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at your

Official Magazine of North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association

Service Greensboro’s Proximity Hotel LEEDing the Way

Saving Green by Going Green Innovation at S&D

June 2013 Issue, Vol. 2, Issue 2

table of contents

THANK YOU NCRLA thanks its 2013 Corporate Partners

in every issue


Letter from the Chair and the President NCRLA Chair Brad Hurley and President/CEO Lynn Minges

9 17

Welcome New Members NCRLA welcomes several new members from across North Carolina


Upcoming Events Network with North Carolina’s hospitality industry leaders at one of NCRLA’s upcoming events


Benefits of Membership in NCRLA Membership in NCRLA offers new ideas and opportunities to collaborate

A la Carte A sampler of hospitality-related news stories


8 10

Keep it Green Simple, low-cost ways to help your lodging or restaurant property go green


LEEDing the Way For Dennis Quaintance, sustainability is all about legacy


What’s Cooking Print Works Bistro’s Summer Vegetable Tart is a savory delight


Home Grown Turkey burgers are trending up for summer

18 20

What’s Brewing Mother Earth Brewing becomes the nation’s first LEED Gold brewery

22 24

Scoring with Social Media How hospitality businesses are making the most of Pinterest

ProStart News National ProStart Invitational helps students feel passionate about their future in hospitality Movers and Shakers Innovation keeps S&D’s business brewing Food Safety News Minimize your risk of a foodborne illness outbreak


Legal Bites False online reviews of your business and your legal remedies

28 29

Keep it Green FF&E and indoor air quality


Secrets of Success How Jacksonville hotels worked together to reduce their carbon footprint Secrets of Success How composting helped slash costs for the Chef’s Academy

NCRLA Executive Board of Directors Brad Hurley, Chair 42nd Street Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill Joel Griffin, Chair-Elect Griffin Stafford Hospitality Jimmy Sizemore, Treasurer JP Steakhouse, LLC Randy Kolls, Secretary Travel & Tourism Board Representative Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club Christina Larson Immediate Past Chair Darden Restaurants Vinay Patel AH&LA Representative SREE Hotels, LLC Billy Sewell NRA Representative Platinum Corral, LLC Lynn D. Minges President and CEO NCRLA Frank Gray General Counsel and Lobbyist Jordan Price Wall Gray Jones & Carlton, PLLC

letter from the chair and the president Momentum is strong on all fronts The spring season brought a sense of rebirth, renewal and promise. And while many hospitality businesses across the state are entering into their busiest season of the year, we at NCRLA are doing much the same. The first quarter of 2013 brought membership growth to NCRLA as we added 38 new members. With that, the organization increased revenue, which allows us to enhance services and value to our entire membership. Improvements to the website, a new look and feel and re-launch of this At Your Service magazine, and the introduction of a new In the Mix weekly newsletter are all designed to help keep our members engaged and informed. These new tools, along with a renewed commitment and investment in social media platforms, not only serve to connect us with members, but also help to reach and engage potential members and stakeholders in innovative ways. NCRLA’s annual Rally in Raleigh brought together more than 170 members of the N.C. General Assembly and other policy makers who engaged with members on issues affecting our industry. And, during the Rally, ProStart students who worked alongside Sam Hobgood and his team in Big Ed’s kitchen, helped to showcase how NCRLA and the N.C. Hospitality Education Foundation are working together to help prepare employees for careers in our state’s growing hospitality industry. Momentum is strong as we work together toward many successes and positive outcomes during the 2013 legislative long session. We will fight hard to protect your interests in the debate about tax reform, health department permit fees and regulatory reform, and we will continue to oppose new meals taxes, carve-outs to the smoking ban, and changes to the school calendar laws that protect our important traditional summer season. We are also working to secure favorable legislation that will allow casino nights for non-profit organizations, which can help to bring increased revenue for many of our members, and to protect you from potential frivolous law suits. Keep abreast on our progress through NCRLA’s weekly legislative briefing, View from Jones Street. The media has taken note of our efforts and NCRLA has been sourced recently in a number of news stories. We have seized the opportunity to speak out on the issues that impact your businesses and we have also secured positive media coverage that has helped to highlight and showcase your many, many successes and accomplishments. The future of North Carolina’s $18.5 billion hospitality industry is bright, and NCRLA has never been more poised to help support your continued growth and prosperity.

Brad Hurley


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Lynn D. Minges

At Your Service Volume 2, Issue 2 An official publication of the N.C. Restaurant & Lodging Association© OUR STAFF President & CEO Lynn D. Minges Chief Operating Officer Alyssa Barkley, IOM Membership Coordinator/ Office Manager Kristin Worrell Government Affairs Manager Whitney Christensen, Esq. Marketing & Communications Manager Karen A. Mann Education Programs Manager Ranita Bullock General Counsel & Lobbyist Frank Gray Printer Chamblee Graphics, Inc. Graphics and Design Paige Happel Friddle Creative Concepts & Solutions, (336) 908-0966 or BUSINESS OFFICE 6036 Six Forks Road Raleigh, N.C. 27609 Phone: (919) 844-0098 Toll free: (800) 582-8750 Fax: (919) 844-0190 For advertising and sponsorship inquiries, contact Marketing & Communications Manager Karen A. Mann at, (919) 844-0098 or (800) 582-8750

Keep it Green

Simple, Low-Cost Ways To Go Green start with proven green practices for Your property

We have all seen the market research. A growing majority of consumers are looking for lodging and food service options that take steps to improve the environment. But how do you balance the cost of implementing green practices with the benefits, which in some cases may not be realized until months, if not years later? A successful strategy for many owners and operators is to start with small, low-cost, proven green practices. u



Success seems to build on success. By starting with green practices that are likely to be successful, you will be more confident and have the experience to make future green projects that may be more challenging successful. Builds staff buy-in. Many staff members might see going green as just more work. However, by starting with simple green practices, your staff is more likely to see the benefits of going green, and the success of these early programs is likely to get them excited about future efforts. Saving money on early projects may allow for additional resources for future projects. By investing in low-cost green projects with short-pay back periods, you might find additional room in your budgets to invest in more expensive green projects.

Once you decide that you want to implement some low-cost green practices, the challenge becomes deciding which ones to choose. It can be somewhat daunting to try and sift through the thousands of online and print resources dedicated to going green. The best strategy is to have an audit completed by an environmental professional. There are a growing number of private firms that can be hired to do this work, as well as governmental and nonprofit originations as well. In North Carolina, the Waste Reduction Partners and the N.C. Division


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of Environmental Assistance provide no-cost environmental assessments for tourism and hospitality related facilities. Most audits can be completed in about four hours. However, depending on the size, the level of examination and unique characteristics of your facility, an environmental audit can take anywhere between two hours to multiple days. The audit will typically include an assessment of energy, water and chemical usage, an evaluation of solid waste and possibly landscaping, as well as an assessment of organizational policies and procedures that may have environmental implications. Once the environmental assessment is complete, the assessor should provide the property with a report detailing not only recommended environmental measures, but also an estimate of the environmental and financial savings from implementing each practice. Some reports also provide resources on implementing the recommendations. There are also a number of resources designed to walk property owners through implementing green practices, such as the AH&LA Green Resource Center and the NRA’s ConServe Initiative. These resources often have a list of top recommended green practices, as well as some additional resources designed to help implement them. The guidelines of recognition and certification programs, like N.C. GreenTravel and TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders, also can serve as guide to decide which practices should be implemented. Once you have started to implement some green practices, it is important to develop a strategy to measure how successful they are because even the most standard of green practices can have unintended consequences. For example, a Mexican restaurant that installed energy efficient lighting found that while the new light bulbs did reduce their utility bills, they also turned their tortilla chips from yellow to green in color. For a complete list of green practices that can be implemented in the lodging and food service industry, visit www.sustainabletourism. org/business-resources-checklists.cfm.

To see if the green practices you have already implemented meets the requirements for recognition by the NC GreenTravel Initiative, visit

To learn more, contact Tom Rhodes, NC GreenTravel program coordinator, at or 919-707-8140; or Alex Naar, Director of Sustainable Tourism Outreach at East Carolina University, at or 252-737-1346.

10 low- to no-cost green practices you can implement today: 6.

Carefully develop a startup/shutdown plan and have policies in place so equipment is turned on only when used. This minimizes equipment idle time, significantly reducing operating costs.

Work with partners, competitors and local organizations to help reduce costs for recycling hauling and purchasing of green products. It’s a great way to learn about new green practices.


Install LED exit signs, which have a one-year payback period, can save up to $1,000 per exit sign.

De-lamp vending machines in well-lit areas. This can save $100 a year per vending machine.


Install low-flow shower heads, toilets, prerinse spray valves and aerators on sinks.


Choose post-consumer recycled office paper products.


Develop a green team with representation of all departments.




Contact your municipal or county waste reduction contact for help developing a recycling plan. Contact information for North Carolina waste reduction offices can be found at


Regularly inspect potential sources of wasted energy and water. Leaky faucets and windows are easy to fix, but also easy to overlook.

10. Replace incandescent

bulbs with compact florescent or LED bulbs as they burn out. z

new members NCRLA welcomes new members from across North Carolina The N.C. Restaurant & Lodging Association welcomes several new members from across the state. For more information on how your hospitality business can benefit from membership in NCRLA, go to and download a membership application.

Cu l l ow h e e


M or e h e a d Ci t y

Stanley County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Ash eville

Deerpark Restaurant

Western Carolina University College of Business

Du r h a m

Fullsteam Brewery

K i n s t on

Mother Earth Brewing


hCard Discounts

W e n t w or t h

Rockingham County Tourism Development Authority

W i l m i n g t on

WB Brawley Company z

The Sanitary Fish Market & Restaurant

Na t i on a l

Patrice & Associates VGM Client Rewards JUNE 2 0 1 3

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Scoring with Social Media

How Hospitality Businesses Are Making The Most Of Pinterest incorporating pinterest into your social media toolbox

Pinterest, the fast-growing social media site that allows its users to share visually stunning online “pinboards,” offers many opportunities for hospitality businesses. According to the technology website Techcrunch, consumers are 70 percent more likely to purchase an item from Pinterest than if they found the same item on a company website.

board is complete, you can change the settings to make it public. For example, you might want to create a board for the Fourth of July. You don’t want to start pinning too early, but you also don’t want a public board to sit empty as you try to find content to attach. 4.

Repurpose content from other outlets. Use photos from your website, share videos from your YouTube channel and share engaging pins on Facebook and Twitter. Most content is versatile enough to be shared across multiple platforms.


Engage with your followers. Pinterest is essentially a network of users who are sharing one another’s content and includes standard social networking features similar to other social sites like Facebook.

Buzztime recently offered five important tips for businesses that want to incorporate Pinterest to their social media toolbox. 1.


Don’t make it all about you. Post compelling content that is relevant and timely, even if it doesn’t obviously market your business. Sharing engaging content is more powerful than using Pinterest as one big advertisement. Track your analytics. Regular Pinterest users don’t have the ability to track followers and re-pins without the assistance of a third-party application. However, by signing up as a business, there are more options for evaluating your presence on Pinterest. When you do share pins that are strictly your own content, make sure that you are linking back to your website. Then you can use analytics to see how much traffic each pin is driving to your main site.



Take advantage of new features. A recent update allows Pinterest users to create secret boards. You can plan ahead and when a

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Comment to thank your followers when they share one of your pins, “like” pins that users tag you in and always, always, always follow back. Follow the N.C. Restaurant & Lodging Association’s Pinterest account at We make every effort to follow and repin photos from our members. z

Helpful Hints: u

Keep descriptions short and sweet


Post intriguing photos


Post recipes


Be engaging. Go beyond pinning and re-pinning photos of food; start conversation.


Upload videos


Pin photos that link back to your website.

Dennis Quaintance, CEO and CDO (Chief Design Officer) of Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, on the hotel’s roof Proximity guests can ride the adjacent greenway on the hotel’s bikes Executive Chef Leigh Hesling’s vegetables ride in style in his London “veggie” taxi.


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We made sure none of our sustainable practices caused one iota of sacrifice in comfort for our guests. - Dennis Quaintance

LEEDing the way

Proximity Hotel & Print Works Bistro For Dennis Quaintance, creating the first hotel in America to be certified LEED Platinum had more to do with creating a legacy than sustaining a business. Fourteen years ago when his twins were born, he says he and his wife, Nancy King Quaintance, who is a VP of the company, began thinking about how future generations would look back and view the world. “We had long thought that if you asked future generations how we did, that they would have a lot of comments, and some of them would not be favorable,” he says. “They might say, ‘We’re not real tickled that you used a lot of resources compared to what we’re using, and we’re just as prosperous as you were, and we’re using technology that you invented to use less resources,” he says. “Our ideas about the world didn’t change when we had children, but our ideas about our role in the world changed.” So, Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants & Hotels, the group behind Greensboro’s Proximity Hotel and its neighbor, the O. Henry Hotel, decided to institute a sustainable practices initiative that calls for the organization to consider sustainable practices, not just in the physical world but in the social world, in every decision it makes.

(continued on page 14)

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(LEEDing the Way continued from page 13) Proximity is built to use 40 percent less energy and 30 percent less water. Sustainable practices, custom-designed furnishings, commissioned art and innovative design welcome guests to the 147room luxury hotel and the adjoining Print Works Bistro. Attentive service earns Proximity the AAA Four Diamond Award, and it was voted in the “Top 50 Hotels in the USA” in Travel+Leisure Magazine in 2012. Proximity also tips a hat to the past while looking toward the future: Both the hotel and the restaurant were modeled on 1930s “cut and sew” textile mills that used to dot the western Piedmont. Like Proximity, such mills were characterized by massive windows that allowed in natural light. The hotel and restaurant’s sustainable design and construction follow the guidelines of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System,™ the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED certification covers energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. It also verifies environmental performance, occupant health and financial return. As guests enter the hotel, they encounter a “floating” front desk made of a striking 12-foot steel & bronze cantilever sculpture, a 28-foot long mohair sofa, an interior balcony overlooking the Social Lobby and 22-foot-high windows overlooking the Bluebell Garden. Each guest room features original art by the hotel’s artist-inresidence, Chip Holton. Also adjacent is a greenway that hotel guests enjoy via loaner bikes.

40 30 100 147 50 14

Percent Less Energy Percent Less Water Solar Panels Luxury Guest Rooms Top 50 Hotels in the USA

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Proximity features ultra-efficient materials and the latest in building technology such as North America's first installation of the regenerative drive for Otis' Gen2 elevator, which reduces net energy usage by capturing the system’s energy and feeds it back into the building’s internal electrical grid. In addition, 100 solar panels on the roof generate energy to heat water. “How can you tell if the hot water for your shower was heated by yesterday’s sunlight or with natural gas?” says Quaintance. “We made sure none of our sustainable practices caused one iota of sacrifice in comfort for our guests.” The restaurant also makes a strong effort to source food and décor from within a 150 mile radius. “We like to say, ‘the nearer the farm to the fork, the better the flavor’,” Quaintance says. Print Works Bistro’s seasonal menu features both traditional and modern versions of classic European bistro dishes. Executive Chef Leigh Hesling is a regular at the local farmers’ markets. “I’m like a kid in a candy store at the market. I can’t wait to see how the season unfolds.” His vegetables ride in style in his London “veggie” taxi. The taxi is one of a fleet of London taxis Quaintance had purchased and refurbished, not just because they’re distinctive, but because they are durable. Quaintance estimates that the average taxi will run for more than one million miles and be in service for 20 years. While legacy was top-of-mind for Quaintance, the result has also been good for business. He knows of at least one instance where a Charlottebased bride insisted on having the ceremony at Proximity specifically because of its sustainable reputation. Plus, the hotel made back the increase in investment in the first 3 ½ years through savings on utility bills and renewable energy credits, and that doesn’t even consider the increased revenue that they experienced. “There’s nothing political about what we’re doing. It’s based on how we’d like to be treated if the roles were reversed,” Quaintance says. “We just have vivid imaginations and we say, ‘what would someone from five generations from now say?’ We think that they would say thank you for making this effort.” For more information, call 336-379-8200 or visit z

What’s Cooking

Print Works Bistro’s Summer Vegetable Tart Is A Savory Delight Print Works Bistro's seasonal menu features both traditional and modern versions of classic European bistro dishes. Experience their philosophy of "the nearer the farm to the fork, the better the flavor," first hand this summer.

S ummer Vegetable Tart Ingredients 1 sheet puff pastry

Slice bell pepper into 4 sections and remove seeds. Slice squash and zucchini into ¼ inch rounds.

1 tablespoon egg wash

Lay peppers and squash out on a sheet pan and roast at 350 degrees for 5 minutes or until dry.

1 1/2 ounces roasted red bell pepper

Remove from oven and set aside.

4 ounces roasted yellow squash

Lay puff pastry sheet out on a sheet pan and cut an 8-inch diameter circle for your tart.

4 ounces roasted zucchini 2 ounces fresh basil leaves

Brush pastry with egg wash (50 percent beaten egg/50 percent milk).

3 slices heirloom tomato

Par cook puff pastry at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Salt & pepper to taste

Remove from oven and arrange fresh basil leaves evenly over entire surface of pastry.

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil 1 ounce goat chèvre

Arrange red pepper, squash and zucchini on top of basil leaves. Place 3 slices of tomato over vegetables.

(yields one tart)

Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and top with crumbled cheese. Return to oven until cheese begins to melt. z JUNE 2 0 1 3

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home grown

Turkey Burgers Are Trending Up For Summer customers want to have a turkey burger option instead of beef

With the Better Burger trend, operations are seeing more customer cravings for meat other than beef. Butterball's proprietary research recently found that almost half of consumers (48 percent) said when eating at a restaurant they "want to have the option for a turkey burger instead of a beef burger." Mintel Menu Insights database shows that the number of turkey burgers has risen 53 percent in the last three years. Some customers are more likely to want turkey burgers to meet their burger craving. u





Higher-income consumers ($100K+) are most likely to say they want a turkey burger option. 25–35 year-old consumers are also more likely to want a turkey burger instead of beef.

It's clear that operators see the perfect timing for turkey burgers too. In March 2011, Hardee's and Carl's Jr. became the first national fast-food chains to add turkey burgers to their permanent menu. Plus, 50 percent of operators agree that turkey burgers are a low-fat, highprotein alternative to red meat. When the trend is burgers and the need is a protein that's lower in fat and cholesterol but still full of flavor, it's time for turkey.

Turkey burgers appeal to a third of consumers, with females more likely to order a turkey burger than men (38 percent female vs. 30 percent male).

For more information on serving turkey burgers in your establishment, go to or call Richie Jenkins at 919-255-7943. z

At Full Service Restaurants, the strongest growth for turkey was seen in the burger category.

SOURCE: Butterball Proprietary Consumer Study, January 2013

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Benefits of Membership in NCRLA Membership in NCRLA offers your business new ideas and opportunities to collaborate Business evolves and trends change – don’t be left out of the conversation. The N.C. Restaurant & Lodging Association helps you engage with other members from all over the state so you can enjoy the benefit of their ideas and experience. Receptions, special events and golf tournaments held throughout the year provide perfect opportunities to spend time with, and engage with, other peer leaders. Local meetings and receptions in your community – the demands of running a business leave you little time to catch up with others who do what you do. NCRLA organizes several local meetings and networking receptions each year designed to help you meet and collaborate with other businesses in your area. The annual Taste of North Carolina and NCRLA Industry Awards – spend an evening with outstanding leaders who go above and beyond, raising the bar for excellence in performance, service, and commitment to the industry. Sample new and innovative food and beverage products made right here in North Carolina. The NC HEF Hospitality Golf Classic – held in the spring of each year, this popular event managed by the NC Hospitality Education Foundation raises funds for scholarships and grants to North Carolina's hospitality students and teachers and provides you with opportunities to network with other hospitality industry business leaders from across the state. Restaurant members receive free admission to the National Restaurant Association Show – four days, more than 1,800 suppliers, and tens of thousands of buyers. Go to for more detailed information on how membership in NCRLA can help your hospitality business.

What’s Brewing

Mother Earth Brewing Becomes The Nation’s First LEED Gold Brewery Taking a leadership role in the green building initiative

On Feb. 12, Kinston’s Mother Earth Brewing announced that they had become the first brewery in the United States to be awarded LEED® Gold certification status from the United States Green Building Council. The award comes after over three years of renovations and carbon footprint reduction work by the brewery. LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a voluntary, consensus-based, marketdriven program sponsored by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) that provides thirdparty verification of green buildings. The program provides three different certification levels (Platinum, Gold and Silver) which are attained by earning a certain number of “points” by completing eco-friendly projects designed to: u u u u u

Lower operating costs and increase asset value Reduce waste sent to landfills Conserve energy and water Be healthier and safer for occupants Reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions

The program is voluntary, allowing those who wish to take a leadership role in the green building initiative to gain third party recognition. Though the USGBC does not formally track certified projects by categories such as “breweries,” they informed Mother Earth that it was the first brewery to achieve certification higher than Silver based on their research. Mother Earth Brewing founders Stephen Hill and Trent Mooring were committed to environmental sustainability from the very inception of the brewery in 2008. Throughout the development 18

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Mother Earth Brewing's tanks and construction process, they both continued to spend time finding ways to make Mother Earth a green facility. That focus led to the installation of solar panels, recyclable carpet, eco-friendly tile, and insulation made of blue jeans. Eco-flush toilets save hundreds of gallons of water each year and run on rain water collected in a cistern. The brewery also recycles everything from spent grain (feed for cattle) and the bags the grain comes in (converted to stylish shopping bags by local artisans) to the old wooden bourbon barrels the brewery uses for aging (converted to building materials and art pieces displayed throughout the facility). “It was critical to educate myself on a multitude of eco-friendly products, and select those that best met our objectives, limiting our environmental impact, and demanding efficiency,” Mooring said. The renovation of the brewery building has also spurred more downtown development in Kinston, which has since seen more renovations on downtown buildings that have brought along a new live music venue and two new restaurants slated to open this year.

“Revitalizing a downtown building and neighborhood isn’t just a great act of sustainability; it’s also a great way to foster economic growth in a local economy. We hope that we can continue to be an anchor for the downtown renaissance happening in our town,” added co-founder Stephen Hill. Mother Earth Brewing was founded by Stephen Hill and Trent Mooring four years ago. Soon after, they added Brewmaster, Josh D. Brewer to the team and within months, an old downtown building was repurposed into a brewery. Mother Earth Brewing began to bottle and keg their beer in October of 2009. Today, just over three years after production of their first batch of beer, Mother Earth Brewing counts on a team of fourteen people to keep up with production. Mother Earth Brewing enjoys over 2,500 accounts, and can be found in bars, restaurants, supermarkets and specialty stores across North Carolina, Georgia, and Washington, DC.

The renovation of the Mother Earth Brewing building has also spurred more downtown development in Kinston. Mother Earth Brewery is a 40 barrel craft brewery that bottles and kegs beer for sale in its Kinston Tap Room, and for distribution in bars, restaurants and retail locations throughout North Carolina, Georgia, and Washington, DC. The brewery and Taproom are located at 311 North Heritage Street Kinston, NC 28501. More information can be found at For more information about USGBC and LEED®, please visit z

ProStart news

By Ranita Bullock

National Prostart Invitational Helps Students Feel Passionate About Their Future In Hospitality The 12th Annual National ProStart Invitational may be over, but the experiences of the more than 350 student competitors will have a lasting impact on ProStart programs across the nation. Studies show that five years after competing in the National ProStart Invitational, 78 percent of students are still studying and/ or working in the industry.

The National ProStart Invitational, which took place April 19-21 in Baltimore, Md., was the finale of a nationwide series of competitions hosted by state restaurant associations. In these competitions, student teams face off in one of two areas: culinary or management. For each respective competition, students must impress judges from leading industry corporations and institutions of higher learning with the skills they have developed through ProStart in order to place in the top rankings. Two North Carolina teams — Cary High School (culinary) and Watauga High School (management) — were among 43 culinary and 39 management teams competing for post-secondary scholarships in this year’s invitational. Both teams did exceptionally well and impressed the judges with their creativity and professionalism. Cary High School, under the direction of educator Tracie Head, prepared a menu that included pan seared OBX scallops with pine nut salad, Maple Leaf Farms duck breast with coconut rice, and a dessert of panna cotta with rosemary, lemon, blueberry and honeycomb.


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Students had to prepare the menu in 60 minutes using two butane burners. They also had to demonstrate knife skills and poultry fabrication. Watauga High School, under the direction of educator Tierra Stark, presented a unique restaurant concept called The Last Ember, which fused the past and future by turning a historic firehouse into a new, exciting restaurant. The Last Ember focused on local art, customer service, the neighborhoods the firehouse once protected and outstanding food. The restaurant also promoted fire awareness by hosting a children’s activity day with local firefighters and donating the proceeds from the event. Along with testing their skills and competing for scholarships in the country’s premier culinary and restaurant management competition, students had the opportunity to network with peers and industry experts, learn about hospitality careers, and, most importantly, have fun. The National ProStart Invitation is a perfect blend of inspiration with the development of tangible skills to transform students into tomorrow’s leaders. Students left the competition motivated, inspired and excited about preparing for the 2014 National

(Above) ProStart students from Cary High School during the National ProStart Invitational in Baltimore. (Left) ProStart management students from Watauga High School at the National ProStart Invitational.

ProStart Invitational, scheduled for May 3-5 in Minneapolis, Minn. North Carolina is planning its own invitational in early March 2014. The N.C. Hospitality Education Foundation and the N.C. Restaurant & Lodging Association thank US Foods, LM Restaurants and Golden Corral for supporting and sponsoring North Carolina’s teams for the Invitational. Studies show that five years after competing in the National ProStart Invitational, 78 percent of students are still studying and/or working in the industry. The restaurant industry is poised to add 1.4 million jobs over the next decade. Providing students the opportunity to showcase their talents gives them a

sense of purpose and helps them feel passionate about their future. ProStart is a nationwide two-year high school program that unites the classroom and industry to develop the best and brightest into tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice leaders. In North Carolina, 41 high schools use the ProStart curriculum with more than 1,300 students participating. For more information about ProStart, contact Ranita Bullock, Education Programs Manager at 919-844-0098 or, or visit z

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Movers and Shakers

Innovation Keeps S&D’s Business Brewing eighty-five years and 80,000 customers equals success

Headquartered in Concord, S&D Coffee and Tea is the nation’s largest custom coffee roaster and the largest blender of Iced Tea for the Foodservice Industry in the United States. In continuous operation for over eighty-five years, S&D serves more than 80,000 customers through national distribution and direct store delivery. S&D’s Eastern Division, which includes the Carolinas is the original legacy territory where the company’s founders, Switzer and Davis, roasted, sold and delivered coffee in Charlotte, later moving to Concord because Charlotte was “too big a town.” In 2010, S&D added a state-of-the-art Food Innovations and Ingredients production unit which extracts the flavors of coffee, tea and botanicals for use in iced coffee, shakes, iced cream and frozen desserts, energy drinks and other packaged and dispensed products. In November 2012, the company announced an expansion that added two new facilities and will generate 200 new jobs over a five-year period. It is estimated that the expansion will have an estimated $48 million in area economic impact. In February, 2013, S&D Vice President Alan Hilton was given the Hospitality Supplier of the Year award from the N.C. Restaurant & Lodging Association. Hilton is in charge of the company’s Eastern Division which includes 105 people in sales, service, and distribution roles. He has been with S&D for more than 26 years. NCRLA is proud to have S&D Coffee and Tea as a corporate partner. 22

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Alan Hilton of S&D Coffee accepts his 2013 Restaurateur of the Year award from NCRLA Chair Brad Hurley during the 2013 Taste of North Carolina event in Chapel Hill.

Learn more about S&D Coffee and Tea at For more information on how your company can become an NCRLA corporate partner, contact Karen A. Mann at 919-844-0098 or kmann@ z

Food Safety News

Minimize Your Risk Of A Foodborne Illness Outbreak

By Alyssa Barkley

washing hands can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars

The best way to protect your restaurant, your staff and your customers is with clean and protected hands. When your employees keep their hands washed, and make an effort to comply with the newly adopted FDA Food Code section on preventing contamination from hands, you minimize your risk of a foodborne illness outbreak. This can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention the existence of your business. Eliminating bare hand contact on ready-to-eat (RTE) foods is a scientifically proven way to significantly decrease the occurrence of a foodborne illness outbreak. RTE foods are defined as foods that do not require additional cooking prior to be being served. Dangerous illness-causing pathogens can be spread by food handlers when their hands come in contact with contamination from their gastrointestinal tracts, from touching contaminated objects, or by touching contaminated food such as raw poultry or beef, and then touching RTE foods. Food handlers can no longer use their bare hands to do the following: build a salad, cut fresh fruit or vegetables

This image is taken from SCA's international report Hygiene Matters 2010. For more info, please visit www.hygienematters. com. Used via Creative Commons License. 24

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that will not be heated or incorporated into a cooked dish, build a sandwich or plate any foods that have already been through the cooking process. Many folks balk at being required to change gloves frequently, let alone wear them at all. However, there are cost effective and environmentally friendly options to use in lieu of gloves when appropriate. Other items that help create a barrier between bare hands and RTE foods include: deli tissue, forks, spatulas, spoons and tongs. Some helpful tips when gloves are the only option for the task: u





Make sure the gloves are latex-free and are single-use. ALWAYS wash hands before putting on gloves. Change between use of RTE foods and other products such as money, non-RTE foods and cleaning products. If food preparation is interrupted, remove gloves and discard. Wash hands and use new gloves when food preparation is resumed. When gloves are torn or punctured, discard.

Proper training on appropriate glove and barrier usage, along with proper hand washing training, are keys to your establishment’s success at minimizing risk of foodborne illness contamination. Documenting prevention of contamination by employees shows your commitment to food safety, and shows that your employees have been informed of proper procedures. If you have questions or need help training employees on this new rule or any other items in the FDA food code adoption contact Alyssa Barkley at or 919-844-0098. z

upcoming events Network with North Carolina’s hospitality industry leaders at one of NCRLA’s upcoming events Throughout the year, the N.C. Restaurant & Lodging Association hosts several events that are open to members and the hospitality industry. We also provide event information for the National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

J u ne 18-20

AH&LA Summer Summit, Denver

J u ly 26-27

Produce Marketing Association Foodservice Conference, Monterey, Calif.

S ept ember 8-11

AH&LEF Golf Classic, The Hotel Hershey, Hershey, Penn.

O c tober 7-13

Richard E. Marriott SAFE Golf Invitational, Palm Beach, Fla.

O c tober 28

Board of Directors meeting, The Angus Barn, Raleigh

O c tober 28

Manteo to Murphy PAC Event, The Angus Barn, Raleigh

N ovember 8-12

AH&LA Fall Conference held with the International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, N.Y.

F ebru ary 3, 2014

Taste of North Carolina, Sheraton Imperial, Durham Visit for more information and event updates. z

Fun at the N.C. Hospitality Education Foundation’s Future of Hospitality Golf Classic

legal bites

False Online Reviews Of Your Business And Your Legal Remedies

By Whitney Christensen, Esq.

avenues to rectify negative online statements

Hotels and restaurants routinely fall victim to false, negative online reviews on websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp, potentially causing longterm damage to the business’s reputation and subsequently hindering sales and patronage. When most individuals and businesses are harmed by false statements, their legal redress lies within a defamation claim, but unfortunately most businesses are blocked from bringing defamation lawsuits against comments made on internet review sites. Finding the appropriate remedy for these victim businesses has proven difficult as American law struggles to keep up with our increasingly digital society. The law traditionally defines defamation as a false, unprivileged statement of fact that is harmful to the subject’s reputation and is published “with fault.” Defamation generally comes in two forms: libel, which is written defamation, and slander, which is spoken defamation. Truth is an absolute defense to defamation in American courts, meaning that anything that is in fact true cannot be deemed defamatory. Under traditional common law, a person who publishes a defamatory statement made by another bears the same civil liability as the individual who made the statement. This is a form of derivative liability. The law refers to these individuals as “publishers” of defamatory content. The rationale behind the publisher liability principle is that the publisher has the opportunity and ability to exercise editorial control over the content they publish. Different legal consequences exist for the type of person or business that the law considers a


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“distributor” of defamatory content. The classic examples of who the law traditionally classifies as distributors include libraries, newsstands and book stores. These groups are most often not subjected to liability for any defamation contained within the books or magazines they sell. As we entered the digital age, the limits of online defamation liability were tested. As you would imagine, the first websites to be named as defendants for defamatory statements made by others argued that they were merely distributors of the defamatory content placed on their websites, not publishers of it. In these cases judges typically based their decision on whether or not the website exercised editorial control over the comments of its users. If the website did try to edit what could be allowed, the website would be liable for the libel of its users under the theory that the website was a publisher with editorial control. If the website did not make a habit of reviewing comments for content and allowed anything and everything to be posted, that site would generally not be found liable under the theory that they were merely a distributor of the content, not a publisher. The unintended and counterproductive result of these rulings was that most websites intentionally did not edit or filter their websites in order to avoid classification as a publisher, which ushered in Congress’s Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996. The CDA made it federal law that only the individual responsible for the defamatory statement could be held responsible for it civilly, and that websites were thus exempt from the publisher classification for information added by their users. The only potential liability remaining for forum or review websites is for drop-down menus or multiple-choice questionnaires whereby users can select a term or classification provided by the website. This form of defamation liability has been largely untested by the courts,

but could possibly be an avenue of legal redress for defamed business operators in the future. If, however, an individual posts negative, untruthful information about your business on their own website, full traditional defamation remedies apply and that individual can be successfully sued for the damage that their remark caused your business. With the majority of defamation remedies off the table, hospitality businesses that fall victim to false negative commentary on the internet are usually left to their own devices to dispute the reviews with the website’s support team. Such efforts can prove challenging and cumbersome, but often times result in removing blatantly false reviews. Several online reputation-management companies that pledge to help businesses keep a positive online reputation have sprung up in the wake of the online

review site sensation. Some of these sites have run into legal issues of their own, but Google’s free tool “Me on the Web” appears to be a promising way to monitor and address negative online commentary about your business. Untruthful, negative online reviews can be devastating to hotels and restaurants and our legal system provides little redress to victim businesses. Fortunately, however, there are avenues outside the law whereby businesses can work to rectify these statements. If your business has fallen victim to online defamation, please do not hesitate to contact the NCRLA offices to discuss your options. Contact NCRLA’s Government Affairs Manager, Whitney Christensen, at or 919-844-0098. z

JUNE 2 0 1 3

At Your S e rv ic e



By Bruce Brawley, PMP, LEED GA President, WB Brawley Company


When purchasing FF&E (furniture, fixtures and equipment) for your facility, consider the impact of the products you select on the indoor air quality. You may ask, "What do you mean by indoor air quality"? The U.S. Green Building Council® defines it as "the nature of air inside the space that affects the health and well-being of building occupants." It is not uncommon to uncrate furniture that has been manufactured with materials which are high in contaminants, and the odor is so strong the products must be left in a highly ventilated space before they can be placed into service. The odor is the result of a reaction among particular carbon compounds found in the materials used in manufacturing. This phenomenon is known as 'off-gassing' and it occurs when the carbon compounds vaporize. In addition to furniture, these compounds, called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), can be found in adhesives, paints, flooring and composite wood. Products manufactured with high-VOC materials contribute to poor indoor air quality and can threaten occupants’ health as well as decrease their productivity. Manufacturers often utilize these materials because they are less expensive than low-VOC materials. Fortunately, due to the growing awareness of green building and interiors low-VOC products are more commonplace. The first step when purchasing new FF&E for your facility is to thoroughly review the specifications for


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all products and materials you are considering. There are established standards to define products and materials with low-VOC's. Here are the key ones to look for: u





Adhesives: SCAQMD Rule 1168; Green Seal Standard 36 (GS-36) Paints: Green Seal Standard 11 & 03 (GS-11 & GS-03); SCAQMD Rule 1113 Flooring: Green Label Plus (carpet); FloorScore™ (resilient flooring) Composite wood: Avoid materials that contain urea-formaldehyde Furniture: Greenguard™

Your organization may want to implement a green purchasing policy that you discuss with current and potential vendors. Should you wish to take this a step further and test the indoor air quality of your facility, there are third party companies that have the equipment and expertise to conduct on-site testing. If you are building a new facility or undergoing a building alteration of your interior spaces, you may consider pursuing LEED® certification for Commercial Interiors. LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a voluntary, consensus-based, market-driven program that provides third-party verification of green buildings. "Low-Emitting Materials" (low-VOCs) is a category where points can be earned toward meeting the requirements of LEED® for commercial interiors. z Reference: LEED Reference Guide for Green Interior Design and Construction, 2009 Edition

Secrets of Success

How Composting Helped Slash Costs For The Chef’s Academy if it has lived once, it can live again

Can you imagine your restaurant’s kitchen producing just one 5-gallon bucket of trash per day? That’s what The Chef’s Academy in Morrisville, which used to need a 50-gallon trash can each day, is now producing, thanks to an aggressive recycling and composting campaign. “We are doing everything we can to improve our carbon footprint,” says the academy’s Executive Chef Eddie Wilson. Wilson says that students like the idea. The new students in particular have never known anything different. The academy pays Brooks Composting a fee to haul off everything that can be composted, which includes food scraps, meat, bones, grill scrapings and any paper product that is not lined with plastic. Amy Brooks of Brooks Composting says the lowest fee is $30 per collection for weights less than 750 pounds. Anything over that amount is $80 per ton. Brooks stated she goes to a prospective business to make sure its equipment is compatible. One problem she sometimes runs into is when a business doesn’t have an empty bay for a dedicated compost dumpster. The compost is processed on a farm in the Chatham County town of Goldston, and then sold to landscapers, farmers, gardeners and anyone who wants to improve quality of their soil.

“If they’re purchasing local food, they’ll see that it’s a closed loop system,” says Brooks of the businesses that use her service. The Chef’s Academy actually buys compost back from Brooks for its raised vegetable beds. “We have a tagline for what we’re doing: If it has lived once, it can live again,” says Wilson.

Chef Eddie Wilson

Brooks Composting will hold an August 16 seminar on waste reduction, how to acquire products you need for your restaurant at Chef’s Academy. Participation is limited to 60. Call Amy Brooks at 919-842-6063. z

If they're (local businesses) purchasing local foods, they'll see that it's a closed loop system.

The Chef’s Academy’s Chef Eric Gephart cuts chives from the academy’s raised garden beds.

JUNE 2 0 1 3

At Your S e rv ic e


a la carte A sampler of hospitality-related news stories

NCRLA travels to Washington to meet with members of Congress A group of 10 NCRLA members and staff traveled to Washington, D.C., April 17-18 to attend the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference. The annual conference briefs state restaurant associations and their members on federal legislative issues affecting the restaurant industry. NCRLA was also able to meet with 13 of North Carolina’s 15 United States Senators and Representatives to discuss possible modifications to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, immigration reform, restaurant equipment depreciation schedules, minimum wage legislation and renewable fuel subsidies that are affecting food costs. Our elected officials seemed receptive to our message and pledged to continue to work with us in the future to address these issues. (continued on page 31)



#1 Left-right: Larry Reinstein of Salsaritas, Jo Hurley of 42nd Street Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill, NCRLA President & CEO Lynn Minges, U.S. Representative Robert Pittinger (R-NC), Christina Larson of Darden Restaurants, Pete Cotter of Burger King, NCRLA Goverment Affairs Manager Whitney Christensen and NCRLA Chair Brad Hurley of 42nd Street #2 Left-right: Billy Sewell of Platinum Corral, Lee and Ken Conrad of Libby Hill Seafood, Christina Larson of Darden Restaurants, NCRLA Government Affairs Manager Whitney Christensen and U.S. Representative Mike McIntyre


#3 Left-right: Pete Cotter of Burger King, Carl Sobocinski, NRA Board members and Vice chairman of the Restaurant PAC, NCRLA President & CEO Lynn Minges and NCRLA Chair Brad Hurley of 42nd Street Oyster Bar and Seafood Grill. NCRLA received the Restaurant PAC State Recognition Award for Highest Grossing Receipts. #4 Lynn Minges, NRA Vice Chair Ken Conrad of Libby Hill Seafood and Pete Cotter share a humorous moment during the Public Affairs Conference. 30

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Representing NCRLA at the conference were NCRLA Board Chair Brad Hurley and his wife Jo Hurley, NCRLA GAC Chair Pete Cotter, NCRLA Immediate Past Chair Christina Larson, NCRLA’s NRA Representative Billy Sewell, NRA Board Vice-Chair Ken Conrad and his wife Lee Conrad, Larry Reinstein, NCRLA President and CEO Lynn Minges and NCRLA Government Affairs Manager Whitney Christensen. At the conference the NRA honors state restaurant associations for their contributions to the NRA’s PAC,

Restaurant PAC. NCRLA was very pleased to again receive the Restaurant PAC State Recognition Award for Highest Grossing Receipts, meaning that North Carolina restaurants raised more money in 2012 for the Restaurant PAC than restaurant associations from any other state. NCRLA congratulates the National Restaurant Association and our own Ken Conrad, the conference’s official MC, on an outstanding, productive conference. z

Hagan announces bipartisan bill to help N.C. restaurants, other small businesses expand and hire workers U.S. Senator Kay Hagan on April 18 announced legislation that would promote new construction and investments in property at restaurants, offices and other commercial properties across North Carolina. Hagan is an original cosponsor of this bipartisan bill that would increase access to capital by permanently extending the 15-year tax depreciation period for leasehold improvements, restaurant improvements and new construction and retail improvements. "This legislation will help North Carolina businesses recover the cost of improvements they make to enhance and grow their companies," Hagan said. "It would also provide much-needed certainty that will allow business owners to plan for the future. I'm proud to be an original cosponsor of this bipartisan legislation that will boost North Carolina's economy at a crucial time for our state." Current law sets the tax depreciation period at 39 years. Since 1996, Congress has temporarily extended the 15-year depreciation period. These temporary solutions have created uncertainty that’s harmful to businesses in North Carolina as they plan future restorations and improvements. “As a restaurant owner, I make frequent improvements to keep up with normal wear and tear,” said Frank Scibelli, N.C. Restaurant & Lodging Association member and CEO of FS Food Group in Charlotte. “A 39-year schedule makes no sense in today’s business environment and I’m pleased Senator Hagan is working to make this needed change.” This legislation will give companies the certainty they need to invest in their businesses and

expand. These capital investments fuel economic activity and create jobs. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, every dollar spent in the construction industry generates an additional $2.39 in spending in the rest of the economy. In addition to construction jobs, as employers expand their stores and restaurants, they will also need to hire additional workers. This legislation will be particularly beneficial to North Carolina’s $15 billion restaurant industry, which supports more than 400,000 jobs around the state. Hagan joined seven Republican Senators and six Democratic Senators to introduce this legislation. On May 10, Hagan joined NCRLA Government Affairs Manager Whitney Christensen and Wynn Davis of Mac’s Speed Shop in Charlotte to promote the bill. NCRLA thanks Senator Hagan for her work on this important legislation and Mac’s Speed Shop for hosting the event. z

(Left-right) NCRLA Government Affairs Manager Whitney Christensen, Senator Kay Hagan and Wynn Davis of Mac’s Speed Shop in Charlotte during the May 10 event.

JUNE 2 0 1 3

At Your S e rv ic e


a la carte A sampler of hospitality-related news stories

NCRLA members engage with legislators at Rally in Raleigh Members of the N.C. Restaurant & Lodging Association took advantage of a rare chance to interact one-on-one with our state's legislators April 9 during the annual Rally in Raleigh at Big Ed's City Market. The event drew more than 170 attendees including legislators, representatives from several state agencies, and members and allies of NCRLA. NCRLA members used the event to share concerns about issues such as meals taxes, the smoking ban and school calendars.


Students from Leesville Road High School's ProStart program demonstrated their culinary skills with a selection of appetizers for the group. NCRLA and the N.C. Hospitality Education Foundation are proud sponsors of ProStart, the premiere workforce development organization for the hospitality industry. NCRLA would like to thank Sam Hobgood and Big Ed's for hosting Rally in Raleigh, 42nd Street Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill for donating wine, Carolina Brewery for donating beer, Pepsi Bottling Ventures for donating non-alcoholic drinks, and S&D Coffee for donating coffee. See more photos from the event on NCRLA’s Facebook page, z


#1 Left-right: Golden Corral COO Lance Trenary, Platinum Corral President & CEO Billy Sewell, Representative Phil Shepard, Representative Deborah Ross #2 Senator Bob Rucho, NCRLA President & CEO Lynn Minges and N.C. Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary of Employment Dale Folwell #3 ProStart students from Leesville Road High School prepare appetizers for the event.


Benefit, Golf Classic supports NC HEF The 11th Annual Future of Hospitality Benefit and Golf Classic was held June 9-10 at North Ridge Country Club in Raleigh. All proceeds from this annual twoday event go to benefit the N.C. Hospitality Education Foundation's efforts to provide scholarships and grants to students and educators who are interested in becoming an integral part of the North Carolina’s hospitality industry. More than $900,000 has been awarded in scholarships and grants since 2005. To see photos from this year’s event, go to z


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Conrad, Tubel testify on health care challenges facing restaurants On April 30, N.C. Restaurant & Lodging Association members Ken Conrad of Libby Hill Seafood and Ed Tubel of Sonny's Real Pit Bar-B-Q testified before the US House of Representatives Education and Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions field hearing in Concord. The hearing was hosted by N.C. Congressman Richard Hudson (R) and Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-Tennessee), and the purpose was to discuss the challenges businesses are facing in implementing the mandates of health care reform. In his testimony on behalf of the National Restaurant Association, Conrad, who is vice chair of the NRA, highlighted three areas as problematic for the restaurant industry: the definition of a full-time employee; the complexity of the applicable large employer determination; and the potential harm the automatic enrollment provision could cause for some employees. “The restaurant and food service industry faces a number of challenges in implementing the law due to the unique characteristics of our workforce,” said Conrad. “The National Restaurant Association has worked to constructively shape the implementing regulations of the health care law. Nevertheless, there are limits to what can be achieved through the regulatory process alone. At the end of the day, if this law remains in effect as it is currently written, restaurant and foodservice operators will face serious challenges in its implementation.” Conrad noted that his business uses a 40-hour work week to define full-time and part-time; the law’s new definition of full-time at 30 hours a week will mean changes for the company and its employees.

He also pointed to concern from operators near the 50 full-time equivalent employees threshold, and the requirements they would be subject to if they do become a large employer under the law. Conrad thanked Hudson for his leadership in introducing H.R. 1254, the Auto Enroll Repeal Act, which would eliminate the needlessly burdensome automatic enrollment requirement in the 2010 health care law. “The automatic enrollment requirement is of concern to many in the industry,” Conrad said. “Restaurateurs with 200 or more employees must automatically enroll new and current employees in a plan if they do not opt-out of health coverage. Despite education and notification, employees may miss the 90-day window Conrad prepares to testify before to opt-out, causing potential confusion and the House Subcommittee. financial hardship. Since the same full-time employees must be offered coverage by the same employers subject to the Automatic Enrollment provision and the employer mandate provisions, we believe the automatic provision is redundant and should be eliminated.” z

Charlotte Chapter holds successful member mixer and board meeting NCRLA held a successful member mixer June 3 at the Marriott City Center in Charlotte. The mixer brought together current members and those who wanted to learn more about how NCRLA fights for North Carolina’s hospitality industry. NCRLA partners Southern Wine and Spirits provided craft cocktails, including the Jacob’s Ghost Mojito and the Phantom Cosmo. US Foods provided heavy hors d’oeuvres. During the event, NCRLA President & CEO Lynn Minges welcomed the group and spoke about ways the association can be of benefit to the industry in Charlotte. Thanks to the Marriott City Center, US Foods and Southern Wine & Spirits for their help in making this event spectacular. To see photos from the mixer, go to The following day, NCRLA held its summer board meeting and several committee meetings at the Hilton Garden Inn in Concord. NCRLA thanks Board Member Joel Griffin of Griffin Stafford Hospitality for facilitating this event. z

JUNE 2 0 1 3

At Your S e rv ic e


Secrets of Success

Jacksonville Hotels Worked Together To Reduce Their Carbon Footprint program creates a dynamic group of green lodging businesses

Several hotels in Jacksonville are now working together on green practices, thanks to the efforts of Onslow County Tourism Director Theresa Carter, an N.C. Restaurant & Lodging Association member, and NC GreenTravel Initiative Program Manager Tom Rhodes. The duo met at last year’s N.C. Governor’s Conference on Tourism, and the ensuing conversation on green practices inspired Carter to learn more about how hotel properties in her area could work together to join the N.C. GreenTravel Initiative Program.

energy audit and trash audit, which shows where trash is coming from and ways hotels can save money energy-wise. “Tourism wanted to see it succeed, but they made it happen,” Carter says of the Onslow lodging industry’s efforts. “We just did whatever we needed to do to support them.” “I can’t begin to sing the praises of Theresa Carter and all she has done to create such a dynamic group of green lodging businesses in Onslow County,” said NC GreenTravel Initiative Program Manager Tom Rhodes, who has spoken at the group’s meetings. Rhodes says that one of NC Green Travel’s partner groups, Waste Reduction Partners, was able to provide assistance to help those lodging properties get better scores on their NC GreenTravel applications. Waste Reduction Partners provided free, nonregulatory energy, waste and water conservation assessments for the hotels. Consultants were able to help them by recommending no-cost/lowcost methods for reducing energy, water and solid waste costs. Rhodes credits Carter with utilizing the tools and consultation the program provided to create a tight-knit greening program for the hotels in her city.

The program currently includes nine properties (Baymont Inn and Suites; Holiday Inn Express; Fairfeild Inn and Suites; Super 8; Home2 Suites; Candlewood Suites; TownePlace Suites; Quality Inn; Comfort Suites) with three more in the process of joining. Representatives have monthly meetings, and Carter sends a weekly email and holds a monthly Former Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of “We are very proud of what presentation in order to keep Commerce President Mona Padrick (left) presents she has accomplished and participants informed about an award for green practices to Fairfield Inn & would love to see other CVBs the latest green practices Suites General Manager Amy Rivera and Yakira and Chambers take on similar for the lodging industry. “Jackie” Pichirilo. projects to green up their Participants are designated cities,” Rhodes says. as a one, two or three “Blossom” hotel to indicate how green they are. For more information on how restaurants and Onslow County Tourism also holds an annual event lodgings can band together and create a similar to honor and encourage participants. program in your community, contact Tom Rhodes As part of the program, participants can have an at 919-707-8140 or z


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At Your Service, Summer, 2013  

At Your Service is the quarterly publication of the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association. For more info, visit