Philly Paves the Way For Diet-Soda Taxes

In less than a week, Philadelphia will vote on a new tax on sodas which they are all but certain to pass. The tax will add 1.5 cents to every ounce of soda sold – an amount which adds up quickly on larger bottles and value-packs. The measure will make Philly the first large city to tax soda (Berkeley being the only other city in the U.S. to pass a similar law), as well as the first city to extend taxes to diet sodas. While the original proposal taxed only drinks with added sugar at 3 cents an ounce, critics argued this was too steep and disproportionately affected those with lower-incomes. The city council then amended the measure to tax all sodas at a lower rate, since upper- and middle-income consumers are more likely to reach for the diet soda.

Big Soda is already suffering from tanking sales and bad PR, so this move has understandably put them on the defensive. In the weeks leading up to the vote, soda companies have poured millions into ad campaigns against the tax, and the city has responded with some of their own. The council can also expect some litigation once they vote, since the industry is not likely to go down without a fight.

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Start-Up Spacious has a Vision for New York Restaurants

As more and more businesses (particularly in the tech start-up sphere) forego traditional offices, the demand for alternative working spaces will continue to increase. The new start-up Spacious seeks to capitalize on that, by turning dinner-only restaurants into co-working space during the day. Spacious owner Preston Pesek sees it as a way to “reclaim the city for creative professionals.”

A Spacious membership costs $95 per month, and includes unlimited access to their available workspaces, as well as WiFi, coffee, water, and conference rooms. Currently their only actual space is Daniel Boulud’s DBGB Kitchen and Bar, so Spacious is offering a 20% sign-on discount for members who join now. Eventually they hope to add more options throughout the city, and possibly include lunch in the offer as well.

The benefit to the restaurant (besides exposure) is a profit-sharing agreement, but in some cases the exposure might be enough to justify the risk. According to a  DBGB manager, the partnership has already brought more dinner traffic to the restaurant from Spacious members who see the space during the day and invite back larger crowds at night.

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