A virtual cup of coffee with DDIFO Executive Director Ed ShanahanNorth Carolina’s Changing Environment – North Carolina takes a different view of environmental considerations when it comes to rezoning proposals and the jobs it can represent.  Currently, in Charlotte, residents may protest rezoning issues and force a supermajority requirement on the Charlotte City Council.  The legislature however is within one final vote of passing the Create Jobs through Regulatory Reform bill (formerly titled Amend Environmental Laws 2013).  If signed into law, the bill prohibits cities and counties from enacting environmental laws more stringent that the state’s or the federal government’s!

On the Other Side of the Coin – Despite the fact that some trans-fats occur naturally and can be found in a multitude of foods, the Board of Health for the suburban Boston City of Chelsea on a 4-0 vote last week passed an “absolute zero” ban on trans-fats within the City.  The ban is purported to outlaw even “trace amounts” of trans-fats in certain foods.  The original proposal, scheduled to take effect this past January 1, was delayed indefinitely back in late December of 2012. That version applied to bakeries and restaurants, but exempted supermarkets and other sellers of pre-packaged food.  We’ll get more information on implementation of the ban as it becomes available.

Pennsylvania Energy Saving Grants – Dunkin’ franchisees may see a benefit to certain environmental activism and indeed may want to become active.  The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is accepting applications for energy conservation grants of $9500 for certain small businesses in the Keystone State. The Department is currently accepting applications for a share of $1 million in Small Business Advantage Grants for pollution prevention or energy efficiency.  The deadline to apply for the grants is September 6.  Read more details here.

Virtually Touring Caesar’s – In preparation for the DDIFO National Conference at Caesar’s Atlantic City on September 16 – 18, we continue our Virtual Tour of Caesar’s Atlantic City, our National Conference Host Hotel.

Mia – Mia, the venue for our Opening Night Welcome Reception on September 16, is just steps from the registration desk off the lobby at Caesar’s Atlantic City.  Named one of the best restaurants in Atlantic City, Mia features fine Italian dining, an extensive wine list and a lively nightlife scene.

National Conference Registrations – The formal registration process is expected to be opened online to both franchisees and exhibitor/sponsors later next week.  You will be notified via email when the registration center officially opens and will subsequently receive registration materials in the mail as well.  For those of you who intend to sponsor the Conference and exhibit at the Atlantic City event, you can start now by contacting Joan Gould, DDIFO Sponsor Coordinator at 508-422-1161.  Exhibitors this year will be limited to a total of 60, so don’t procrastinate!  We’re also working to finalize the Conference presentations and speakers for Atlantic City.  We are delighted that National DCP Chief Executive Officer Scott Carter will address the attendees Tuesday afternoon, September 17.  We previously confirmed John Gordon, DDIFO Restaurant Analyst will also present to the Conference, sharing his exceptional knowledge of QSRs and their value to Wall Street. The full formal program will be announced in early August.

Hall of Fame Nominees – It is now time to start submitting your nominees for induction into the DDIFO Hall of Fame.  Hall of Fame criteria and nomination forms are now available and you will be able to review the criteria and submit your nominees directly online, or by email to nominees@ddifo.org.  The deadline for submitting nomination forms will be Friday, August 16 at the close of business.

Making More Massachusetts Mischief – Governor Deval Patrick made several announcements this week that will impact small businesses in Massachusetts, home state of Dunkin’ Brands.  First, he proposed a ban on commercial food waste, requiring that it be shipped to either an animal-feed operation or an anaerobic digestion facility that can convert the waste into renewable energy. Then, in the wake of the Obama administration’s decision to delay implementation of the federal employer mandate (employers with 50 or more full time equivalent employees) for another year, the state is expected to retain its own employer mandate, which would have expired under Obama Care.  The state version, in place since 2006, mandates employer health care for companies with 10 or more full time equivalent employees.  Not to be outdone, Treasurer Steve Grossman addressed a Democratic Party Convention yesterday and advocated for paid family leave legislation, saying he will pursue it if elected Governor!  Calling paid family leave ‘an idea that’s time has come”, he went on to pledge “I will make paid family leave the very first bill I file as your new governor of this Commonwealth.”

Florida Leads US in Restaurant Growth – As Dunkin’ continues to grow across the country, we have plenty of company in Florida!  According to a National Restaurant Association analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Florida added 1751 net restaurants in 2012.  California and Texas finished second and third.

Dunkin’ News from the Week – The board of Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. grew a bit this week with the election of Travelocity Global CEO Carl Sparks to the Board.  He will officially join the Board on July 26.  Several media outlets reported on a boston.com story this week that Dunkin Donuts was considering moving its headquarters from its present Canton, Massachusetts headquarter! Dunkin’ would not comment.

Competitor News! – The Avian Flu (Bird Flu from China) last year coupled with a poultry supply problem in December were largely responsible for a 15% drop in 2nd quarter earnings at YUM Brands, Inc. according to a company statement reported by Food Business News Reports this week.