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Changes to New York State Unemployment Insurance

January 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

New York State just enacted a major reform of the unemployment insurance program.  The reforms include the following:

  • Wage Base. Employers pay Unemployment Insurance contributions on each employee’s earnings up to a certain threshold called the wage base.
  • The wage base will be adjusted on January 1 of each year with the 2014 wage base being set at $ 10,300.  in addition, the six lowest tax rates

are being eliminated.  the

 

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by Donna

A guide to choosing commercial washroom design and bathroom partition materials.

January 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

When designing a washroom, there are several partition materials that can be used, each with its own strong point, depending on its particular application.
 
The least expensive option is a product composed of baked enamel painted steel over a paper honeycomb core. Usually, this is the type of partition that you would find in schools, office buildings, some restaurants and religious facilities. This option comes in a huge variety of colors and can be painted to match just about any decor you choose. Initial cost savings with this type of partition does, however, come with a downside. The life expectancy of the enamel painted steel partitions can be limited by rust due to exposure to moisture. At Young Equipment Sales, we offer one option that comes with a perma-seal edge. This product is produced by the Bradley-Mills company, comes in 18 different colors, and carries a 15 year warranty.  In addition to rust, graffiti, scratches, and impact damage are other issues to consider with the enamel painted steel products.
 
Another option often preferred by architects, is solid phenolic core. This is a dense, very compressed product, which is made up of layers of material in a resin matrix, similar to the construction of fiberglass. This material is highly impact, and scratch resistant, and is a great choice for schools. To strengthen this option even further, we recommend full length mounting brackets. Solid Phenolic Core partitions can be fabricated in any color or finish from Formica, Wilson Art or Trespa, including wood or speckled pattern choices, making it idea for blending with overall design. This option has a cost factor of 1.6-2.4 over baked enamel steel, and is susceptible to paint or ink graffiti, but the variety of finishes, edges, colors and overall durability can make up for that difference in cost.
 
Solid plastic, or high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic partitions are yet another option you may consider for your washroom design. This material is 1” thick, solid throughout, and is highly graffiti, scratch, mold and mildew resistant, making it a common choice for schools, restaurants, and hospitals. The material is highly durable, particularly when used with continuous wall brackets. Young Equipment Sales offers HDPE partitions from a company called Comtec Scranton, a leader in the industry, and they offer over 20 different colors and textures, including designer colors, making them an easy fit for any design concept. These style of partitions come with our industry leading 15 year warranty.
 Yet another product choice for bathroom partition design is stainless steel. This material has a higher cost factor than the plastic or steel coated options, and you may have seen them used in hotels, sports clubs, and higher end establishments. The strongest points for stainless steel are the look, and the durability you get with the product. This product looks very clean and modern, and is available in classic brushed steel, stipple, faux leather or even diamond plate finish. This material is steel over a wood core, so it is highly impact resistant. With continuous brackets, this material will last an extremely long time. On the down side, this material shows smudges and fingerprints easily, particularly on the brushed finish, so regular cleaning is a must.
 
The final material we’ll discuss here is a fairly new material solid color reinforced composite (SCRC.) This material is commonly found in high traffic areas such as schools, municipalities, train stations, or any other area which will receive a heavy amount of traffic. SCRC has the durability of the solid phenolic core material, but it is solid throughout, making it much easier to repair scratches and gouge marks.  It is one of the most durable and graffiti resistant materials on the market today. Graffiti is very easy to remove from this material, leaving behind no ghosting. On the downside, this material currently has a limited color selection, and has a higher cost point than either solid plastic or stainless steel. There are only 4 colors available at the moment, but these are neutral shades that will blend into most design schemes without an issue. Even with limited color choice and the higher price point, the durability of this product is a big plus, and once installed with full length stainless steel brackets, this is a partition that will last a lifetime.

For more information or help in choosing your bathroom partitions please visit Young Equipment Sales at www.theyesexperience.com
or call: (631) 870-0934

2014 Minimum Wage Increase and Other DOL News

January 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

New York State recently enacted several changes to its wage and labor laws. Some of these changes may have a significant impact on the hospitality industry.

First, New York State has increased its minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.00. This change is effective 1/1/2014. That is not all. The minimum wage is scheduled to further increase to $8.75 in 2015, and $9.00 in 2016.

ATTENTION HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY: Wage and Hour Workshop on 11/21/13

November 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

It’s no secret that the Department of Labor has achieved large settlements resulting from audits of restaurants, amusement parks and catering establishments. Join three hospitality industry experts as they present a seminar on hospitality-specific topics: Review of current wage and hour regulations to help reduce exposure to expensive litigation, payroll related cost control, and how to engage your employees to be more productive and increase revenue for your business. Don’t miss this critical seminar!

Speaker I – Alan B. Pearl, PMP

Topic: Wage and Hour Compliance

  • Tipped employees’ minimum wage
  • Tip credits
  • Coming changes to minimum wage laws
  • Wage deductions and advances

Speaker II – Bob Arnold, Jr., Arnold Standard

Topic: Payroll-Related Cost Control Services

  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit
  • Unemployment Insurance Cost Control
  • Unemployment Insurance Reform
  • Workers’ Compensation Board Penalties

Speaker III – Gigi Cohen, www.foodandbeveragepeople.com

Topic: Employee Engagement

  • Why engaging your employees is critical to your business
  • How to drive more business by optimizing your workforce
  • How to create positive, customer-centered behavior

For more information, and to register, please click here.

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by Donna

Disease Kills Shrimp, Pushes Prices Higher. What should we expect in the near future?

October 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

Asia is fighting a new disease that has reduced shrimp output in Thailand as much as 40%, driving prices higher for the U.S.  The disease appeared in Thailand, the world’s largest shrimp exporter, late last year after ravaging stocks in China in 2009 and then in Vietnam.  With production plunging, shrimp prices will continue to increase as there will be no fix for 2013 and the scarcity is real.

What does this mean for supply?

Asian block shrimp and Mexican shrimp are in greater supply currently as the Mexican season for wild caught shrimp opened in September. This will be the option for the remainder of 2013 and beginning of 2014.

Asian packers have been noted as holding off selling shrimp to importers in order to get the highest price for product and China continues to be a huge issue in supply, buying up all the available inventory so expect to see continued rises in cost.

So What happened to the shrimp?

A disease commonly called EMS (Early Mortality Syndrome) causes the shrimp to die within their first 30 days of life.  The new official name is however called AHPNS- Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Syndrome which is a degeneration of the digestive gland.  This particular disease can occur during any stage of the life cycle and is not species specific. 

The bacteria is transmitted orally and colonizes along the digestive tract of the shrimp and with a combination of the Vibrio Parahaemolyticus strain and the bacteria naturally found in the digestive tract of the shrimp, toxins form and kill the shrimp. 

Take note that this only occurs in Farm Raised Shrimp so researchers are currently pursuing alternatives and solutions to preventing this problem in the future.  

 

 

 

 

 

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by Donna

Food Pricing; What to expect this week.

September 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

Attention LIDA members and fellow independent operators:

This time of year we can ususally expect and predict  rising costs to items like chicken wings, however the next few weeks you can also expect there to not only be rising costs but difficulty in attaining items such as blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Lemons are expected to go as high as $60 per case with limes and oranges to follow suit.  

SALMON-  relief in the price on all sizes and cuts due to scottland sending massive amounts of fish to the u.s

SHRIMP- continues to soar with no relief in sight until spring !

SNAPPER-Pick of the week!!  Consisitant, Low Prices !

 

Plan accordingly, adjust wherever possible…we will keep you posted! 

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by Donna

Hot Appetizers for the Fall Season

September 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

So what is proving to be the hottest appetizer trend of 2013?  POTATOES!  That’s right, potatoes.  Here are a few “outside the fry” ideas that are bringing in the customers while increasing your profit margins.

1)  Irish Nachos – A spin on a classic favorite that takes sliced potatoes, covers them in cheese and then tops them off  with bacon, scallions & sour cream

2)  Create your own baked potato – Guests customize their potatoes with vegetables, cheeses, meat and sauces.  Vegetables and herbs such as scallions, cilantro, broccoli, corn, garlic and a seasonal mix are free, along with up to two cheeses. Additional cheeses are $1.00 each. Proteins includingchicken,  bacon, steak, shrimp and egg range from $1 for an egg to $3.50 for steak.

3)  House made Tator Tots  – All different sizes, flavors and dipping sauces make this comfort food a guaranteed customer favorite.

4)  Sweet Potato Fritters -  The consumption of Sweet Potatoes continue to increase annually by nearly 10%  this time of year.  A Sweet potato fritter with a maple bourbon dipping sauce is the perfect taste of fall on a plate.

5)  Bacon Wrapped Potato Bites with Spicy Sour Cream – Like a deconstructed potato skin these bites are easy to make, absolutely delicious and of course…profitable!

 

 

 

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by Donna

IRS Rule Change On Automatic Tips To Hit Restaurant and Hospitality Companies in 2014

September 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Beginning next year, the IRS will start classifying and treating the automatic gratuities typically added to the checks for larger parties at restaurants, catering halls, hotels, etc. as wages, subject to reporting and withholding. The original IRS ruling was made in June, 2012, but the IRS put off implementation until January 1, 2014.

 

 

Here is a link to the IRS revenue ruling.

 

The change would mean substantially more paperwork and added costs for the restaurants and other hospitality establishments-and a potential financial hit for waiters and waitresses who live on their tips but don’t always report them fully.

 

Here is a link to a Wall street Journal article on the new rules.

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by Donna

Why Are Chicken Wings So Expensive? Ask McDonald’s.

September 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

When McDonald’s (MCD) introduces a new menu item, the entire food industry feels it. The company added apples to its menu and became one of the country’s largest apple buyers. It put cucumbers on its new McWrap and now expects to buy 6 million pounds of cukes this year.

Now Mighty Wings are coming back. From Sept. 9 through November, McDonald’s is expected to sell a grand total of 250 million wings, and some analysts say McD’s wing-buying spree for this promotion last year drove up wholesale prices.

Wedbush analyst Nick Setyan says McDonald’s probably started stockpiling wings about 18 months ago, which diminished supply. In late 2011, the Georgia dock wholesale price of chicken wings started rising from 90¢ to more than $2 per pound earlier this year, an increase that got passed along at the supermarket. Prices have since fallen to about $1.46 per pound. Steyan believes it will be hard for McDonald’s to make wings a permanent menu item, as the company may have underestimated its own impact on the wing market.

It’s not just wings, either. The wholesale price of boneless chicken breast has climbed 24 percent since March, an increase Sanderson Farms Chief Executive Joe Sanderson Jr. attributes to rising demand from fast-food restaurants. McDonald’s, for instance, introduced the McWrap this spring.

Setyan cites avocados as another example of fast food’s impact on food prices.

McDonald’s declined to comment on any possible impact it’s had on food prices. Spokeswoman Ofelia Casillas says in an e-mail: “We manage our grocery bill like a portfolio and use a customized approach for every commodity. Commodities vary year to year and it is business as usual for us in that space.”

As it stands, wings are a volatile commodity. “Birds only have two wings, so there is already a somewhat limited supply,” says Tom Super, a spokesman for the National Chicken Council. Farmers typically raise chickens for breast meat, he said. “It is not economically feasible for companies to raise birds just for the wings.”

Wing prices typically start to rise during football season, beginning in September, and peak around the Super Bowl, Super says. While wing prices have come down from last football season’s high, the new season is just getting started.

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by Donna

Employers Health Care Exchange Notification Required by October 1, 2013

August 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Employers Health Care Exchange Notification Required by October 1, 2013

On May 8, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance on the Notice to Employees of Coverage Options regarding the Health Insurance Marketplace (Exchange). The release also announced an updated model election notice that plans must provide to inform departing employees about continued health care coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).

Employers are required to provide current workers the notice by October 1, 2013. The notice must be provided automatically, free of charge, and written in language that the average employee can understand. It may be provided by first class mail or electronically if the requirements of the DOL’S electronic disclosures safer harbor are met.

Under the new guidance, beginning no later than October 1, 2013, employers must provide the exchange notice to each new employee at the time of hiring. For 2014, the DOL will consider a notice to have been timely delivered if it’s provided within 14 days of an employee’s start.

The notice must inform the employee of three things:

  • Inform each employee of the existence of state or federal health benefits exchanges.
  • Inform each employee that if the employer plan’s share of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under the plan is less than 60 percent, then the employee may be eligible for a federal premium tax credit if the employee purchases a qualified health plan through an exchange.
  • Include a statement informing the employee that if he or she purchases a qualified health plan through a Marketplaces/Exchange, then the employee may lose the employer contribution to any health benefits plan offered by the employer and that all or a portion of such contribution may be excludable from income for Federal income tax purposes.

A group health plan must provide employees and dependents that become eligible for COBRA with an election notice, which describes their rights to continuation coverage and how to make the election. The election notice must be provided to the qualified beneficiaries within 14 days after the plan administrator receives the notice of a qualifying event. The language of such notices has been updated for changes under the new health care law.

Please contact your Benefits Brokerage Firm or Healthcare provider for sample notifications.