ground Round IOC (Independent Operators Cooperative), is a Maine restaurateur with a major role on the national restaurant stage. A longtime member of the Maine Restaurant Association (MERA), Jack served on our board of directors for twelve years - two as Chairman and another four as Maine’s representative to the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Board of Directors. Jack has, over the past twelve years, worked his way up through the leadership ranks of the NRA Board and in January 2015 took the reigns as Chairman of the Board becoming the first ever Mainer to serve in this role.

velopment for them. I call that my sabbatical. Other than that, I've been with Ground Round the whole time. I worked for the company for about 11 years and then I was a franchisee for 15 years. So, when the company was bought out by the franchisees I was the natural person, having worked on both sides of the tracks, to lead the new group forward. It was 11 years ago that we bought the company and we’ve proved-out that structure. Q: You’ve devoted your entire professional career to this industry. What appeals so much to you about it?

I worked in a deli and a liquor store through college where I got a little bit of food service experience but that was it. I graduated with a degree in business management and my brother urged me to join this company called Ground Round. It was growing rapidly at the time and I went through their management training program. So, I guess I'm an example of somebody with very little experience and a college degree who can advance through good training and have a good career.

It’s all the things that the restaurant business means to people in America. It isn't just that we're this big jobs provider or career opportunities provider - people can get promoted from within and, whether they have a management degree or not, they can still move up in our organizations - but it's all the other things that we do. Community groups meet in our restaurants. We raise money in our restaurants. We're some of the best charitable givers in business anywhere in America. People go to our restaurants to celebrate an event or meet with family or have a business lunch or just to get a break. Our business provides all of that and so, that's what gets me excited about the restaurant business. We're very connected in the community. You can go to any community out there in any small town in America and you'll find restaurants at the top of the list as far as being engaged businesses in the community.

Q: So, you've been with Ground Round since college?

Q: How did you become involved with the National Restaurant Association?

We sat down with Jack recently to discuss his NRA chairmanship, his perspective on the restaurant business nationally and his thoughts on the future of the industry in which he’s spent his career. Q: How did you get your start in the food service business?

There was one four-year period where I worked for Uno Chicago Grill to do de-

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An Active Summer for Advocacy Efforts Even though the Legislature recessed on June 24 and was gone until June 30, when they returned to override the Governor’s budget veto, and adjourned on July 16 with a flurry of veto overrides, it has still been very busy for your association. Local initiatives have been taking a tremendous amount of time. Two minimum wage proposals in Portland and one in Bangor have made Mondays a very long day for association staff. The Portland City Council met on July 6 to pass a minimum wage ordinance that will raise the minimum wage to $10.10 on January 1, 2016, $10.68 on January 1, 2017 and then adjust future increases to the Consumer Price Index (CPI.) There was a sizable issue with the tip credit, as the council believed it was freezing the tipped wage at $3.75, but froze the tip credit at $3.75 instead, thereby necessitating a reconsideration of the ordinance to make that fix. The Council moved to reconsider on July 20 and the ordinance is

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IN THIS ISSUE:

Chairman’s Message

2

Upcoming Events

2

President’s Report

3

Annual Golf Classic

4

Accommodating Service Animals 4 Member Benefits: Workers Comp 12


August september 2015 issuu