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Restaurantville winter



Moving Beyond

Farm to Fork

PUBLISHER Richie Jackson, CEO Texas Restaurant Association VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING & INNOVATION Anna Tauzin Rice 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 Editorial questions can be directed to Rebecca Robinson at 512-457-4100 or

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






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Moving Beyond Farm to Fork BY REBECCA ROBINSON


n the 70s and into the 80s, “healthy eating”, especially at restaurants, consisted of the ubiquitous “Diet Plate”. Usually a lonely, pale, skinless chicken breast, flanked by anemic-looking iceberg lettuce, or maybe a bowl of cottage cheese with a side of canned peaches. Those of us of a certain age might even remember Jane Brody’s “Good Food Book: Living the High Carbohydrate Way” (insert gasp), which would send modern day health advocates into apoplexy. Over the years, like everything, our notions of what constitutes “healthy” has evolved. Today, the term “diet” is no longer vogue –  we strive for “healthy living”.


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Obsessing over calories is a thing of the past, it is one-dimensional, an incomplete picture of health. Today, what constitutes good health and good food is much more complex and diverse. There is a kaleidoscope of factors; fat grams, sodium, sugar, proteins, gluten, processing or lack thereof and a host of others, not the least of which, the quality and purity of our food. FARM TO FORK Looking good is synonymous with feeling good and beginning in the early 90s, people developed a renewed interest in what they were eating and just as important – where it came from. The idea was that food tastes best (and is most nutritious) when it is fresh, minimally processed, and naturally grown, which meant locally sourced. Also known as “slow food” or “sustainable food”, the “Farm to Fork” or “Farm to Table” movement exploded nationwide. Maximum nutrients meant minimum processing. 

Farmer’s markets and co-ops became trendy places Seasonal menus became all the rage and restaurant so, or at least key menu items.

The movement can be traced back to legendary food activist, author and restauranteur Alice Waters and her restaurant Chez Panisse, opened in 1971 in Berkeley, California. She was sourcing locally and providing seasonal menus decades before it was fashionable.


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Farmer’s markets and co-ops became trendy places to shop and savvy restaurateurs heeded the call. Seasonal menus became all the rage and restaurants who weren’t already sourcing locally began to do so, or at least key menu items. More noticeably, they began telling people about it and it became the centerpiece of marketing campaigns. Product source lists became as commonplace as the menu itself, as more and more chefs jumped on the locavore movement.

to shop and savvy restauranteurs heeded the call. ts who weren’t already sourcing locally began to do

Like all trends however, the pendulum swung too far and the backlash began. In food writer Corby Kummer’s recent explosive article in Vanity Fair, he writes, “The ‘farm-to-table’ movement has run amok as restaurants everywhere provide exhausting pedigrees for every morsel….no chef would dare to seek investors without a business plan that boasts of its ‘farm-to-table’ cuisine—a term now so common that it has inspired its own irritating abbreviation, F2T.”

The parodies began as well, with a poke on season 1, episode 1 of the popular IFC series, “Portlandia”. A couple in a restaurant prepares to order, and a waitress approaches them, reporting that the chicken on the menu is, “…a Heritage Breed, woodland-raised chicken that’s been fed a diet of sheep’s milk, soy and hazelnuts.” R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E W I N T E R 2 0 1 7


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The man asks, “This is local?” The waitress replies, “Yes.” The lady then asks, “USDA Organic, Oregon organic, or Portland organic?” BEYOND FARM TO FORK ‘F2T’ aside, consumer demand for better and healthier foods is more than a trend. It is, in part, response to a very real public health crisis. Headlines over the past few years have been hammering home just how bad the American diet has become. Last year, it was reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that 38 percent of U.S. adults and 17 percent of teenagers are considered obese. These figures have risen steadily over the past thirty years, despite hundreds of millions ‘F2T’ aside, consumer of dollars in research, marketing campaigns and demand for better and education.  By 2030, it is healthier foods is more than a expected that 42 percent of trend. It is, in part, response to the U.S. adults will be obese.

a very real public health cr isis.

Dr. Jody Zylke and Dr. Howard Bauchner, American Medical Association journal editors, wrote in a recent commentary, “Perhaps it is time for an entirely different approach, one that emphasizes collaboration with the food and restaurant industries that are in part responsible for putting food on dinner tables.” Hank Cardello, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, an independent research organization in Washington D.C. and director of the Institute’s R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E W I N T E R 2 0 1 7


Products with no/low/reduced calories, whole grains or other ingredients, generally recognized as healthier or in calorie-contro U.S. dollar sales growth.

Obesity Solutions Initiative believes that “Obesity is the foremost public health problem facing our nation today, and it’s clear that the packaged food and restaurant industries must be part of the solution.” Another reason people are paying more attention to what they eat and where it comes from, is due to the sharp rise of food allergies. Approximately one out of every three people in the U.S. has a food allergy or modifies the family diet because of a family member’s allergies. Consider that in 2015, one of Time Magazine’s 25 best inventions of the year was a gadget called the Nima gluten sensor, which is able to tell within two minutes whether a food contains gluten.


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BETTER FOR YOU FOOD – BETTER FOR YOUR BOTTOM LINE So, if sourcing locally isn’t enough anymore, just what are people expecting? How can the restaurant industry balance healthier options with traditional items? As it turns out, providing healthier options doesn’t have to be all-encompassing, expensive or even all that complicated. And for those choosing to invest, it is paying off.

Industry termed ‘better for you’ foods can encompass a wide range of factors, be it calorie count, reduced sodium, olled packaging, accounted for over 70 percent of their fat grams, cage free, pesticide free, organics, non-GMO and more. Not only are healthy options a chance for increased sales, but restaurants can attract an entirely new demographic they might not have had before. Studies by the Natural Marketing Institute have shown that at least a third of America’s consumers are committed to healthier eating. A recent Harris poll found that 58 percent of restaurant patrons consider “healthy menu items” when selecting a restaurant. According to studies conducted by the Hudson Institute, there is a clear link between healthier, lower-calorie foods and healthier food company financials. Hudson’s 2011 study of the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, Better-for-You Foods: It’s Just Good Business, found that:

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• between 2006 and 2011, 15 leading food and beverage companies that grew their lower-calorie/”better-for-you” products enjoyed superior sales growth, operating margins and operating profit growth. • products with no/low/reduced calories, whole grains or other ingredients, generally recognized as healthier or in calorie-controlled packaging, accounted for more than 70 percent of their U.S. dollar sales growth. And in a 2013 Hudson Institute study of the restaurant industry, LowerCalorie Foods: It’s Just Good Business, found that restaurant chains that increased their lower-calorie servings from 2006 to 2011 outperformed those that served fewer According to studies lower-calorie menu items.

conducted by the Hudson

• Chains that increased Institute, there is a clear link their lower-calorie servings saw a 5.5 percent increase in same-store sales, while those that did not suffered a 5.5 and healthier food company percent decline. financials. More pointedly, while servings of lowercalorie foods increased by almost a half billion over the five years, servings of higher-calorie foods declined sharply by 1.3 billion.

between healthier , lower -calor ie foods

Though the road has been bumpy and there have been plenty of hits and misses, restaurants of all sizes and types are getting increasingly creative with their healthy fare and finding great success:


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• Moe’s Southwest Grill now uses 100 percent grass fed beef, uses all natural ingredients in their salsa and reduced salt content by 50 percent across the menu, McDonalds, KFC, Eat n’ Park, Wendy’s and Popeyes among • McDonalds, KFC, Eat many others have eliminated trans fatty acids (TFAs). n’ Park, Wendy’s and Popeyes among many others have eliminated trans fatty acids (TFAs),

• Chipotle was the first national restaurant chain to disclose GMOs in their food and then subsequently, the first to cook only with nonGMO ingredients (they are “GM-Over” it), • Papa John’s was the first national pizza chain to get rid of chicken that had been raised with human and animal antibiotics. Its poultry is now antibiotic-free, and fed a 100 percent vegetarian diet. They have also committed to removing additives and eliminated MSG from its popular ranch dressing and trans fats from their garlic sauce, • Subway sandwich chain removed foods with artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, • Pizza Hut announced that by 2020, 20 percent of Pizza Hut pizzas will contain only one third of the daily recommended dietary allowance for sodium, • By the end of 2017, Taco Bell promised to remove all artificial flavors and coloring, preservatives and additives for 95 percent of the chain’s core food items. R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E W I N T E R 2 0 1 7


Aside from consumer demand, on-trend marketing and increased media awareness, another reason to jump on the health bandwagon is because eventually, you may not have an option. In May, the federal government’s new menu-labeling rules will go into effect for many chain restaurants.  In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the food industry until 2018 to remove industrial trans fats from the American diet, a move that New York City made a long time ago by banning it in restaurants and bakeries. Many other cities throughout the country have followed suit, such as In the end, however, a Cleveland and Philadelphia. Making a switch to healthier poultry pedigree or source options, smaller portions and list a mile long won’t mean ‘better for you’ foods now, anything unless you have good may save you time, trouble recipes, and flavorful, delicious and expense later on.

food that keeps people coming

Data has shown that the back for more. timing is right - people are hungry for a healthier diet. It is now a consistent factor that affects restaurant choices and in many cases, people are willing to pay more to ensure that their food is safe, fresh and nutritious. Better for you food helps address the growing public health crisis of obesity and its myriad, related diseases. It helps local economies and reduces the carbon footprint of factory farms. Better for you food can be better for your bottom line, attract a new demographic and keep you ahead of government regulations. In the end, however, a poultry pedigree or source list a mile long won’t mean anything unless you have good recipes, and flavorful, delicious food that keeps people coming back for more. Better for you food is best for you food when it combines freshness, flavor and nutrition.


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NEW MENU LABELING REQUIREMENTS After two delays, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a final rule extending the compliance date for the federal government’s new menu labeling regulations to May 5, 2017, which now aligns with the enforcement date. As of May 5, the law will require restaurants and foodservice business with 20 or more locations operating under the same name, and serving substantially the same menu items, to post calorie information for standard menu items and provide guests with additional nutrition information upon request. The menu-labeling requirement was part of the health care bill that President Obama signed into law in 2010. It preempts the complicated patchwork of state and local menu-labeling rules, limits restaurant liability and provides guests with consistent nutrition information. The National Restaurant Association applauded the FDA for clarifying its decision to align the dates. “Today’s announcement by the FDA gives the foodservice industry the time it needs to empower its customers to make the best choices for themselves,” said Cicely Simpson, executive vice president of government affairs and policy in a recent press release. “We have long advocated for a nationwide federal menu labeling standard that gives customers access to uniform nutritional information at restaurants, and that provides certainty to restaurateurs and foodservice operators over the patchwork of state and local laws.” For detailed information on menu labeling visit menu-labeling.

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Photo by Matt Lankes


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How one small Central Texas ranch community is making a

Big Impact on Cu isine Capra Premium Dorper Lamb becomes USDA’s first breed-based certified lamb program BY REBECCA ROBINSON With an unassuming manner and gentle Texas drawl, you’d never know in talking with Craig Jones from Goldthwaite, Texas that you were talking to the man responsible for driving the USDA’s first breed-based certified lamb program. The owner of Capra Foods, a collective of more than 120 lamb ranches nestled together in Central Texas, he surprises me with a little known but astonishing fact: Texas is the leading sheepproducing state in the United States. “You’d think R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E W I N T E R 2 0 1 7


there would be more sheep in the mountain states, but no one even touches Texas.” Raised on a ranch in Lytle, Texas, a rural area 23 miles southwest of San Antonio, Jones grew up with agriculture in his blood. After receiving his degree in finance, he went to Chicago, landing a position at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange working in cattle futures. He later returned to Texas to raise his family and noticed a trend, which he now calls a ‘revolution’ in the industry, a move from wool sheep to meat sheep. The leading factor was the sharp decline in textile manufacturing in the U.S. in the ‘80s, ‘90s and ‘00s with the mass exodus of jobs and factories overseas, leaving far less demand for domestic wool. The rise of synthetic fibers also become popular and more cost-effective than wool and other natural fibers.

For years however, lamb experienced a less than stellar reputation in the U.S.


Alan McAnelly (left), owner of Hamilton Sheep Station and Craig Jones, owner of Capra Foods.

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Photo by Matt Lankes

Enter Dorper lamb, strictly a meat producing sheep. Since Dorper lambs don’t produce wool, there isn’t any lanolin (containing grease), which is largely responsible for the ‘gamey’ flavor that some people do not care for. According to Jones, Dorper results in a much more delicate taste profile. He was intrigued.

Lamb shank pie

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Many attribute its lackluster reception as backlash from World War II, when soldiers returned to the U.S. from Europe. They were tired of eating a lamb heavy diet, which was often badly prepared and gamey. That aversion was then passed down through the generations. Lamb is still the least-consumed protein per capita in the U.S., (less than 1 lb. per year), but that number is rapidly changing as consumers (and restaurants/chefs) become more adventurous, more accepting of nontraditional proteins, and more aware of local farms and ranches.

Jones made a commitment early on to raise his lamb as naturally as possible. He follows a strict production It’s not just high-end resta quick service are experime protocol: they are pasture raised, and he never uses antibiotics, growth hormones or animal byproducts. And Dorper lamb in particular lend themselves to being raised naturally, “It’s a well-adapted animal. They are resistant to parasites; they don’t need to be sheared – which means that there is minimal handling.” Premium Dorper Lamb has a good meat to bone ratio, is leaner, and Jones harvests at smaller sizes (100-110 lbs.), than commodity lamb (feed yards), which hover around 175 lbs. Another benefit is that ewes give birth year-round, unlike cattle, which allows for a steady supply of lamb throughout the year. In 2009, Jones started marketing his lamb to a few small retailers and as consumers started re-discovering lamb and the Farm to Fork movement continued full-swing, his business grew. In 2012 he opened ‘Prime Fresh Foods’ and now works with a collective of 120 ranchers


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to market their products, which are sold from coast to coast, and are in Whole Foods stores throughout the southwest.

In order to keep his product consistent, Jones embarked on the labor-intensive process of getting USDA breedbased certification, which took him two long years. His efforts paid off, and now, Capra Lamb is the aurants that are serving lamb either – many casual restaurants and even only USDA certified lamb enting with ground lamb, lamb burgers, and lamb meatballs. program in the country and his collective in Goldthwaite is the top producer of premium Dorper lamb in the U.S. Jones says that it wasn’t hard to get other Dorper ranchers to follow the strict production protocol, because most people were doing it anyway. For them, ranching and farming naturally and sustainably are a way of life. While sustainability has always been important to Jones, receiving USDA certification was also a response to the growing demand from consumers, retailers and food suppliers, to know more about their food. Jones explains “More and more, people want to know where their food comes from, how it was raised and how the livestock was treated. There is also a health concern about antibiotics and hormone use – we wanted to let them know that our product is all natural and official certification is a way to do that.” R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E W I N T E R 2 0 1 7


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The rise in lamb consumption is encouraging to Jones, although he is realistic and knows it will never replace pork, chicken or beef. But the market is significant, and growing. Consumers are becoming more adventurous and chefs are too – they are looking for ways to differentiate themselves and Dorper Premium Lamb is something unique they can try. It’s an opportunity for innovation and new menu items. Chef Andrew Curren, Executive Chef & Partner of ELM Restaurant Group in Austin appreciates its flavor and versatility. “I find Dorper lamb to have a much sweeter and milder taste and aroma than your standard lamb breeds. It eats well when seared, roasted or braised, but at Italic, we even serve it raw in a tartare to show off its sweet characteristics.” Some old school misconceptions about lamb still exist – such as the belief that it must always be seasoned with mint, or according to Executive Chef John Brand of Hotel Emma (and restaurant Supper), that precious cuts need to be medium rare. Now, he says, it’s more approachable. “It’s a good alternative to beef. I don’t have to use braised beef, I can use braised lamb R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E W I N T E R 2 0 1 7


and it works out brilliantly. We also do lamb meatballs that are doing quite well and are planning a lamb patty melt on the lunch menu.” Chef Brand’s favorite cut these days is lamb shoulder. He smokes and then braises it, seasoning it with a fennel spice. He also braises it ‘stew style’ with red wine, tomatoes and spices. It’s not just high-end restaurants that are serving lamb either – many casual restaurants and even quick service are experimenting with ground lamb, lamb burgers, and lamb meatballs. Burger places all over the country like the Burger Lounge, The Counter, Burger Revolution, and Burger, Tap & Shake have added their own lamb burgers. As its popularity soars, (and beef prices continue to rise), it is a versatile alternative to traditional meats and can set a restaurant apart. Alex Robertson, Sous Chef at Megg’s Café in Temple, Texas feels that serving Capra Lamb is something that distinguishes them from


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other restaurants. “It hasn’t been a hard sell at all,” he says. “We are one of the only restaurants in the area where you can order it, so it’s something unique.” One of their more popular items is a lamb burger with arugula, pickled onion and goat cheese. “The second people saw it, they wanted to try it. It’s delicious!”

We have moved away from the popularity of lamb imported from Australia and New Zealand, we have seen both the versatility and wide breadth of how lamb can be handled, expand. Telling the local story and informing people about its sustainability

helps dr ive that movement as well.

Chef Curren adds that local production is important. “We have moved away from the popularity of lamb imported from Australia and New Zealand, we have seen both the versatility and wide breadth of how lamb can be handled, expand. Telling the local story and informing people about its sustainability helps drive that movement as well.” Food futurists place traceability for new meats at the top of the trend list, and with such close proximity to metros, this Central Texas ranching region is in an excellent position. It’s a huge economic driver for the area and, says Jones, it’s the one protein that “…really defines the sustainable movement,” and is hitting the market at the perfect time. For Jones, it’s symbiosis. There is a perfect convergence between consumers hungry for something different and all-natural, and ranchers who are passionate about producing a premium product. “Most ranchers here take care of their land, take care of their livestock and do the right thing,” Jones says. “American ranchers are good stewards and that is a story that is under told.” R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E W I N T E R 2 0 1 7


how restaurants can benefit from

Soc ial Med ia


Social media has been around for too long to dismiss it is a fad or overnight sensation. The dramatic growth of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others suggest that it is virtually imperative for any restaurant to have a social media presence. Data has shown that more than 60% of customers interacted with or found restaurants through social media in 2016 alone.


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And that number will only continue to grow as more millenials come of age and baby boomers' social media skills improve. There are a number of right moves to make regarding social media and some fairly disastrous ones as well. So let's start with the ones that have been demonstrated to work.

THINGS TO DO 1. Build a good, mobile-friendly website. This has become imperative. The cost of a good site has gotten considerably lower and the benefits of having a good one have grown incrementally higher. A mobile friendly device is one that looks good and can be easily read on a hand-help device like an Apple iPhone 6s or 7. Ten years ago, everybody who engaged with your website was doing it on a laptop or desktop. No longer! The dramatic rise of mobile devices has impacted search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. If Google does not consider your site to be mobile friendly, you will drip precipitously on their rankings. And if you don't show up on the first 1-4 pages of a Google search, well, you can forget about anyone going past that to find you. 2. Make sure your home page is inviting and clearly tells the story of your restaurant. Make sure your menu is easy to read, and be careful of contrasting color schemes that can make reading difficult. Readers are impatient these days and they want to cut to the chase. Why should they go? What should they try? What about your restaurant is irresistible? 3. Understand content marketing. If possible, build a blog written by the Exec Chef or Owner into the site. Update it several times a week. It doesn't have to be long but our research has shown that this kind of content marketing can be very influential in driving customer decisions R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E W I N T E R 2 0 1 7


Proud of the company we keep To learn more, contact Wayne Stewart 713.906.0593 or All logos and trademarks are property of their respective owners


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Š 2016 Heartland Payment Systems, Inc.

Data has shown that more than 60% of customers interacted with or found restaurants through social media in 2016 alone. And that

and increasing their comfort zone with your restaurant and your brand. One example might be a brief blog on the history of that week's or night's special.It's important to reach out to your customers.

4. Create Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages to start. As on your website, use sharp pictures and graphics. If you offer come of age and baby a discount on a particular night, Facebook boomers’ social media is a great place to post it. They can also skills improve. use Facebook or Open Table to make reservations. These are also great spots for customer testimonials. number will only continue to grow as more millenials

It is not as important to have thousands of people "liking" your restaurant. I get annoyed when I see ads asking people to "like us in Facebook". Tell your story succinctly and creatively and the likes will take care of themselves. 5. Build your own email database of customers. Collect them from each table and then periodically reward them with a free dessert or a two-for one entree. Don't bombard them. Be judicious. But if you handle this correctly it can be a terrific way to generate good will.

THINGS NOT TO DO 1. Don't get carried away with user generated sites like Yelp. And particularly resist the temptation to reach out to someone who has given you a negative review. This will be frustrating and almost never ends well. Also, it could easily be a competitor using an assumed name to bash you. 2. Use Yelp as a tool and extract what you can from it. The vast majority of people who post on Yelp and other user generated sites R E S TA U R A N T V I L L E M A G A Z I N E W I N T E R 2 0 1 7


are not good writers and many have a curious idea of what constitutes a great meal. The so-called Elite Yelpers gain this status not by the quality of their reviews but by the quantity. So as noted, take it all with a grain of salt and move on. 3. Sites like Yelp can be helpful when you see a consistent trend or commonality of unfavorable responses. This is not one or two but dozens. Then you have something worth considering and acting on. 4. Try to resist the temptation to do something like Groupon. Most restaurants can fill a lot of seats but rarely if ever make any money with this tool. These folks are chasing deals. The key is, most will never come back, that is until the next Groupon. Not only does Rob Balon help restaurants build their brands but actively consults with them on marketing and advertising. He may be reached at or at 512-413-6897.

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TE XAS 3 6 0


Frau dsters EAT YOUR LUNCH

Liability shift lifts veil on small counterfeit charges BY GEORGIA STAVRAKIS, CPP

It’s been more than a year since the U.S. migrated to EMV technology, and more than 1 million businesses now use EMV chip-embedded credit card readers. Unfortunately, criminals are taking full advantage of businesses that haven’t fully made the switch, leaving even small businesses vulnerable to costly chargebacks. Restaurants have been plagued for years by counterfeit, stolen and cloned credit card activity, but it’s much more apparent now that liability for these fraudulent charges shifted to the party using the least secure technology – most often the merchant. Customers who may frequent your restaurant could have been using counterfeit cards for months without exposure, because the issuing bank was taking the loss. But now, your business, and livelihood, could be held liable. If you haven’t enabled EMV chip-reader technology in your restaurant, here are a few reasons you should do it before you serve up that next batch of sweet tea.


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TEX A S 3 60 CRIMINALS PREFER MAGSTRIPE If a credit card does not have a physical EMV chip (magstripe only card), the data on the card may still be EMV. Here’s how. When criminals purchase credit card numbers online, the data — regardless of whether it is magstripe only or EMV technology — is loaded on a standard magstripe counterfeit card and shipped to them. With more than 67 percent of U.S. credit cards now using EMV technology, odds are that the counterfeit magstripe card they received uses EMV data. This is when having an EMV chip-embedded card reader at your business comes in handy. If the criminal swipes the counterfeit magstripe credit card housing EMV data on an EMV card reader, it will prompt them to use the chip reader. They won’t be able to use Although most restaurants don’t have to worry about professional thieves racking up thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges like the card, because no actual retailers, these low-level fraudsters target restaurants and bars for chip exists. For this reason, a quick win. fraudsters intentionally seek out non-EMV enabled businesses because the transaction process is not secure, and they can use the counterfeit magstripe card successfully, bringing unwanted chargebacks to your business.

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TE XAS 3 6 0 THE TAB IS ON ME Although most restaurants don’t have to worry about professional thieves racking up thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges like retailers, these low-level fraudsters target restaurants and bars for a quick win. Whether it’s just a $50 dinner and drinks, a gift-card purchase or a college student picking up the beer tab for friends, restaurants and bars are low-risk targets for criminals because law enforcement generally does not assist with recouping such a relatively small loss. But these small one-off losses add up, potentially leaving more than just your ketchup bottles in the red. PROTECT YOURSELF College and university towns, large cities and major metropolitan areas are the most vulnerable, but credit card fraud can happen to businesses anywhere. The best defense for your restaurant against credit card fraud is to install EMV chip reader terminals as soon as possible. If that simply isn’t an option, here are a few additional tips you can use to protect your business. • Verify the last four digits of the card number match the last four digits on the printed receipt • Compare the signatures on the card and receipt • Check cards for legitimate features like holograms, logos, CVV/ CID/CVV2 and AVS verification, etc. • Never rerun a card if it declines – for any reason. Georgia Stavrakis is the senior director of loss prevention at Heartland Payment Systems.


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SAVE THE DATE! M A RC H 2 4 – 2 5 St ate Invitational St. Philip’s College San Antonio, Texas

t xrestaurant .o r g • 80 0 -39 5-2872

GOT TIME? Volunteer for the 2017 Texas ProStart State Invitational competition! 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 or 800-395-2872 to learn more

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Restau rant



any restaurateurs work hard to give back to the communities that have supported them and now, TRA recognizes a select few who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. TRA

is proud to announce its 2017 Restaurant Neighbor award state winners - individuals and restaurant groups who have demonstrated a dedicated commitment to serving their communities through outstanding charitable service and philanthropy. They will advance to the national level to compete for the grand prize of $10,000 to support their favorite charity or nonprofit. Created 18 years ago, the Restaurant Neighbor Award is an awards program from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and American Express, created to honor restaurants for outstanding community involvement and innovative community programs.  State Restaurant Associations throughout the country select winners from their state to compete for the national award. Once selected, the state winners are forwarded to the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation to compete for the national awards.


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TEX A S 3 60 A panel of judges representing the restaurant industry, the nonprofit community and the media then select three national winners — one small business, one mid-size, and one large business/national chain. Each will receive $10,000 to support his/her favorite charity or community project and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC to receive the award during a gala awards dinner in March 2017. “We are very proud of our Texas Restaurant Neighbor Award winners. This group embodies the true spirit of these awards, encompassing generosity, community and philanthropy in their day to day operations,” says Richie Jackson, CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association. “The Restaurant Neighbor Awards provide an excellent opportunity to shine the spotlight on those who are so often working behind the scenes to make our communities a better place.” THE TEXAS WINNERS ARE: Whataburger (San Antonio, Texas):  For more than 60 years, Whataburger has been deeply committed to supporting communities. Whataburger’s employees, known as Family Members, are proud to serve through charitable giving and volunteerism to a number of nonprofit organizations focused on children’s charities, with an emphasis on education, disabilities and abuse prevention; cancer research; hunger assistance; disaster relief and military support. When the Houston area encountered torrential rainfall and severe flooding in April of 2016, Whataburger made a $100,000 donation to the American Red Cross to help Texas families pick up the pieces. Whataburger’s donation helped further flood relief efforts in the Houston area and across Texas. Meanwhile, 129 Whataburger restaurants across the city were proud to serve uniformed first-responders for free.

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TE XAS 3 6 0 San Angelo Restaurant Association (San Angelo, TX):  The San Angelo Restaurant Association has sponsored Spring Chicken Affair for more than 30 years, which is a community event benefitting West Texas Rehabilitation Center (WTRC) in San Angelo. For the last 34 years, the Association has been the sole provider of green beans, condiments, and other food needs for the event, as well as many of the event day volunteers. Since 2009, more than $372,353 has been raised through the event for WTRC. Café Momentum (Dallas, TX):  Café Momentum is a restaurant training platform that provides post-release paid internships for juvenile offenders, through which they receive intensive culinary, job, and life skills training as well as continued mentoring and support to foster successful reentry into the community. In addition to significantly reducing recidivism, they create opportunities for long-term, sustainable employment for a demographic that would otherwise continue to burden the justice system and taxpayers. Designed to increase stable employment and decrease recidivism, the 12-month Internship is their flagship program. Blue Baker (College Station, TX): For a small restaurant, Blue Baker has donated about $20,000 per year to local charities and nonprofits since 2001. They also conduct weekly bakery tours, monthly cookie sales and sales sharing nights with local organizations, and annual partnership with the Christmas Angels program.


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TEX A S 3 60 The cookie sales provide non-profit groups an opportunity to educate guests about their cause while raising funds for their group. An iced cookie shape is created that conveys each group’s cause. Blue Baker sells these cookies for one week and donate all profits from the iced cookies sold that week to the group. In 2016, Blue Baker partnered with local organizations in Austin and College Station, including: The Breast Cancer Resource Centers of Texas, The Pink Alliance, Books & a Blanket, Lemonade Day, Bryan ISD Education Foundation, The Salvation Army, The Big Event, Fish Camp, Junior League of Brazos County, and many other groups. The Backyard Grill (Houston, TX): The Backyard Grill is involved with several charitable organizations, but Cy Hope is the main charity to which they devote their time, talent and treasure. Each year they host the BYG BASH Golf Tourney and all proceeds go to Cy Hope. Over the past five years they have donated more than $60,000 from this event. Staff participates in a Backpack program which delivers food to economically disadvantaged children each week. They are also a main sponsor in the Cy Hope Larry Dierker Celebrity Golf Tournament. The Backyard Grill donates 10,000 meals each year to the children of Cy Fair ISD for recognition and awards. Each spring The Backyard Grill sell thousands of dollars in raffle tickets to help the Cy Fair Educational Foundation - which raises money to provide over $300,000 in scholarships each year to high school seniors in our school district. Find more information and stories from all winning applicants click here.

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! n io t a r t is g e r r o f Now open TRA Marketplace – July 9-10 Dallas, Texas (Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center) The Texas Restaurant Association is here to support and protect the restaurant industry. We lobby at the Capitol to best serve our restaurateurs and their establishments. We’re here to make a difference to our members and their customers. Each year we host thousands of industry professionals for a twoday celebration of products and services, networking, education and training. With industry sales of $52.4 billion, more than 1.2 million employees and over 43,600 restaurants, Texas is one of the hottest growth markets for our industry. Dallas, where TRA Marketplace is held this year, is ranked 11th in national job growth boasting more than 12,000 restaurants and eateries. Whether scoring a deal on new equipment or replacing your POS systems restauranteurs attend TRA Marketplace for one reason: to improve their bottom line. Come sit in on some of our more popular sessions and meet your next favorite solution for your restaurant! REGISTER NOW!


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TEX A S 3 60 FEATURED TRA MARKETPLACE SESSIONS: The Restaurant Formula Gerry O’Brion Marketing Speaker & Branding Expert Gerry’s Restaurant Formula helps companies grow using strategies from billion dollar brands. His simple process helps companies attract their ideal customers, regardless of their budget. [more] Shifting Latino Consumer Habits Donna Hood Crecca Associate Principal, Technomic Learn how acculturated Latinos are shifting their food consumption habits, in some cases to the detriment of old school Hispanic products.  Latino food manufacturers and importers have relied on less acculturated shoppers’ continued loyalty and that is eroding with more U.S. born Hispanics. [more] A Company of Owners: Developing a Team of Top Performers and Keeping Them Daren Martin, PhD Learn more about effective, cutting-edge recruiting and hiring tactics, robust training for multigenerational staff, incentive and bonus programs to drive your top line and employee engagement. [more]

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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 ACCEPTED EVERYWHERE IN TEXAS

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


State Finals


Energy was high and competition fierce at the 2017 Texas ProStart Invitational Competitions at Collin County College in Frisco, and Cedar Ridge High School in Round Rock, hosted by the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation (TRAEF). The largest ProStart program in the country, parents, friends, instructors and volunteers gathered to watch more than 340 students, a total of 103 teams, compete for the opportunity to go to State Finals March 24-25 at St. Philip’s College in San Antonio.

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COMMU N I T Y NEWS A total of 24 teams advanced, 12 culinary and 12 restaurant management. Once at state finals, only one team in each category will get the chance to compete the National ProStart Invitational, April 2830 in Charleston, South Carolina.


Winning teams (Frisco Invitational):


1st: Frisco Career & Technical Education Center

2nd: Academy of Culinary Arts and Hospitality at Byron Nelson High School

3rd: Royse City High School

4th: Poteet High School

5th: Brewer High School

6th: North Mesquite High School

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1st: Ben Barber Innovation Academy

2nd: Frisco Career & Technical Education Center

3rd: Whitehouse High School

4th: Royse City High School

5th: Trimble Technical

6th: John Horn High School

Now in its eighth year, Texas ProStart, is an industry-based culinary arts and hospitality program and curriculum. Teams compete in restaurant management or culinary. Culinary teams must demonstrate knife skills, and develop a three-course menu, which they prepare in 60 minutes. Judges evaluate teams on creativity, plate presentation, taste, professionalism, safety and sanitation.

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Feasibility • Business Plans • TABC Turn-Arounds • Local Store Marketing New Store Openings • New Construction Remodels • P&L • Menu Development Training Manuals • Legendary Service CALL FOR YOUR INITIAL FREE CONSULTATION

Henry Dominguez, President & CEO


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#TRAEF #TXProStart #TRAMarketpalace #TABCToGo No proctored exam. Take the course and exam online and receive your certification. Accepted by all local health departments in Texas


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COMMUNIT Y NE W S Management teams must present a business proposal for a new restaurant concept that includes a defined concept, supporting menu and marketing plan. Teams prepare a written proposal and verbal presentation. They are tested on critical thinking skills by reacting to potential management challenges.


Winning teams (Round Rock Invitational):

1st: John Marshall High School

2nd: Rockwall High School

3rd: Miller Career & Technical Center

4th: Glenda Dawson High School

5th: Round Rock High School

6th: Sam Rayburn High School

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1st: Porter High School

2nd: Glenda Dawson High School

3rd: Cleveland High School

4th: Waxahachie High School

5th: Chapel Hill High School

6th: Allen High School

The 2017 Texas ProStart Invitational sponsors include Texas Beef Council, Ben E. Keith Foodservice, Revention, ECOLAB, Auto-Chlor, Les Dames d’Escoffier and BJ’s Restaurant. Interested in volunteering at State Finals? Check out all the opportunities here.


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COMMUNIT Y NE W S NEW TECHNOLOGY EASES REPORTING BURDENS ON RESTAURANT OPERATORS TEXAS RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION PARTNERS WITH SAFETY KICK An exciting, new partnership between the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) and Safety Kick, a cutting-edge technology company will save restaurants time and money by streamlining workplace reporting using a tablet or cell phone. A key challenge in the restaurant industry is keeping up with increasing reporting requirements - from internal incident reports, to OSHA regulations, to local agencies. Manual data entry, along with filing and storing antiquated hard copy forms is expensive, time consuming, inefficient, and cumbersome for restaurants regardless of size, especially for owners/operators who are already spread thin. Listening to members and hearing the need for a solution, TRA sought the expertise of Safety Kick, whose technology has been proven in other industries with heavy reporting requirements of all types, such as oil and gas, as well as construction.

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COMMU N I T Y NEWS “The beauty of this technology is that it allows operators to be ‘hands on’ even when they aren’t there,” says Richie Jackson, CEO of TRA. “You can’t be everywhere at once. If a multi-unit operator is at a different location or if an independent operator has a night off and something happens – such as a slip and fall, or trouble with an intoxicated patron, Safety Kick gives you the ability to immediately document the details of the incident as if you were on premise. It even gives you the option to add photos and witness statements, which helps protect both management and employees. We think restaurateurs will find this application invaluable.” Reporting options are varied and fully-customizable and can include OSHA, inventory reports, timesheets, food service and management checklists, incidents reports, employee evaluations and many others. “We really appreciate the customization and being able to tailor it to our specific needs. We haven’t found any other product that does that,” says Sinks McLarty, Director of Operations for the popular Palazzo’s in Houston. “It is especially helpful when you have people working at more than one store. The reports are organized and much more uniform.” Orlando Arriaga is the owner of Austin’s legendary Taco Shack, and has incorporated Safety Kick into his daily operations. “In this age of technology, you can’t have enough tools in your toolbox to help run your business. My experience with Safety Kick has been highly beneficial and a great help to maintain costs.” “This is an exciting opportunity to put Safety Kick’s expertise to work to help Texas restaurants,” says James Ehrlich, President of


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COMMUNIT Y NE W S WATCH NOW Safety Kick Overview

Safety Kick. “We’re thrilled about being selected as a TRA Preferred Partner. Restaurants face the same labor intensive, expensive and time consuming reporting requirements

as many other industries. Feedback from our restaurant clients has been tremendous and we look forward to a mutually beneficial and collaborative long term partnership with TRA.” The application is compatible with both Android and iOS (iPhone and iPad) platforms. Among its many features, it allows users to complete and submit required health and safety forms immediately at the scene of an incident, from cell phones or tablets with a date stamp, location (GPS) and signature, in real time. It also allows for the inclusion of photographs and the option of management or supervisor review or approval. Digital recordkeeping ensures accuracy and compliance, and eliminates the traditional pitfalls of manual entry, such as hard to read handwriting, erroneous reporting, faded or damaged records, lost or missing reports and the need for storage space. Special discounts are available for TRA members. For more information, visit

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New Faces at TRA

Director of Membership – Kate Renk Katherine is a producer, examining every aspect of a situation and improving it to meet any goal set before her. She attended the University of Missouri – Columbia, majoring in communication with minors in English and digital media and began her career in association management. Working with four different International trade organizations as membership director and special events coordinator, she went on to work with a member organization creating the corporate sales division of ICG America Inc., which brought her to Austin. She lives the true Austin lifestyle, attending festivals, dining out, obsessing over college football, listening to live music, hiking, biking and boating with her labradoodle puppy Bodhi. Overall, Katherine is a highly engaged and positive team player with strong client/ member focus. She is motivated to deliver exceptional sales results by developing, cultivating and supervising business relationships at all organizational levels. VP of Marketing and Innovation – Anna Tauzin Anna’s most recent experience was as Marketing Director, Innovation & Entrepreneurial Services for the National Restaurant Association in Washington, D.C. While at the NRA, she was responsible for numerous marketing and innovation programs, including Startup Alley


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COMMUNIT Y NE W S at the NRA Show, the Restaurant Innovation Summit, and the Silicon Valley Tech Tour. In her role at the Texas Restaurant Association, Anna will lead the evolution of the association’s sponsorship and marketing strategies, focusing on marketing membership and partner products to improve member value and association revenue. Additionally, Anna is driven to bring more restaurant technology to the state of Texas with unique partnerships and innovative programming. She loves the local restaurant scene and some her favorites include Uchi, Taco Deli, Hoover’s, and Fixe. At home, her hobbies include baking, hiking, exploring small towns, visiting craft breweries with her husband (he’s the head brewer at New Braunfels Brewing Company), and volunteering. Anna earned her Master of Arts in Journalism from American University, and her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Political Science from Texas State University. Executive Director, Greater Dallas Restaurant Association – Andrew Rittler Andy has 15+ years of experience in a variety of industries. He has worked for a number of elected officials, including a senior US Senator from Texas. He helped guide the communications guidelines the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) currently uses for large highway projects. Andy’s extensive background in communications and public relations will help the organization on many levels.  Andy currently resides in McKinney with his two children Sam, 10 and Lyla, 8. He has a B.A in Political Sciences and Communications.

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COMMU N I T Y NEWS UPDATED VERSION OF FORM I-9 The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently released an updated version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, found here. The new Form I-9 became mandatory on January 22, 2017, replacing the previous version dated March 8, 2013. Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States, which includes citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form. Under federal immigration law, employers must maintain a properly completed Form I-9 for all employees hired in the U.S. after Nov. 6, 1986. It is important to use the correct form and complete it accurately, especially in light of recently-increased civil penalty rates for errors and omissions, or “paperwork violations.� Last year, the U.S. Departments of Justice (DOJ), Homeland Security (DHS)


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COMMUNIT Y NE W S and Labor (DOL) announced higher civil fines (nearly double) against employers who commit immigration-related offenses, including Form I-9. The new penalties went into effect on August 1 of last year and apply to violations occurring after The new Form I-9 contains a number of new features - a separate November 2, 2015. instruction sheet, and a handy “electronic” version that includes The new Form I-9 contains drop-down menus and pop ups, which can go a long way to help a number of new features - a ensure accuracy. separate instruction sheet, and a handy “electronic” version that includes drop-down menus and pop ups, which can go a long way to help ensure accuracy. Though convenient, the e-version cannot be submitted online. Other changes include (but are not limited to): ADVE RTISING INDE X 1. Clarification of the “other names used” field TEXAS MUTUAL....................................... 8 in Section to request only “other last names UNITED HEALTHCARE.........................22 used” and the numbering of immigration TRA HALL OF HONOR.........................24 status categories in Section 1; HEARTLAND...........................................28 TRA ADVISORY NETWORK..................30 2. Additional details regarding the preparer/ REVENTION............................................ 31 translator category, including the ability to TEXAS PROSTART INVITATIONAL...... 35 select multiple preparers/translators; SERVSAFE................................................42 3. A designated area to enter additional information that previously needed to be entered as a margin note, such as the autoextension of an individual’s work-authorized status, where applicable; For more detailed reading on the updated Form I9, please visit one of the resource links below, or contact TRA General Counsel, Kenneth Besserman.


TRAEF PRESIDENT’S CIRCLE..............54 TRA MARKETPLACE..............................56

For advertising information contact Communications at

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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!

This is the place to do business and become a better restaurateur. Registration now open! | 800.395.2872 |

Join us!

Moving Beyond Farm to Fork | Restaurantville magazine Winter 2017  
Moving Beyond Farm to Fork | Restaurantville magazine Winter 2017