Wahlsburgers is Opening in Manhattan

website-logo-black-backgrouLast year, Wahlburgers announced to New Yorkers that they are expecting to open at least seven new locations. However, New York City has only seen one Wahlburgers in Coney Island. The second location has, now, been released to be more central to Manhattan. It will be near Times Square, at 725 8th Avenue, near 45th St. The new Wahlburgers will be five stories, and 8,300 square feet of restaurant, bar and merchandise.

Wahlburgers along with Shake Shack has redefined the fast food culture with their burgers and fries. Wahlburgers hope they can create as much of a success they have seen in other cities, in New York. Especially, with the Times Square Shake Shack location in close proximity to Wahlburgers’ projected new location, a “face-off” between the burger shops will be enticing.

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Pepsi and Coke settle a Truce for Veteran’s Day

This past summer, McDonald’s and Burger King made headlines with Burger King proposing a collaboration in efforts to create awareness for “Peace Day.” However, with McDonald’s declining the offer, Burger King teamed up with other restaurant chains to “end friendly restaurant feuds” for a day. Likewise, for Veteran’s Day, Pepsi Co. and Coca-Cola came together to create a public service announcement for American Corporate Partners, a nonprofit that connects veterans to professionals for career guidance.

Both CEO’s approached the cause in friendly terms. “They compete on the beverage side for customers, but independently both companies are very focused on veterans,” says Sid Goodfriend, ACP Founder and chairman.

While both companies target the same consumer market, they both also support similar causes in which they seize rivalry for. This is the first time the two CEOs have come together in a public way, but according to a Coke representative, Pepsi’s Indra Nooyi attended a reception hosted by Coke during the World Economic Forum at Davos.

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Per Se, the Second Most Expensive Restaurant in NYC, will Raise Prices in 2016

per-seThe second most expensive restaurant in NYC, after Masa, is ranked to be Per Se. Thomas Keller’s Per Se is already priced at $310 including service and the dinner menu. However, in 2016 there will be a raise in its prices to $325. This increase will clear the way for other restaurants to follow suit as restaurants across the city prepare to grapple the cost of minimum wage increases and increasing food costs.

The three Michelin-starred venue hiked its prices, typically does every two to three years, was in early 2014 after the state’s minimum wage went up by 75 cents to $8. The upcoming hike concedes with the increase in the restaurants prices with the minimum wage increasing by a quarter to $9, and the tipped-minimum by 50 percent to $7.50.

Per Se will unlikely have a direct impact from the changes in regulation as tipped minimums don’t apply because service is included already in Per Se’s system. But the minimum wage change can influence the overall composition of hte labor force, and cause those that are already making more than minimum to seek corresponding raises to avoid salary compression with those receiving government-mandated increases. Per Se’s increase in $15 is deemed to be valid considering new federal overtime regulations, rising food costs, the ned to give merit-based raises to retain staffer.

With the increase in labor force in New York City, many restaurant owners have diverged in ways to cope with and strategically arouse the new regulation. Danny Meyer has eliminated tipping and instead raised menu prices, while Per Se is raising prices by $15 with already menu included tips. Overall, restauranteurs are finding alternative solutions to earn revenue to cover increasing costs. Dining out will become, even more, expensive in the following years with Cuomo’s integration of the $15 minimum wage campaign.

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Market Diner to Close After Service Sunday

jpgAfter 53 years of business, one of New York’s finest diners is closing. Earlier this summer, rumor spread that the Moinan Group had plans to build a 13 story mixed use development at the corner of 11th Ave and West 43rd St. Presently located on the corner is Market Diner. Market Diner has been in business since 1962 and served prominent iconic people of New York City like Frank Sinatra. Frank Sinatra and the Westies gang were noted fans of the diner and frequently ate at the diner decades ago. Moss says ” Anytime I’ve gone by the Market Diner, the place was packed. People loved it.” The Market Diner was also featured on Seinfeld.

While the diner was highly popular years ago,  now, the diner is being forced out of the complex. “Diners are a dying breed in Manhattan.” With rapid increases in costs of land, landlords want to develop buildings that can potentially be rented to generate more revenue. As an effect of new developments, many older businesses are being forced out.

The Market Diner will close at the end of service on Sunday, November 1st. The Garden Center next door will also be closing for the new development.

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All Organic Avenue Stores to Close in NYC

urlJuicing stores have taken New York City by storm with multiple retail stores from Juice Press to Organic Avenue opening all around New York City. With the shift in the food industry to organic produces, “green juices” have rapidly become popular and its own trend. However, with the recent acquisition from Vested Capital, popular juice company “Organic Avenue” has announced that they will be officially closing all ten New York locations.

A fallout on juices have become a growing sight in New York City with recent closings of the Juice Press on East 10th Street and other locations within the East Village.

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Poke Taking L.A. by Storm

-1x-1Poke (pronounced poh-kay) is a marinated raw fish dish in Hawaii. Recently over half a dozen shops specializing in poke have popped up in L.A neighborhoods. Speciality shops have created different dishes with poke that attracts Californian consumers because of its health benefactors and its cost of being an average of $10. Bowl of rice, salads, quinoa are topped with poke and stand as alternatives to eating lunch at a sushi bar that would bring an average check of $40.

Sweetfin, a widely popular poke shop, serves a bowl of sashimi-grade tuna heaped on top of rice, or greens, such as citrus kale salad, with a wide range of accompaniments like avocado, edamame, and scallions. Marinades range from soy sauce and sesame oil to creamy togarashi sauce, Sweetfin’s specialty Japanese spicy mayo. While traditional poke in Hawaii involves onions, lime, and nuts, Nestdat and Cohen used more ingredients from Californian and Asian cuisines. Owners of Sweetfin says “Poke is the natural progression from sushi.” Seth Cohen and Brett Nestadt, owners of Sweetfin, wanted to reshape the lunch culture in America with its progression from sushi to poke. Sweetfin has doubled in the amount of fish it buys per week since opening in April, increasing from 700 pounds to 1500 pounds. Daily sales have jumped 40 percent. Cohen and Nestdat are planning to expand and open more shops in metropolitan areas.

Not only has Cohen and Nestdat seen success in poke, but several chefs including Kayson Chong and Eric Park has also seen a rise in their sales. Mainland Poke Shop, and Ohana Poke Co. are poke specialty shops, respectively, that have also contributed to the new wave of poke in California. While Mainland Poke Shop offer poke with quinoa and kale, Ohana Poke Co. offers poke with both French and Korean combinations.

Poke has been making appearances in other foodie destinations outside of L.A. Chef Jesse Sandole’s restaurant in Charleston and Nantucket have poke on their menus. Poke has been growing in Chicago, Washing, and Colorado. New York City’s East Village also has poke dishes from Per Se- one with octopus and another with big-eye tuna.

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Governor Cuomo Proposes ‘All Industry’ Minimum Wage of $15

Unknown-1This past summer, legislation passed that restaurant chains in New York would need to implement yearly increases for minimum wages until 2018 for NYC and 2021 for the rest of the state to incur a $15/hr wage. However, Governor Cuomo has announced his intentions for all industries to increase minimum wages in New York State. “You cannot support a family on $18,000/ year in New York State, not to mention have a decent living,” Cuomo said. The New York State minimum right now is $8.75 and will rise to $9.00 in January, which is an annual salary of about $18,720 assuming 40 hours a week for 52 weeks. However, a $15 wage would raise yearly salaries to about $31,000.

Cuomo’s intentions to drive salaries in all industries will potentially effect the hospitality industry the most. The hospitality industry occupies some of the lowest paying jobs in the economy. Many of the employees in the hospitality industry conduct a tip based wage, where the minimum is $5.00. An average server in the greater New York Metropolitan area makes $13.21 per hour after tips, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics. In New York State, servers make an average of $12.16. NYC cooks make about $13.41 and dishwashers make about $9.66.

The tipped minimum wage will be increasing to $7.50 in January. However, for Cuomo to increase minimum wages for all workers in all industries to be $15, he will need legislative approval.

Many businesses have opposed the raise in minimum wages as it increases labor costs, and can potentially cut back on hourly staffing and reduce hiring. However, those that support “Fight for Fifteen” disagree with examples from San Francisco and Seattle, as the rising minimums in those cities did not prompt to a significant layoff or closure of hospitality industries. Moreover, believe that these measures will increase employee retention, decrease worker reliance on taxpayer subsidized public assistance programs like food stamps and stimulate consumer spending throughout the economy.

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