Restaurants at the Crossroads: A State-by-State Summary of Key Wage-and-Hour Provisions

A new Roundtable Retrospective from Cornell’s Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) seeks to unravel the remarkable tangle of wage-and-hour regulations throughout the United States. Based on an investigation that began with the center’s Labor and Employment Law Roundtables, authors Carolyn Richmond, Martha Lomanno, and David Sherwyn developed this guide to wage-and-hour regulations in all fifty U.S. states, as well as other jurisdictions, such as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. They were assisted in this research by Darren Rumack and Jason Shapiro.

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Bill Aims to Clarify Rules on Tip Pooling

A bill filed in the Massachusetts House of Representatives would change the current law defining who can collect tips at quick service restaurants (QSR) like Dunkin’ Donuts. State Representative Linda Dorcena Forry, (D-12th Suffolk), who is Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business, filed the bill.

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DDIFO Releases AAFD Grading Report to Members and Takes the Clock Down

Over a year ago DDIFO commissioned the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers (AAFD) to review and grade the Dunkin Brands franchise agreement. The AAFD thru a group of executives, entrepreneurs and attorneys have worked for over 15 years to set standards for franchise agreements to make them more fair and equitable. The ultimate goal was to make franchising work better for everyone, believing that a spirit of communication and mediation led to better relations and business results. The AAFD set of standards are referred to as the “Fair Franchising Standards”, In the fall of 2008 DDIFO felt that the existing franchise agreement was causing excess friction and litigation between Dunkin Brands and the franchisees. DDIIFO felt this situation was caused in part by an inequitable franchise agreement, and that the litigation had not been good for the Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee community.

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Quiznos Could Pay Millions in Settlement

Alan J. Liddle reports at Nation’s Restaurant News that a judge has granted preliminary approval for the settlement of four class-action lawsuits filed by Quiznos Sub franchisees against their franchisor that could significantly alter the relationship of the feuding parties and cost the franchisor up to $100 million. The proposed settlement could impact more than 6,900 individuals now associated with the Denver-based Quiznos system “and several thousand who have closed their franchises,” attorneys for franchisees indicated in court documents.

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KFC Grilled Chicken Tops List of Memorable New Products, McCafe Second

Stuart Elliot reports in the New York Times that a two-piece Kentucky Grilled Chicken meal at a KFC location in Louisville, Ky. An annual survey of memorable new products gave the top honor for 2009 to the Kentucky Grilled Chicken menu item, which was introduced by the KFC unit of Yum Brands. These are the four other fast-food products that scored the highest in 2009: the McCafe coffees from the McDonald’s Corporation, No. 2; the Torpedo sandwich from Quiznos, No. 6; the Angus Deluxe, also from McDonald’s, No. 7; and Taco Bell Volcano Nachos, from another unit of Yum Brands, No. 8.

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Will Wendy’s bite into Krispy Kreme?

Dan Gearino reports in THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH that Wendy’s/Arby’s has indicated it would like to buy another restaurant company, a possible target has emerged: Krispy Kreme. The rumor surfaced on Breifing.com and then was reported by Barron’s.

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Largest BK Franchisee Staying Loyal to the King

The Buffalo News Business Today reports that the Syracuse-based company that is the largest single owner of Burger King franchises is standing by the chain’s promotion of a cut-rate double cheeseburger, and is not participating in an uprising being mounted by many other franchisees. The National Franchisees Association, on behalf of 850 other Burger King operators around the country, has filed a lawsuit against the Miami-based Burger King Holdings Inc., protesting the corporation’s insistence that its franchisees offer double cheeseburgers for $1.

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Friendly’s Ice Cream with Your Bruegger’s Bagel?

The Boston Globe rerport that you shouldn’t be surprised to see a retail operation offering Friendly’s Ice Cream menu items along with Bruegger’s Bagels at the same airport location some day. Friendly’s, which is based in Wilbraham, and Brueggers, which is headquartered in Vermont, share a corporate parent in Sun Capital Partners Inc., a Florida private equity firm whose investment portfolio includes such other chains as Fazoli’s Restaurants, Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, and Timothy’s Coffees of the World Inc.

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Ten tips for franchise due diligence

Christa Hoyland writes in QSR.com that Marianne Cintron of Glendora, Calif., thought she had done her homework. When she and her husband looked into buying a Cold Stone Creamery store from a franchisee last year, she started by trying to talk to a number of current franchisees. Of the five who returned her calls, four were selling their stores. Despite the unusually high percentage of sellers, Cintron was reassured by the good things most of them had to say about the concept.

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Restaurant Chains in California Can Go Lean on Menu Labeling

California laws give them flexibility on how much information to share with diners and where to post it. But starting in 2011, chains will have to include calorie counts on their menus. Jerry Hirsch reports in the Los Angeles Times that diners at California Pizza Kitchen last week found some enticing new offerings such as white chocolate strawberry cheesecake, Baja-style tacos with sautéed mahi-mahi, and a Moroccan-spiced chicken breast salad.

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