Instead, its up to each company to develop its own chain of safety, which can lead to corner cutting. When food enters a transportation arena, it basically becomes invisible. Nobody knows where it is. Nobody knows what conditions its being shipped under, Ryan said. Farr said there ought to be steep penalties for companies that violate food safety laws and put public health at risk. There are millions of illnesses by food-borne diseases every year. We want to prevent that by best management practices so when those practices arent followed were going to make sure they are and were going to fine the companies that misstep, Farr said, reiterating that the government needs to send a message that the food handling practices Sysco admitted to are not acceptable. Were going to be monitoring them closely and if theres any loopholes in the law or anything that needs to be tightened up we will definitely do that, said Farr. A spokesman for Sysco confirmed that the company no longer uses any of the sheds Sysco rented to store food and they are cooperating with all government investigations. The USDA welcomes tips about criminal activity and other potential public health dangers involving meat, poultry and egg products. Tips can be reported to the USDA Inspector General Hotline at 800-424-9121. Have a tip for the Investigative Unit? Email Vicky@NBCBayArea.com . You can also follow her on Twitter or connect on Facebook .
Parks to close, much food inspection to subside, a panda to go unobserved, in a shutdown
While it may be only a difference of a few seconds, longer lines at the drive-thru could mean for big losses in the $299 billion fast-food industry. Many major chains do 60 to 70 percent of their business via the drive-thru window and every transaction counts. According to the study, the increase in drive-thru wait time is due to a growing complexity of fast food menus. For example, the burritos and bowls in Taco Bells new Cantina Bell menu have up to 10 ingredients. Taco Bells complex new menu is just part of a growing trend of fast food giants turning to more complicated, high-brow options, like Wendys Pretzel Burger and Burger Kings Bacon Sundae . This year’s dip seems especially significant because operators are telling us that as consumers demand more premium, healthy, and customizable menu options, Sam Oches, editor of QSR, said in a release . The operational pressures to assemble those items are slowing down the drive-thru.” The study assessed seven brands of fast food restaurants in 40 different states, evaluating a total of 299 Burger King restaurants, 299 Chick-fil-A restaurants, 200 Krystal restaurants, 317 McDonalds restaurants, 308 Taco Bell restaurants, 107 Taco Johns restaurants, and 325 Wendys restaurants. Wendys was the only chain to improve on its average service time over last year, clocking in at an average 133.6 seconds from order to pick-up, 3.85 seconds better than last year. The chain also holds the all-time record for speed at its drive-thrus, an eye-popping 116.2 seconds in 2003. Taking last place this year was Chick-fil-A, with a 203.9-second wait time on average. McDonald’s was also sluggish, posting its slowest-ever drive-thru time in the 15-year history of the study. The industry giant clocked an average 189.5 seconds from order to pick-up. Yet, speed of service was not the only factor evaluated in the study — accuracy was assessed as well. Unfortunately, this year has not been great for accuracy either. Industry-wide, order accuracy for drive-thru meals is down 1.6 percent , from 88.8 percent last year to 87.2 percent this year.
Food franchisees face low pay, long hours
JILL TOYOSHIBA/Kansas City Star | JILL TOYOSHIBA/Kansas City Star The popularity of Port Fonda the food truck launched Port Fonda, the successful brick-and-mortar restaurant in Westport. Patrick Ryans Port Fonda , upscale Mexican cuisine served from an Airstream trailer, debuted at The Stars first Food Truck Friday event three years ago. The food was such a hit the lines wrapped around the parking lot until there was hardly a scrap of food left to sell. A few months later Ryan began working on his Westport restaurant. A year later the successful restaurateur announced the Town Co., his second restaurant , opening in 2014. Chef Kelli Daniels used the Good You, a food trailer specializing in gourmet burgers and sandwiches, to launch herself into an executive chef position at the Elms Hotel and Spa in Excelsior Springs, and El Tenedors chef Carmen Cabia, of the late Lills at 17th and Summit, reinvented herself, serving up paella, croquettes, vegetarian bruschetta, almond soup and other Spanish tapas from a small vintage trailer. Little Freshie went from trailer to a specialty soda shop on 17th St., and just last week Taco Republic opened in Kansas City, Kan., across from Oklahoma Joes. Taco Republic is a Bread & Buttter Concept (think BRGR, Urban Table and Gram & Dun). To build brand recognition and refine the menu, a Taco Republic Truck hit the streets earlier this summer. The Stars Food editor Jill Silva recently talked about the flourishing food truck scene with KCTV5 reporter Betsy Webster.
The comparisons between the two books were set in stone when Child’s editor at Knopf, Judith Jones, took over Classic from another publisher (as she had done with Child’s) and re-designed and publicized it. What the book really did was liberate cooks from the idea that the more you did to an ingredient, and the more butter or cream you buried it in, the better it was. Classic — classy — food could be quick and easy and made with what was lying around the bottom of the refrigerator or kitchen cabinet. Yes, Americans learned for the first time how to make pasta by hand, roll out sheets for ravioli, then cut and stuff them with long-cooked fillings, techniques that had seemed unthinkable before. But they also learned that the best way to roast a chicken is to stuff it with two cut-up lemons and an onion; the best way to serve the greatest American fish, striped bass, is simply to bake it over several layers of sliced potatoes; and that an elegant dessert was nothing more than sliced oranges dusted with sugar and left to chill. They learned they could make a pasta sauce in the time it took to boil the pasta, and that the sauce could be both meatless and tomato-less — all of this now commonplace, all of it then revolutionary. More than Child, and more than any popular writer before her, Hazan made cooks understand that recipes in books are just blueprints and the real architect is the cook. You can change up a sauce, or a whole recipe, depending on your mood and what you found — or didn’t find — at the market. Improvisation was what a cook was expected to do, not an act of desperation. The Hazans also promoted a different understanding of a meal: one that began with something light and barely prepared, went on to a restrained pasta or risotto course, and then to a similarly simple meat with one or two vegetable sides–and ended with fruit, not dessert. That had never been part of the way Americans ate. And if it still remains beyond the weeknight habits of most people, the idea of a menu divided into many sections of small dishes was an outgrowth of the concepts the Hazans introduced — and a concept that rules in most new restaurants today, however apparently un-Italian.
Local food truck scene continues to evolve
Surf dogs In this time of argument and political gridlock, a blueprint to manage federal dysfunction is one function that appears to have gone smoothly. Throughout government, plans are ready to roll out to keep essential services running and numb the impact for the public. The longer a shutdown goes on, the more it will be felt in day-to-day lives and in the economy as a whole. A look at what is bound to happen, and what probably wont, barring a political breakthrough in the final hours: ___ THIS: Washingtons paralysis will be felt early on in distant lands as well as in the capital; namely, at national parks. All park services will close. Campers have 48 hours to leave their sites. Many parks, such as Yellowstone, will close to traffic, and some will become completely inaccessible. Smithsonian museums in Washington will close and so will the zoo, where panda cams record every twitch and cuddle of the panda cub born Aug. 23 but are to be turned off in the first day of a shutdown. The Statue of Liberty in New York, the loop road at Acadia National Park in Maine, Skyline Drive in Virginia, and Philadelphias Independence National Historical Park, home of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, will be off limits. At Grand Canyon National Park, people will be turned back from entrance gates and overlooks will be cordoned off along a state road inside the park that will remain open. People who waited a year to get a reservation to go to the bottom of the Grand Canyon all of a sudden will find themselves without an opportunity to take that trip, said Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the National Park Service. BUT NOT THIS: At some parks, where access is not controlled by gates or entrance stations, people can continue to drive, bike and hike. People wont be shooed off the Appalachian Trail, for example, and parks with highways running through them, like the Great Smokies, also are likely to be accessible. Officials wont scour the entire 1.2 million-acre Grand Canyon park looking for people; those already hiking or camping in the backcountry and on rafting trips on the Colorado River will be able to complete their trips.
Despite their complaints, a majority of food franchisees69%said theyd do it all over again, though thats a lower percentage than the 72% of all franchisees (not just food operators) who said they dont regret their decision. We survey tons of franchisees: Theyll bash their franchiser on training and leadership, but when you ask them, Would you do it again? the majority of them say, Sure, said Eric Stites, chief executive of Franchise Business Review. Its that love-hate thing. Food franchisees earned an average of $82,000 in 2012, according to the survey, but that average masks wide disparities: 50% of the food operators surveyed said they earned less than $50,000, while 25% earned more than $100,000. Restaurant operators also tend to work long hours: 68% of franchisees surveyed work 40 or more hours per week, 59% work evenings at least a couple of times a week, and 47% almost always work weekends (that compares to 35% of franchisees in all industries). One franchisee quoted in the report said restaurant owners should expect to work 10- to 14-hour days. Read the report. Not an easy path to success Investing in a food franchise can also take substantially more start-up capital than other types of franchises, thanks to real-estate, equipment and supply costs, plus other expenses. Still, the initial investment can vary from as low as $34,500 to as high as $4 million, depending on the type of restaurant, the report said. While starting any type of franchise may be easier than launching an independent small business, franchising is not really an easy path to success, Stites said. Key mistakes to avoid The surveys finding that satisfaction is lower among food franchisees than other types of franchisees is not unusual, Stites said. The food sector is a little bit more complicated a business to run, he said, noting that its often very employee heavy, plus entails dealing with fluctuating food prices, the potential for food spoilage and other challenges. On top of that, youve got probably some of the slimmest profit margins of any business, he said. Franchisees without prior restaurant experience may be in for a rude awakening.