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by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Canada’s Single-use Plastics Ban

How Canada’s Single-use Plastics Ban Affects Operators

by David Klemt

Single-use plastic straws and utensils

With a few exceptions, Canada’s ban on the manufacture, importation, and sale of single-use plastics is now officially in effect.

However, that doesn’t mean restaurant and bar operators need to worry about current inventories just yet. While the Single-use Plastics Prohibition Regulations are in effect, operators have a year to deplete their stocks.

SUPPR is a crucial element of Canada’s overall plan to combat pollution and reach a goal of zero plastic waste by 2030. The single-use plastics ban was announced in June of this year.

“We promised Canadians we would deliver a ban on single-use plastics. Today, that’s exactly what we’ve done,” said Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault the day SUPPR was announced. “By the end of the year, you won’t be able to manufacture or import these harmful plastics. After that, businesses will begin offering the sustainable solutions Canadians want, whether that’s paper straws or reusable bags. With these new regulations, we’re taking a historic step forward in reducing plastic pollution, and keeping our communities and the places we love clean.

Now, six months later, it’s the law of the land.

What’s Banned?

Essentially, Canadian operators must evaluate everything they use for delivery and takeout or pickup. If any items are single-use plastic, they must be gone by December 2023.

Per SUPPR, the manufacture, importation, and sale of the following is prohibited:

  • Checkout bags designed to carry purchased goods from a business and typically given to a customer at the retail point of sale.
  • Cutlery includes:
    • knives
    • forks
    • spoons
    • sporks
    • chopsticks
  • Foodservice ware designed for serving or transporting food or beverage that is ready to be consumed, and that:
    • contains
      • expanded polystyrene foam
      • extruded polystyrene foam
      • polyvinyl chloride
      • carbon black
      • an oxo-degradable plastic
    • are limited to the following items
      • clamshell containers
      • lidded containers
      • boxes
      • cups
      • plates
      • bowls
  • Ring carriers are flexible and designed to surround beverage containers in order to carry them together.
  • Stir sticks designed to stir or mix beverages, or to prevent a beverage from spilling from the lid of its container.
  • Straws include:
    • straight drinking straws, and
    • flexible straws, which have a corrugated section that allows the straw to bend, packaged with beverage containers (juice boxes and pouches)

For accuracy, the above comes from the Government of Canada website directly, unedited.

What does this mean for Operators?

Again, operators in Canada don’t need to toss their current stock of the above items.

However, Restaurants Canada does recommend that operators contact suppliers and customers if they import, export, or sell prohibited items currently.

The single most important thing for operators to do now is research single-use plastic alternatives. Items need testing as changes will affect F&B items and the guest experience.

Of course, it’s possible an operator’s current supplier already offers alternatives to single-use plastics. That could prove convenient but costs, supply chain reliability, and impact on menu items need careful consideration.

Sustainability and responsible practices are no longer just conversation topics within the industry. As of this week, in Canada, they’re the only way forward.

Image: Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Merchants Support Credit Card Act

100s of Merchants Support Credit Card Competition Act

by David Klemt

Customer paying via Square terminal

Perhaps at least somewhat unsurprisingly, support for the Credit Card Competition Act is growing rapidly among merchants.

In fact, 1,802 merchants are making their position on the bill clear. Those hundreds of merchants drafted, signed, and set a letter to the House and Senate.

The crux of that letter? To tell our lawmakers to support and pass the Credit Card Competition Act.

To view the letter, sent by the Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC), please click here. For the bill and its status, follow this link.

The Credit Card Competition Act: A Quick Summary

According to the MPC, credit and debit card transactions just in the US reached $3.49 trillion in 2021. Along with those transactions came $77.48 billion in merchant fees—just for Visa and MasterCard.

Why call those out those two processors in particular? Well, it’s because they’re behind about 576 million credit cards. Oh, and they also control 87 percent of the processing market.

In the span of just one decade, Visa and MasterCard swipe fees have risen 137 percent. So, it’s not surprising that merchants are supportive of the Credit Card Competition Act.

There are, indeed, restaurant and hospitality groups attached to the MPC’s letter to Congress. Taking a quick glance, Denny’s franchisees, Dutchman Hospitality Group, and Mandalay Hospitality Group are among the signees.

Obviously, this makes sense—swipe fees are among the highest costs operators face every day.

Where’s this Bill Currently?

It shouldn’t be too shocking to find that this has yet to make much progress. The bill’s sponsors, Sens. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Marshall (R-KS), introduced it in the senate at the end of July.

Three months later, October 28, an attempt was made to include the bill in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). For those who are unfamiliar, the NDAA is known as a “must-pass” bill. After all, it specifies the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) budget and expenditures each year.

Along with a reported 900 other “riders,” Sens. Durbin and Marshall tried to get their bill passed within the NDAA. Unfortunately for the senators and supporters of the bill, the NDAA vote was pushed until the middle of November…which we’re now past.

Of course, the US did just undergo a mid-term election cycle. So, I suppose it’s reasonable to be a bit more patient with the Senate and the progress of this bill.

Those who work in or support our industry can make their opinion of this bill known. Just follow this link to the National Restaurant Association Credit Card Competition Act portal.

Image: Clay Banks on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Bon Appétit Reveals Best New Restaurants

Bon Appétit Reveals the Best New Restaurants in 2022

by David Klemt

Fine dining Ecuadorian dish

Condé Nast’s American food and restaurant publication Bon Appétit identifies the 50 restaurants they deem the very best in 2022.

The intriguing list highlights the consumer desire to try a wide range of global cuisines. Indeed, were one to eat their through Bon Appétit‘s 2022 list, they’d enjoy both traditional and modern:

  • African (notably, Nigerian)
  • Cantonese
  • Caribbean
  • Eastern European (Hungarian, in particular)
  • Filipino
  • French
  • Indian (including Goan and Kashmiri)
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Jewish
  • Korean
  • Laotian
  • Mexican
  • Palestinian
  • Portuguese
  • Vietnamese

Of course, one will also find American cuisine. Of note, Texas barbecue, elements of Memphis barbecue, Low Country, Cajun cooking, and Midwest comfort food. There are also restaurants offering creative takes on traditional steakhouse fare. One restaurant’s focus, The Nicolett in Lubbock, Texas, is High Plains cuisine. (For those wondering, Bon Appétit describes this as “West Texas terroir.”)

This is a compelling list, showing that consumers crave a balance between comfort food and stepping outside of their comfort zones to discover cuisines that are new to them. I encourage everyone to look into these restaurants for inspiration and motivation.

Regional Performance

For simplicity, Bon Appétit arranges their list by dividing the US into four large regions: Midwest, Northeast & Mid-Atlantic, South, and West.

Interestingly, the South claims the most restaurants on this list of the 50 best, earning 17 spots. Northeast & Mid-Atlantic restaurants grab 15 spots, the West takes 12, and the Midwest claims just six.

When it comes to the South, Texas performs the best in terms of number of restaurants on the list. There are two in Austin, and one each in Fort Worth, Garland, Houston, Lubbock, and San Antonio.

However, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana also do well for the South, earning three spots each in the following cities:

  • Miami (2) and North Miami (1)
  • Atlanta (2) and Savannah (1)
  • New Orleans (3)

Unsurprisingly, New York leads the way for the Northeast & Mid-Atlantic region. Drilling down, Brooklyn boasts four of Bon Appétit‘s 50 Best New Restaurants 2022; New York City is the home of three; and one is in Hudson.

Pennsylvania, however, claims three spots, all in Philadelphia.

Equally as foreseeable, California boasts the most restaurants among this list of fifty. Predictably, most are in Los Angeles, which claims three in total. Oakland, San Diego, and San Francisco round out California’s spots with one each. Coming in second in terms of Western states with multiple restaurants on the list is Oregon, with two in Portland.

Unfortunately, the Midwest simply doesn’t perform nearly as well on this year’s list as its counterparts. In fact, it has just half the number of restaurants as the third-place region with six. Cincinnati, Ohio, takes a third of those spots. Surprisingly, Chicago is home to just one restaurant on this list.

The 50 Best New Restaurants

Below you’ll find Bon Appétit‘s list in alphabetical order.

  • Agi’s Counter (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Baba’s Pantry (Kansas City, MO)
  • Bacanora (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Bata (Tucson, AZ)
  • Birdie’s (Austin, TX)
  • Bocadillo Market (Chicago, IL)
  • Bonnie’s (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Cafe Mochiko (Cincinnati, OH)
  • Cafe Mutton (Hudson, NY)
  • Canje (Austin, TX)
  • Common Thread (Savannah, GA)
  • Daru (Washington, DC)
  • Daytrip (Oakland, CA)
  • Dear Annie (Cambridge, MA)
  • Dept. of Culture (Brooklyn, NY)
  • El Rincon del Maiz (Garland, TX)
  • Gage & Tollner (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Good Good Culture Club (San Francisco, CA)
  • Her Place (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Irwin’s (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Juniper Cafe (Atlanta, GA)
  • Kingfisher (San Diego, CA)
  • Korshak Bagels (Philadelphia, PA)
  • La Diabla Pozole y Mezcal (Denver, CO)
  • La Onda (Forth Worth, TX)
  • Lasita (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Lengua Madre (New Orleans, LA)
  • Los Félix (Miami, FL)
  • Lucian Books and Wine (Atlanta, GA)
  • Ma Der Lao Kitchen (Oklahoma City, OK)
  • March (Houston, TX)
  • Mid-City Restaurant (Cincinnati, OH)
  • Mister Mao (New Orleans, LA)
  • Morchella (Portland, OR)
  • The Nicolett (Lubbock, TX)
  • One White Street (New York, NY)
  • Paradis Books & Bread (North Miami, FL)
  • Phởcific Standard Time (Seattle, WA)
  • Quarter Sheets (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Reese Bros Barbecue (San Antonio, TX)
  • Regards (Portland, ME)
  • República (Portland, OR)
  • Seafood Sally’s (New Orleans, LA)
  • Semma (New York, NY)
  • Sozai (Clawson, MI)
  • Sunny’s Steakhouse (Miami, FL)
  • Supperland (Charlotte, NC)
  • Uncle Lou, New York, NY)
  • Yangban Society (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Z&Z Manoushe Bakery (Rockville, MD)

Image: Kiyoshi on Unsplash

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