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Business owners can reduce operating costs by evaluating energy expenses. A new report, Best Practices: Electricity Procurement, discusses the major impact that electricity costs have on middle-market operating budgets. View the report for information and best practices regarding how to select the right electricity supplier, what to consider before signing a contract, and which hidden items impact your final electricity bill. You can also benchmark your energy usage and costs, and become better equipped to make smart energy-related decisions. View the report. 
Jason Dangle, Fishbowl SM3 Team It happens to every restaurant at some point. A bad day has led to a displeased guest. In the old days, you might have to deal with negative word of mouth. But, with the rise of websites like Yelp, a bad review can have a boomerang effect, impacting the bottom line of a restaurant substantially over time. Fishbowl’s SM3 team works with restaurants every day to alleviate the damage a bad review can create. Over time, they’ve developed a system of best practices to give you the confidence to deal with harsh criticism. We sat down with SM3...
Tony Ventre, Heartland Restaurant Solutions Insights For restaurateurs, mobile payment acceptance solutions are giving new meaning to the saying “think outside the box.”  By transforming smartphones and tablets into mobile point-of-sale systems and providing the freedom to accept credit/debit/gift card payments from anywhere at any time, mobile payments enable you to take your business beyond your four walls. With the use of mobile payments, many restaurateurs are taking advantage of untapped sales opportunities. Consider utilizing mobile technology to facilitate...
Julie Jargon, Wall Street Journal Gratuities Added for Larger Groups Will Be Taxed as Service Charges   An updated tax rule is causing restaurants to rethink the practice of adding automatic tips to the tabs of large parties. Starting in January, the Internal Revenue Service will begin classifying those automatic gratuities as service charges—which it treats as regular wages, subject to payroll tax withholding—instead of tips, which restaurants leave up to the employees to report as income. The change would mean more paperwork and added costs for the restaurants—...
Michelle Basch, WTOP Nearly a year and a half after Montgomery County's 5-cent bag tax took effect, a public hearing was held Tuesday night to consider possible tweaks. A bill being considered by the Montgomery County Council would scale back the tax so it only applies to food stores. A food store would be defined as any retail store where food makes up more than 2 percent of gross sales by dollar value. The bill would make takeout food bags exempt from the tax.   Read more: http://www.wtop.com/41/3362788/Exemptions-proposed-to-Montgomery-Countys-bag-tax  
When Is a Tip Just a Tip?                                                                                    Tipping in the hospitality industry is considered the normal course of business.  However, the IRS considers tipping, in certain situations, to be taxed differently through payroll.  Employers in this industry now need to be diligent in their recordkeeping.  ...
You ask and we answer. The following questions and answers are a result of responses we received from the earlier round of FAQs. Health Care FAQ's For Restaurants My restaurant has fewer than 50 employees and I offer insurance but only to my senior staff. Since we’re under 50 and exempt from the employer health care mandate, can we continue to offer to only some of our staff? There are five restaurants trading under the same name in our group but each restaurant was set up individually with a different mix of...
Below you will find an FAQ session that will help update you on the health care mandate. We would like to continue with frequent updates based on what you need and want to know. So please, send us your questions for the next FAQ session to betsy@ramw.org:   Health Care FAQ's For Restaurants Will all restaurants have to offer health benefits to their employees? What are my options for offering health care to my employees? Am I OK with the insurance I have now? I have restaurants in DC, Virginia and Maryland...
Scott Attman, Acme Paper & Supply Co. for Franchise Times Now that the Federal Trade Commission’s new Green Guides are in effect, restaurant industry and other franchisors can expect big changes in several elements of their business. For starters, marketers who pitch products as environmentally friendly have to back up their claims or face fines. If the FTC finds product marketing misleading, it will begin filing suits against the companies in question, just as it does for health claims made by food manufacturers. Precise verbiage in product descriptions will be important...

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