Omnibus Spending Bill

By Daniel Thor, Bellissimo Foods

The $1.3 Trillion Dollar spending bill has passed and will fund the government for another six months. The 2,300-page bill dictates governmental spending for the near future and covers everything from Defense to Community Development, to… you guessed it – Restaurants. The bill both included and excluded important rules that could affect how you run your business.

The Omnibus Spending Bill received positive reviews for including several paragraphs dictating the new regulations around tip pooling, but failed to include the ‘No Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act’ which would have overturned the strict one-size-fits-all FDA nutritional labeling regulations that are estimated to cost small business in excess of $1 billion.

Tip Pooling: Th­e recently passed federal spending bill has included verbiage prohibiting tip-pooling by management/ownership, or the sharing and distribution of tips to anyone other than paid staff. Th­is reversed the 2011 regulation requiring tips to only be shared with “employees who customarily and regularly receive tips” excluding both front hostess, bussers, and cooks. While this might dissolve the general ‘tip theft’ argument, it doesn’t take into consideration those owners & managers that routinely work tables, take orders, or perform any other job task that might normally be expectant of a tip. Depending on what your tip system is, whether it’s a form of common tip pooling, or a tip jar, you might need to re-think how the money is divided up, and don’t be surprised if you are left out.

No Common-Sense Act: Th­e bill unfortunately left out the “No Common-Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act” which was introduced in 2017 and took into account establishments that offered, ‘different flavors, varieties, or combinations’ which is in line with the majority of pizza serving restaurants in the United States. The exclusion of this bill means that current FDA rules will stand. Current FDA rules require food stores with more than 20 locations to have menu boards with nutritional information on display by May 7, 2018. Particularly hurt is pizzerias where Section 101.11(b)(2)(i)(A)(5)(ii) specifies that, “the calories must be separately declared for each topping listed on the menu or menu board (e.g., pepperoni, sausage, green peppers, onions on pizza…)”, and the menu or menu board must specify that the calories are added to the calories contained in the basic preparation of the menu item. For a normal pizzeria with thousands of different combinations possible per pie, the requirement becomes a nightmare task to undertake.

If you want more information on the FDA’s rulings, please visit www.fda.gov.

While the government is functioning again, those chains with 20+ stores have a lot of work ahead of them. For everyone else, make sure you are keeping up with the latest regulations in the industry. It might only be a matter of time before regulations such as these are a universal requirement. If you need any help or insight, please contact your Delco Foods Sales Representative.

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