Page 1


Restaurantville fall



Legislative Outlook

A look ahead to challenges and opportunities in Texas’ 85th Legislative Session

PUBLISHER Richie Jackson, CEO Texas Restaurant Association EDITOR Rebecca Robinson, Communications Manager Texas Restaurant Association ART DIRECTOR Sarah Marshall, Graphic Design Manager Texas Restaurant Association RESTAURANT VILLE MAGAZINE is published quarterly by the Texas Restaurant Association.

For advertising information contact Communications communications@tramail.org. Editorial questions can be directed to Rebecca Robinson at 512-457-4100 or rrobinson@tramail.org.

It is the mission of the Texas Restaurant Association to be the advocate and indispensable resource for the foodservice and hospitality industry in Texas.

P.O. Box 1429 Austin, Texas 78767 512-457-4100 800-395-2872


Contents F E AT U RES 4


L EG ISL ATI VE OUTLOO K A l ook ahead to chal l en ges a nd o pportu ni ti es i n Tex a s’ 85 t h L egi slati ve sessi o n




18 R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E F A L L 2 0 1 6


Legislative Outlook A look ahead to challenges and opportunities in Texas’ 85th Legislative session BY REBECCA ROBINSON & KENNETH BESSERMAN


F A L L 2 0 1 6 R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E

R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E F A L L 2 0 1 6



n the aftermath of a nail-biting presidential election, the dust has begun to settle, and in Texas, members of the Legislature are steeling themselves for the 85th Legislative Session, which kicks off January 10, 2017.

For the restaurant industry overall, the In Texas, members of the Legislature are steeling themselves for the 85th Leg national economy remains kicks off January 10, 2017. strong. The National Restaurant Association’s 2016 Restaurant Industry Forecast stated earlier this year that the U.S. restaurant industry is the nation’s 2nd largest private sector employer – providing jobs for one out of every ten working Americans. In Texas, the restaurant industry employs over 1.3 million people and sales are projected to reach $52.4 billion by the end of 2016, which will make 2016 the seventh consecutive year of sales growth. Texas’ economy has fared far better than most other states, benefiting from a diverse and growing population. Restaurant operators still face a growing number of legislative and regulatory challenges on a myriad of issues such as employment, environment, food safety, operations, taxes, business and finance, among others. TRA has its finger on the pulse on the issues critical to the industry and will continue its advocacy for the industry at the national, state, and local level.


F A L L 2 0 1 6 R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E


gislative Session, which

First the sobering news – Texas will face some significant budget constraints during the 2017 legislation session. There’s no denying that the significant drop in oil prices has affected the economy – jobs have been lost and people are not spending as much, which made for a state revenue shortfall. In addition, the increasing numbers of people moving to Texas continue to place a burden on the state’s infrastructure and social services needs. Legislative leadership, budget writers, and state agencies are already meeting to ensure that spending remains conservative. The Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker of the House have already asked state agencies to make cuts in the initial drafts of agency budgets.

Beyond lower oil prices and an increase on services by a growing population, there are also at least two other significant issues which may have a direct impact on the state’s economy: first, if and how the Legislature handles the school finance system. While the Supreme Court has recently held that the current school finance system is constitutional, the growing student population

There’s no denying that the significant drop in oil prices has affected the economy –

jobs have been lost and people are not spending as much, which made for a state revenue shortfall. R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E F A L L 2 0 1 6


© 2016 Texas Mutual Insurance Company

Our Specialty is Safety. But Save Room for the Dividends. Safety and dividends go together like dinner and dessert—that’s why we provide group and individual dividends to companies that keep their people safe. Plus, as a member of Texas Restaurant Association Safety Group, you may receive a greater discount on your workers’ comp premium. We’re helping our policyholder owners be safer and stronger, and we think you’ll find it very rewarding. For the right recipe of safety and dividends , contact your agent or Tim Sekiya at (800) 395-2872 or tsekiya@tramail.org.


While we can’t guarantee dividends every year, Texas Mutual has returned more than $2 billion to safety-conscious policyholder owners since 1999.

F A L L 2 0 1 6 R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E

and disparate funding streams will continue to put pressure on the state budget. Second, the continued push to restructure the property tax system will also put pressure on local and state budgets. TRA will continue to monitor these issues to make sure that the restaurant industry is not adversely affected.

Now for the good news – Texas has more than $10 billion in its ‘Rainy Day Fund’,

which is a savings account, of sorts. Also, unemployment numbers are steady – Texas holds at 26th in the nation, not suffering as much as the rest of the country.

Now for the good news – Texas has more than $10 billion in its ‘Rainy Day Fund’, which is a savings account, of sorts. Also, unemployment numbers are steady – Texas’ unemployment rate holds at 26th in the nation, not suffering as much as the rest of the country. The other good news? Because of the conservative makeup of the Texas Legislature it is unlikely there will be any significant tax legislation this session. ALCOHOL Beer distribution rights and decisions over who can sell alcohol, such as the high-profile Walmart lawsuit against the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission (TABC) will continue to be hashed out in courtrooms. TABC is up for sunset review in 2019, so it is likely that these issues will be tackled at that time. R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E F A L L 2 0 1 6


EMPLOYMENT LAW Thanks to the tenacious efforts of TRA in the early 1990s, Texas cities and counties cannot have local minimum wages. An increased minimum wage has been one of the biggest state and local issues across the nation the past couple of years. It was TRA is closely monitoring even a topic during the the debate on this issue and presidential campaign will make sure that the restaurant and will continue to be industry’s voice is heard once in Texas. It is likely that there will be some efforts specific legislation or language to repeal the prohibition is proposed. against local minimum wages. In addition, it is expected that ‘secure scheduling’ (requiring employers to put out work schedules two to three weeks in advance and penalizing employers from deviating from the schedules) will become an issue in Texas. Bills dealing with mandatory sick days are also likely to be filed. LOCAL ISSUES On a local level, the restaurant industry can expect to see a continuation of the following: • Bag bans • Letter grades for restaurant inspections • Composting • Local transportation utility and impact fees which have an adverse effect on the restaurants


F A L L 2 0 1 6 R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E

• QSR queueing ordinances


• Increased food and safety issues and inspections relating to the recently updated Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER) WRITING ON THE BATHROOM WALL After the fallout of North Carolina’s controversial HB2, prohibiting transgendered people from using bathrooms of the gender with which they identify, some have predicted that Texas will be ground zero for the next big battle. Lines are being drawn on what type of legislation will be proposed or passed – everything from a bill that is limited to bathrooms in the K-12 setting, all the way to a bill that would encompass schools and all businesses. TRA is closely monitoring the debate on this issue and will make sure that the restaurant industry’s voice is heard once specific legislation or language is proposed. FEDERAL ISSUES With a new administration taking office in January 2017, TRA will be watching closely how the administration and Congress tackle some of the issues important to the restaurant industry from the federal minimum wage, to the new overtime regulations, to the National Labor Relations Board rulings on joint employers, to tax relief.

R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E F A L L 2 0 1 6


Keep ing Time w ith Overtime BY REBECCA ROBINSON


he December 1st deadline for new Federal overtime regulations is looming, and despite four separate bills in Congress to delay or repeal the new rules and two pending lawsuits challenging them, there are unlikely to be any changes prior to December 1. Overtime rules have always been critical to the restaurant industry – more than 80 percent of restaurant owners and 97 percent of restaurant managers start their careers in non-managerial positions and move up, often with performance-based incentives.   In case you’ve missed it altogether, in June, the Department of Labor finalized new rules on overtime, which more than doubles the salary threshold for overtime-exempt employees, but makes no changes


F A L L 2 0 1 6 R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E

to the duties test. The duties test is used to determine whether a salaried employee above the threshold is considered an executive, administrative or professional employee and thus exempt from overtime pay. The rules came about despite heated and ongoing opposition from businesses, trade associations, and chambers of commerce, and the fight is expected to continue in both Congress and Texas courtrooms, even as the December 1 deadline approaches. Now that the 2016 election is behind us, we expect there to be increased attention to this issue both in Congress and the new administration. Here are the new rules and what they do: • Guarantees time-and-half pay for hours worked over 40 in a work week to any salaried employee earning under $47,476 a year ($913 a week). That’s more than double the current salary threshold of $23,660 ($455 a week), • Starting January 1, 2020, it automatically updates the salary threshold every three years, tying it to the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-income Census region (currently the South). Based on current wage trends, the DOL projects a salary threshold of more than $51,000 by January 1, 2020, • Makes no changes to the duties tests used to determine whether a salaried employee above the threshold is considered an executive, administrative or professional employee and thus exempt from overtime pay, • For the first time, allows certain bonuses and incentive payments to count toward up to 10 percent of the new salary level. R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E F A L L 2 0 1 6


Health Care Reform: Guidance and Solutions  Guidance

The TRA is committed to helping you understand what the regulations mean to your business and what you need to do to comply.


The TRA trusts UnitedHealthcare to develop health care solutions for the hospitality industry that comply with the Affordable Care Act.

To discuss UnitedHealthcare’s solutions for your business, contact Clinton Wolf at (312) 348-7064 or clinton_v_wolf@uhg.com.

Š2013 United HealthCare Services, Inc. Insurance coverage provided by or through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or its affiliates. Administrative services provided by United HealthCare Services, Inc. or their affiliates. Health Plan coverage provided by or through UnitedHealthcare of Texas, Inc. UHCTX638981-001


F A L L 2 0 1 6 R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E

Stay Compliant!  The new rules can be daunting, so it helps to have an action plan in place. Kenneth Besserman, TRA’s general counsel recommends the following steps to help you:

Identify employees who are close to the new salary threshold and determine if an increase in pay is necessary to keep them exempt from overtime

Revise job descriptions if necessary

Determine if reclassified employees should be paid salary or convert them to an hourly rate

Communicate your new overtime policies to staff

Calculate the cost of increasing salaries vs. the cost of overtime for the same amount of work

Decide if bonuses or incentives will continue

Keep immaculate records

R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E F A L L 2 0 1 6


In addition, the new federal overtime rules require that nondiscretionary bonuses, incentives, and commissions must be paid at least quarterly in order for them to satisfy up to 10 percent of the salary requirement. When non-discretionary bonuses, incentives or commissions are paid to hourly workers earning overtime, the additional income must be included in their base pay for the bonus period. Overtime must then be re-computed on the higher average wage, which will result in additional overtime payments for any overtime hours worked in the bonus period. Also, to avoid potential wage and hour lawsuits, keep track of the hours that To avoid potential wage and hour lawsuits, keep track of the hours that nonexempt employees work and their rates of pay. nonexempt employees work and their rates of pay. It’s also a good idea if possible, to have nonexempt employees sign off on their time sheets. In the upcoming months, TRA will continue the fight against these sweeping regulations, but in the meantime, Shannon Meade, the National Restaurant Association’s director of labor and workforce is advising restaurateurs to get into compliance by the December 1st deadline. “We’ve had a lot of questions about what President-elect Trump will do on the overtime rule, but it’s really to be determined.” For more information and resources on the new overtime regulations, visit TRA’s website and resource center.


F A L L 2 0 1 6 R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E

Proud of the company we keep To learn more, contact Wayne Stewart 713.906.0593 or wayne.stewart@e-hps.com heartlandpaymentsystems.com All logos and trademarks are property of their respective owners

Š 2016 Heartland Payment Systems, Inc.

R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E F A L L 2 0 1 6


what texas employers should know about the use of


Based primarily on cost savings and convenience factors, many Texas restaurant employers are opting to replace wage checks with payroll debit cards, which may, depending on the provider, charge fees for withdrawals. Unlike the laws in other states, including Arizona, Connecticut, and Florida, the Texas Payday Law does not address the use of payroll debit cards. Two recent lawsuits filed outside of Texas, wherein the plaintiffs allege that their


F A L L 2 0 1 6 R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E

employers violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by requiring employees to accept their wages on debit cards which carried mandatory fees each time they were used, causing wages to fall below minimum wage, serve as a reminder to employers of the potential liability lurking behind the use of such cards. As a starting point, Texas employers should be familiar with the multi-layers of laws governing the payment of wages. The FLSA regulations require an employer to pay an employee’s wages “finally and unconditionally,” or “free and clear.” Pursuant to the Texas Payday Law, employers

have several options of paying employee wages, including by the electronic transfer of funds. An employee may also agree to receive all or a portion of her wages in kind or in another Texas employers have the option to pay wages through a direct deposit form. Texas employers to the employee’s financial institution, but if they do so, they must notify have the option to each affected employee in writing with at least sixty days’ notice, and pay wages through a obtain from the employee information needed for the direct deposit. direct deposit to the employee’s financial institution, but if they do so, they must notify each affected employee in writing with at least sixty days’ notice, and obtain from the employee information needed for the direct deposit. The Texas Payday Law also prohibits an employer from withholding or diverting any part of an employee’s wages unless the employer: (1) is ordered to do so by a court of competent jurisdiction; (2) is authorized to do so by state or federal law; or (3) has written authorization from the employee to deduct part of the wages for a lawful purpose. The FLSA imposes similar restrictions on employer deductions from wages, particularly where the employee is nonexempt and earns the minimum wage. In 2013, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued Bulletin 2013-10, which provides a number of additional protections to consumers who receive wages on a payroll card. In addition to reiterating various disclosure requirements, error resolution rights, and

R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E F A L L 2 0 1 6


limited liability for unauthorized transfers, the Bulletin reminds employers that they may not require employees to receive their wages by electronic transfer to a payroll card account for a particular institution. An employer may, however, offer employees the choice of receiving their wages on a payroll card or receiving them by some other means. What does all of this mean for Texas employers? Nothing in the Texas Payday Law prevents the use of payroll debit cards, and in fact, since 2011, the State of Texas has offered its employees the option to have their net pay directly deposited to an electronic payroll card. In light of the uncertainty of whether courts and government agencies will take the position that any fees associated with an employee’s use of the cards are unlawful, either because the fees could take an employee below minimum wage, or violate


F A L L 2 0 1 6 R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E

the “free and clear” payment requirement, employers who use or are considering using payroll debit cards should, as a starting point: (1) carefully review their payroll debit card vendor agreements to understand whether and how payroll debit card fees are charged;(2) review their pay practices to confirm that employees have options for how to receive their pay; (3) determine whether they have employee consent to pay wages on payroll debit cards; and (4) consult with counsel regarding best practices and the potential liability if payroll debit card fees, regardless of whether employees consent to such fees, are found to be unlawful.

Preferred POS

PARTNER of the

Point of Sale Solutions FAST CASUAL | DELIVERY | BAR | FULL SERVICE | QUICK SERVE www.revention.com


Whether full service, fast casual or quick service, eating out is a daily ritual for millions of people seeking food, beverages and friendly service. Across the country we depend on our favorite restaurants for a morning eye opener, lunch break, an afternoon treat or an evening meal. Many hard-working people also rely on the foodservice industry for their family’s livelihoods, while creating viable and successful careers. Just how big is our country’s restaurant industry? The National Restaurant Association (NRA) projects that in 2016 restaurants will post sales of nearly $783 billion – that’s four percent of the U.S. gross domestic product – and employ 14.4 million people in more than 1 million locations. In addition, the NRA’s 2016 Restaurant Industry Forecast predicted that the U.S. restaurant industry will remain the nation’s second-largest private sector employer, providing career opportunities for one in 10 working Americans. In addition to fueling our lives and providing jobs, the restaurant industry has always offered people from all backgrounds the opportunity to achieve the American dream of owning their own business. The NRA’s Forecast confirms that women and ethnic minorities in particular are becoming restaurants owners at a faster rate than the overall industry.


F A L L 2 0 1 6 R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E

R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E F A L L 2 0 1 6


They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and that includes the restaurant industry. Restaurants are a driving force in the state’s economy, providing jobs and building careers for thousands of people and playing a vital role in local communities. Texas Restaurant Association reports show $52.4 billion in sales in the Texas restaurant industry in 2016. More so, there are over 1.2 million restaurant industry employees in Texas – that’s 12 percent of employment in the state. By 2026, that number is projected to grow by over 221,000 additional jobs. Becoming a franchisee of a foodservice brand can be a straightforward option for many who are on the path to business ownership and looking to join the ever-growing restaurant industry. The franchising business model is simple – the franchisor generally provides the brand, tools, and processes for operating the business, and franchisees run their own independent business within the standards established by the franchisor. A recent economic impact study from the International Franchise Association’s Franchise Education and Research Foundation shows that franchising generates two and a half percent of America’s gross domestic

Introducing our newest member benefit

TRA Advisory Network A team of expert consultants who are in the business of assisting restaurateurs with the daily challenges they encounter is just a phone call or click away. Contact us today to request your first consult!


at your service!

800.590.8388 | txrestaurant.org

F A L L 2 0 1 6 R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E

product. There are 732,842 business The study indicates that format franchise establishments in once again, restaurants this country, providing more than 7.6 stand out in this category, million jobs. The industries run the with quick service restaurants gamut from automotive, business representing the largest services and lodging to commercial category – 25 percent – of and residential services, education all franchise establishments and more. The study indicates that once again, restaurants stand out in this category, with quick service restaurants representing the largest category – 25 percent – of all franchise establishments and 45.5 percent of all franchise jobs.

and 45.5 percent of all franchise jobs.

More so, the NRA’s 2016 Restaurant Industry Forecast showed a seventh consecutive year of real sales growth for restaurants, with local business conditions affecting regional variations. The Lone Star State’s strong economy, strong workforce and pro-business reputation supports business development. There are projections that Texas will top 30 million residents by 2020. That’s a growing customer base with disposable income, thanks to job availability and healthy salaries – great news for Texan restaurant owners and operators. Dunkin’ Donuts is certainly planning to be part of this growth. There are currently 111 Dunkin’ Donuts locations throughout the state of Texas, and as part of our continued westward growth, the company recently signed multi-unit store development agreements to develop more than 70 more restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area alone. With each Dunkin’ Donuts employing R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E F A L L 2 0 1 6


approximately 20 people, that’s almost 1,500 new jobs in the near future providing entry points for people to get involved in the restaurant industry. As we continue to grow throughout Texas, franchise opportunities are currently available in communities and rural geographies throughout Northern, Southern and Western Texas, outside of major metropolitan areas. Community leaders who already operate local businesses, such as other restaurants, retail outlets or convenience stores and gas stations, are terrific franchisee candidates for Dunkin’ Donuts in these areas. In addition to jobs, the development and operation of a Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant can deliver a significant impact to the community it serves. Community is the heart of our business, so it’s important to us to serve our neighborhoods through impactful and local initiatives, and one way that Dunkin’ Brands With a healthy gives back is through The Joy in Childhood restaurant industry and strong Texas economy Foundation. Working in partnership with our franchisees, our mission is to bring combining to offer so moments of joy to sick and hungry children, many opportunities for and since 2006 has granted more than 11 employment and business million dollars to non-profit organizations ownership, now is the nationwide.

right time for qualified candidates to consider franchising.

With a healthy restaurant industry and strong Texas economy combining to offer so many opportunities for employment and business ownership, now is the right time for qualified candidates to consider franchising. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, there are strong brands and businesses like Dunkin’ Donuts ready to grow and thrive with you. Grant Benson, CFE, vice president of global franchising and business development, Dunkin’ Brands, leads the teams responsible for defining the Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins expansion strategies for new and existing markets, as well as responsibility for attracting and signing new franchisees into both systems.


F A L L 2 0 1 6 R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E

SAVE THE DATE! JA N UA RY 2 7 – 2 8 Reg i on al Inv itati o n al Collin College Frisco, Texas

F EBRUA RY 1 1 – 1 2 Reg i on al Inv itati o n al Cedar Ridge High School Round Rock, Texas

M ARC H 2 4 – 2 5 S t ate Inv itati o n al St. Philip’s College San Antonio, Texas

t ex a s p r os ta rt . c o m • 8 0 0 -3 9 5 -2 87 2

GOT TIME? Volunteer for any of the 2017 Texas ProStart Invitational competitions! Just have an hour? We’ve got a time slot for you Have more time? Consider judging or being a timer

Contact Jerrica Deloney at jdeloney@tramail.org or 800-395-2872 to learn more

how to identify and prevent


There are many great restaurants, both large and small, across the state of Texas. Yet an alarming number of these restaurants have closed, not because their food was inadequate, but because they failed to identify the barriers to entry that kept customers from their establishments. Virtually all restaurateurs have the culinary chops to open a great restaurant. But relatively few have the ability to step back and look at their restaurant as a potential customer may view it. What we’ll do in this column is to review what barriers to entry can be and how to eliminate them. The person that answers the phone. This is normally a lowpaid position at most restaurants handed out to some high school part-timer. Big mistake! The very first impression that most people get of your establishment is from that first call they make. And from my experience, many people who man this critical position are underpaid, undertrained, and not well-versed with your menu. Here’s an example. A potential customer calls to make a reservation. The response he may get is “well, we’re really slammed.” So what? The customer doesn’t care about that. He wants a solution, and the front line person is not offering one. Or someone may call and ask about the menu. The response often is “well, I just started and uh, let me see if I can find a waiter.”


F A L L 2 0 1 6 R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E

Again, not what the customer wants to hear. The solution. This position should be manned by someone who gets your restaurant, understands the basics of good customer service, has some experience, and has the ability to solve the customer’s problem, if possible. They should know the specials of the day and should act proactively. In all the research we’ve done, this has been the largest single barrier to entry we’ve identified. Overestimating customer product knowledge. Many restaurant operators get so close to their product that they can’t see the forest through the trees, so don’t assume that your customers know anything because they probably don’t. We’ve seen customers get mixed up about restaurants all the time. One great Austin example is a chef/ owner who opened a restaurant that had neither an address nor a name on it. I’m a food critic and I was trying to find it and drove by it four times! Make sure your restaurant has appropriate and visible signage. Restaurant customers will quickly tire of trying to find one place and simply go somewhere else. Don’t fall into the hubris trap. Just because you may be an uber cool chef and a rock star in your city does not mean that the average customers knows jack about you or your restaurant. Be visible. I repeat. Be visible. Menus that are too long. I prefer a restaurant where the menu is one page long. When customers have to scroll through several pages of choices, they quickly become distracted. The waitperson then usually winds up having to spend time explaining things when that time could be better spent taking an order or helping another table. The best chefs know this. Cook your best dishes and put them on the menu and resist the temptation to list more than you should.

R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E F A L L 2 0 1 6


Big Business in Big D!

JULY 9–10 | DALLAS, TEXAS TRA Marketplace is part trade show, part conference, bringing together thousands of chefs, restaurant owners, managers, executives, educators and consultants for two days of inspiration!

Join us!

This is the place to do business and become a better restaurateur. Registration opens in January!


F A L L 2tramarketplace.com 0 1 6 R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A|G 800.395.2872 AZINE

| expoinfo@tramail.org

Print out the specials of the day. Printers are cheap these days and can work quite nicely. Another huge gripe I hear from customers are servers reciting a laundry list of specials. They usually wind up having to repeat the list 2-3 times because the customers forget. Simple solution, print out the day’s specials and insert them into the menu. This speeds things up exponentially and removes the potential for a major irritant. Servers that can’t pronounce the dishes. I get this complaint all the time. This is more for fine dining restaurants but the concept applies across the board. Servers should be allowed to taste all the dishes because rest assured they’ll be asked for a recommendation. And they should be schooled in how to pronounce the names of the dishes. For example, it’s “brus-ketta” and not “bruschetta.” These little niceties can go a long way in fostering the server-patron experience and will build customer confidence. Websites that aren’t mobile friendly. Social media must now play a role in the marketing mix for any successful restaurant. First, invest in a good web developer. An attractive site will pay dividends. Then, make sure your site is mobile friendly. 80% of all first visits to sites are now done not on desktop or laptop computers but on mobile devices. So your site must conform to Google standards or you’ll be left out in the proverbial cold. There are more barriers and we’ll cover them in my next column. But remember, think like a customer. Put yourself in their place when making key marketing or personnel decisions. You’ll be glad you did. Rob Balon, PhD is the long-time food critic for FOX-7 TV, KVUE-TV, and KLBJ-AM in Austin. His website is the largest independently owned site in central Texas and he has a strong social media presence on Facebook and Instagram. Balon grew up in the restaurant business and holds a PhD in marketing from the U of Michigan. Not only does he help restaurants build their brands but actively consults with them on marketing and advertising. He may be reached at rbbalon1@gmail.com or at 512-413-6897.

R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E F A L L 2 0 1 6


TE XAS 3 6 0

Drumroll please ! TRA MARKETPLACE PULLS IN NATIONAL AWARDS AS FASTEST-GROWING SHOW IN COUNTRY TRA Marketplace was recently announced the winner of not one, but TWO separate, national awards – one for fastest-growing show (attendance) within the association industry and also overall. The awards were presented by the Trade Show News Network (TSNN), a leading industry authority at a ceremony held this past weekend in Atlantic City at Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center, where the ‘best of the best’ trade shows in North America gathered. Nominees represented a diverse range of industries, including consumer electronics, solar power, jewelry and even cattle. Over 100 show organizers, their guests, trade show suppliers and association executives participated in this year’s awards. The three-day celebration kicked off Friday night with a Roaring 20’s opening party at the legendary Palm Restaurant and continued throughout the weekend at an awards conference, held at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Accepting the award for TRA Marketplace was Andrea Bahr, vice president of exposition and events, who credited TRA and the TRA Sue Trizila, CEO of Wyndham Jade, presents award Marketplace team. Sue Trizila, CEO to Andrea Bahr. Photo credit: (c) The Photo Group of Wyndham Jade, presented the 2016 awards.


F A L L 2 0 1 6 R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E

TEX A S 3 60 TRA Marketplace, which will be in its 80th year in 2017, is the largest foodservice show in the southwest. It rotates annually between Texas metros and will next be held July 9-10 in Dallas at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. For decades, the show has dazzled visitors with stunning and interactive displays, state-of-the-science products and equipment, and the latest news, trends and advice from dynamic industry leaders. Over 500 exhibitors participate, showcasing everything from artisan food products and craft beverages to linens, mobile technology, security, kitchen equipment, supplies and even food truck displays. The show attracts thousands of people each year. Richie Jackson, CEO of Texas Restaurant Association credits Bahr and the entire TRA Marketplace team, as well as dynamic exhibitors. “We have a stellar, hardworking team in place and truly exceptional exhibitors,” he says. “Our exhibitors invest a great deal into our show and many have been doing so for decades. Each year they turn up with fresh ideas and creative booths that are valuable and engaging. We’re extremely proud of everyone involved and look forward to continued growth.” New to this year’s show was the TRA Marketplace app, which allowed attendees and exhibitors to navigate the show with ease, stay on top of seminar schedules, quickly find vendors and services and even vote on top products. Just last month TRA Marketplace also launched a new website which is interactive, mobile responsive and easier to navigate. For more information, to exhibit or to become a sponsor, visit www.tramarketplace.com.

R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E F A L L 2 0 1 6


at your service!

Have a question? Ask our experts. KENNETH BESSERMAN General Counsel

kbesserman@tramail.org • 512.457.4170

Quick & Easy Online Alcohol Certification Course Get Certified Today! Valid anywhere in Texas


T I M S E K I YA Director of Insurance

tsekiya@tramail.org • 512.457.4161

PHIL WILLIS Director of Products & Training Manager

pwillis@tramail.org • 512.457.4165

8 0 0. 39 5 . 2 8 72 • txres ta ura n t .o r g

A Texas Restaurant Association Product

We’re Social! @TXRestAssoc

Online • FAST • Affordable

Industry leading food manager safety certification

#TRAEF #TXProStart #TRAMarketpalace #TABCToGo No proctored exam. Take the course and exam online and receive your certification.

txrestaurant.org Accepted by all local health departments in Texas


F A L L 2 0 1 6 R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E


GAME ON MAKES HISTORY FOR TRAEF! In a history-making move, the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation (TRAEF) partnered with TOPGOLF for the first time to host a simultaneous, red-hot, four-city golf competition, raising over $55,000 for TRAEF programs and initiatives. Over 360 restaurateurs, Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) and TRAEF members, leadership, staff, sponsors and volunteers came out to get their best ‘game on’ at four TOPGOLF locations - Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston/Katy. TRAEF is the very first nonprofit organization to ever host a multi-city tournament with TOPGOLF. In addition to a multi-city friendly competition, teams also competed within each location. Winning teams included Texas Mutual in Austin, Ace Mart in Dallas, Dish Society in Houston/Katy and a mixed team of golfers in San Antonio. TRAEF is now preparing for their largest event of the year - the Texas ProStart Invitational competition taking place in January. Texas ProStart is an industry-based, two-year high school culinary arts and restaurant management curriculum, currently operating in over 240 Texas high schools, reaching over 25,000 students annually. Kudos and big thanks to TOPGOLF and to all event sponsors: ECOLAB, Revention, Texas Mutual, Sysco, Auto-Chlor, Ben E. Keith, Ace Mart, Texas Beef Council, Dish Society and United Healthcare.

R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E F A L L 2 0 1 6


COMMU N I T Y NEWS 2017 LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS CONFERENCE Join fellow restaurateurs for the Texas Restaurant Association’s bi-annual Legislative Affairs Conference. The 2017 Legislative Affairs Conference will include a program of political leaders and political insiders speaking about the upcoming legislative session and issues important to our industry. On the morning of Tuesday, February 28 we will travel to the Texas Capitol to meet members of the Texas Legislature to advocate for issues important to our industry.

February 27-28, 2017 AT&T Conference Center Austin, TX Questions? Contact Kenneth Besserman, General Counsel kbesserman@tramail.org | 800-395-2872 | www.txrestaurant.org


F A L L 2 0 1 6 R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E


SOCIAL MEDIA FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE - THE BASICS Free Webinar - Thursday, December 1, 10:00am Social media expert Kristin Booth of nationally known Main Street Hub provides a fun and creative environment to explore the benefits and challenges of new social media platforms to attract and drive customers to local businesses. In this info-packed, hour-long presentation she provides real-life examples, best practices, and practical solutions so you can leave with tangible actions to apply immediately to impact your online presence!

The Texas Restaurant Association has launched two new websites, one for the association, www. txrestaurant.org, and one for the TRA Marketplace, TRA’s annual trade show, the largest foodservice show in the Southwest, www. tramarketplace.com. The new sites, which are fully responsive, feature updated designs, reorganized structure and interactive features, making it easier for both members and the general public to navigate.

ADVE RTISING INDE X TEXAS MUTUAL....................................... 8 UNITED HEALTHCARE......................... 14 HEARTLAND............................................17


REVENTION............................................ 21

• Where to market yourself - and why

TRA ADVISORY NETWORK..................24

• Creating a great first impression


• Conversations and timely responses • Proactive engagement • Creating posts with intention and consistency

TRA MARKETPLACE..............................30 RVM CLASSIFIED...................................34 TABC TO GO TRA AT YOUR SERVICE! TRA: WE’RE SOCIAL FOODGUARD


REGISTER HERE Presented by Main Street Hub


For advertising information contact Communications at communications@tramail.org

R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E F A L L 2 0 1 6



7. 9 5

online through 12/31/2016

Classroom training also available! (English or Spanish)


Phil Willis,



Texas Requires Statewide Food Handler Certification Ge t C e r ti fi e d wit h S e r v S afe Food Han dle r Te xas on li n e

servsafe.com/txfoodhandler ACCEPTED EVERYWHERE IN TEXAS

ANSI-accredited; approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services

Profile for Texas Restaurant Association

Legislative Outlook | Restaurantville magazine Fall 2016  

A look ahead to challenges and opportunities in Texas’ 85th Legislative Session

Legislative Outlook | Restaurantville magazine Fall 2016  

A look ahead to challenges and opportunities in Texas’ 85th Legislative Session