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Operating a restaurant involves a lot of moving parts – most controlled by you, but many controlled by laws, regulations, licenses and permits. Alcoholic beverages, food safety, labor practices and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (the healthcare mandate) are significant – and then there is everything else.

Get to know the regulatory agencies that govern such things as sidewalk cafes, signage, noise, fire safety and more. And, get to know about the efforts being made by RAMW on your behalf to improve the regulatory environment.

IRS Rule Leads Restaurants to Rethink Automatic Tips

September 4, 2013
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—and a...

Exemptions Proposed to Montgomery County's Bag Tax

June 30, 2013
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:

When Is a Tip Just a Tip?

June 3, 2013
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. Here are some quick tips on how to differentiate employees’ tip income: · All reported cash tips totaling $20 or more in a calendar month are taxable income. · When a tip is a voluntary from a customer patronizing your business and the amount is determined by the customer, it is truly considered...

How to Respond to a Negative Review

October 1, 2013
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 veteran...

D.C. food trucks lobbying to change outdated 'ice cream truck rules'

September 17, 2012
By J.D. Harrison , Washington Post, Capital Business September 17, 2012 Washington’s food truck owners will soon operate under an improved tax system, but they are still waiting for the city to approve additional changes to long-standing regulations they say were meant for old-fashioned ice cream trucks and make life unnecessarily complicated for today’s mobile vendors. Starting next month, food trucks will charge and file the same 10 percent sales tax as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, a popular alternative to the current system, by which licensed vendors on every truck pay...Read more

Comment period on vending regulations ends: Businesses, including restaurants, raise serious and sub

February 29, 2012
Comment period onvending regulations ends: Businesses, including restaurants, raise serious andsubstantive concerns about proposed regulations WASHINGTON, DC (March 1,2012) – Today marked the end of a nearly 6 week period during which theDepartment of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) accepted commentsconcerning proposed regulations to govern vending, including food trucks, inthe District of Columbia. Over 70 restaurant operators employing over 6,500area residents expressed concerns about the proposed regulations, principallyabout a provision that allows food trucks to operate,...Read more

Food Trucks In Other Cities

February 7, 2012
Food Trucks In Other Cities February 8, 2012 Below are interesting pieces from other cities. Thearticle from Austin is particularly interesting in that, even with restrictionsagainst trucks in CBDs and elsewhere, they were looking to have over 1,600trucks by the end of 2011. Austin is a little bigger than DC but not by much,so the continued and growing popularity of the trucks says a lot about sensiblepublic space management not hampering their business. CURRENT FOOD TRUCK VENDING REGULATIONS Baltimore 1.) No food truckvending is allowed within the "downtown area," meaning Martin...Read more

Report of the Acting General Counsel Concerning Social Media Cases

January 26, 2012
THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD Report of the Acting General Counsel Concerning Social Media Cases This report presents recent case developments arising in the context of today’s social media. Social media include various online technology tools that enable people to communicate easily via the internet to share information and resources. These tools can encompass text, audio, video, images, podcasts, and other multimedia communications. Recent developments in the Office of the General Counsel have presented emerging issues concerning the protected and/or concerted nature of employees...Read more

Arlington County Board dives into work for 2012

January 4, 2012
The Washington Post Arlington County Board dives into work for 2012 By Patricia Sullivan, Published: January 2 While most of the Washington area did whatever it does on a day when nearly everything is closed, the Arlington County Board claimed bragging rights Monday as the first local government to get to work in 2012. It’s a tradition fulfilled by appointments, calendar-setting and speeches. In the hour-long meeting at the noticeably empty county building, all four board members took advantage, touting the virtues of the urban-suburban county, from affordable housing to free mulch...Read more

2011 DC Sales Tax law change notices

December 1, 2011
2011 DC Sales Tax law change notices effective October 1, 2011 Please click links below for important tax law changes: Security Services • Cigarettes • Parking • Alcoholic BeveragesRead more