Steve Brooks

Articles by
Steve Brooks

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The $15 question

In the fight over minimum wage, the restaurant industry faces an elusive, but highly organized challenger.

The case for immigration reform

Facing a shallow labor pool and stepped-up enforcement by the Feds, the restaurant industry is putting pressure on lawmakers to ramp up immigration reform. And change may be closer than you think.

Back in 1995, near the ski slopes of Mount Shasta, Bruce Dean and Bob Manley scraped up $30,000 to open a restaurant. Adding in some credit from landlord and vendors, they remodeled a defunct eatery into the Black Bear Diner, a family restaurant with an outdoorsy atmosphere. Recalls Dean, “It was the only thing we could afford.”

From the opening piano chords, it sounds like a nostalgic ad for Coke. Video clips show a ’50s soda fountain and a mom shopping.

Temple Grandin still remembers a day, back in 1999, when she led a restaurant vice president on his first tour of a slaughterhouse.

Working at an upscale Boston restaurant, Paul Booras took a road trip with the chef when the first plump ones came off the vines.

Moms and dads have always been core customers for restaurants. But today, say market researchers, their roles are changing. A quiet demographic revolution is reshaping the American family, with big implications for marketing.

Christopher Schroebel was not your typical junkie. While he lived with his dad in Keedysville, Maryland, the 20-year-old supported his heroin addiction by stealing $120,000 over the space of four months.

Every business person knows you can’t fight City Hall. But what if you no longer needed to? What if city officials, instead of piling up obstacles between a restaurant and its opening day, tried to bulldoze them out of the way?

The last thing a four-star restaurant wants to see is a picket line outside its door – especially when it’s walked by some of its employees. That was one of the tactics of Restaurant Opportunity Centers United, whose New York affiliate was suing Italian eatery Del Posto, over issues like unpaid tips and overtime.

By the numbers, for restaurants looking for affordable real estate, 2012 ought to be the best of times. In the retail sector, vacancy rates are still high, by historical standards, and rents are still low.

If you haven't started preparing for Obamacare, you're not alone. A July poll of 4,000 employers, by human relations consulting firm Mercer, found 56 percent had been waiting for a Supreme Court decision before planning.

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