Chobani CEO Offers Full Time Employees an Unprecedented Bonus

On Tuesday Morning, 2,000 full time Chobani employees received the surprise of a lifetime: shares worth 10% of the company, a bonus which could mean up to a million dollars for some employees when the company is sold or goes public. According to CEO Hamdi Ulukaya, the Turkish immigrant who founded Chobani in 2005, the goal is to pass along the wealth he could not have accumulated without the help of his employees.

The distribution of shares was based on tenure, with the employees who had been with Chobani longest receiving the largest distribution. Since Chobani’s current valuation, as estimated by TPG capital, is $3 – $5 billion, the average value of each employee’s distribution is $150,000. The shares come directly from Mr. Ulukaya, who is still the majority stakeholder. If employees leave or retire before Chobani is bought or goes public, they can hold onto the shares or sell them back to the company.

The move has obviously already generated a lot of press, particularly as it touches on the hot button topic of the wealth gap in America, much discussed this election cycle. Mr. Ulukaya himself has not made the connection explicit – focusing instead on his appreciation for his employees, and their crucial role in bringing the company where it is today.

To read more, click here.

Street Vendors Protest Limited Number of Permits

13087313_10153582577593519_8831297411753637903_n.0.jpgThere are few things more closely associated with New York City than the smell of roasted peanuts and the ubiquitous carts selling shwarma, hot dogs, or decidedly-not-cold-brew iced coffee. There are around 20,000 street vendors in NYC, but the city only hands out 5,000 permits a year for a cost of $300 each – meaning many sellers are operating illegally or renting permits at much higher rates. On Tuesday, hundreds of vendors gathered at city hall to protest the cap on permits, originally issued in the 80’s in an effort to clean up the city streets. According to the protestors, that cap is no longer necessary, and puts a huge hurdle in the way of those who just want to legally work.

Some argue that the cap is still necessary, as the health department already struggles to keep up with monitoring the number of vendors with permits. Others view the vendors as “unsanitary and unsightly,” and worry that more permits will create dangerous street congestion and sanitation issues. Arguably, the increased revenue from adding more permits could help offset the added costs of inspections and enforcement, but the problem is a sticky one.

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Postmates Moves Into Speedy Delivery (Your Move, Uber)

blog_header-pop@2x.jpgOn Monday, Uber announced that it would be canceling Instant Delivery – the lunch-only, 10-minute curbside delivery feature in New York . The tricky logistics of the service had largely been offloaded to featured restaurants, who estimated how many of a given meal would sell each day and sent the prepackaged lunches to Uber’s midtown office to be picked up and driven or biked around the city. Even so, the delivery company admitted they may have overreached a bit, and have cancelled the service to focus on the core of the UberEats business.

Whether by coincidence or an impressively quick strategic move, Postmates has now stepped up to the ultra-fast delivery plate, rolling out their 15-minute delivery service (called Postmates Pop) in NYC at 11 am today. The service has been available for almost a year in San Francisco, and Postmates has said that it will work exactly the same way in New York (although only from 34th Street to Battery Park). To begin, you can order through the service from Fuku, Harry and Ida’s and S’MAC. It’s unclear how they’ll clear the hurdles that brought down Uber Instant, but we’re pretty sure contenders will keep stepping up until at least one nails it.

To read more, click here.

New York Approves $15 Minimum Wage

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo followed closely on the heels of California yesterday, announcing an agreement with Albany lawmakers to raise the NY State minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next few years. The increase will begin with for workers in New York City employed by large businesses (those with at least 11 employees), who will have a minimum wage of $11 at the end of 2016, and an additional $2 each year after, reaching $15 on 12/31/2018.

The national labor rights movement has been fighting for $15 since 2012, and roughly half of the 50 states have increased their minimums somewhat (although the Federal minimum is still set at $7.25 due to congressional opposition). The final legislation in NY has not been approved, so it’s unclear how it will affect tipped workers. The tipped minimum in New York increased recently to $7.50, precipitating some of the gratuity-free movement. Additional increases would almost certainly prompt more NYC restaurants to raise prices and eliminate tipping altogether.

To read more, click here.

Food52’s New App Wants Us to Move Beyond The Recipe

d515f71c-7b45-46cd-b072-faab5fbfdd36--2015-0609_enchilada_assembly_bobbi-lin_1344.jpgIn today’s interconnected world, there are more and more ways to decide what’s for dinner (or lunch, or breakfast, or brunch, or a midnight snack, or…you get the idea). There are brick-and-mortar bookstores riddled with cookbooks from seemingly every popular restaurant or bakery, not to mention every food network star and popular blogger. It’s also easier than ever to Google a dish and find countless recipes for it, each with a rating, time estimate, detailed instructions and lengthy comments section. Or you can subscribe to one of the many meal kit companies like Blue Apron, and have the ingredients delivered to your door along with the recipe.

While we love the exchange of ideas and inspiration that happens across all these channels, there are times it can be a bit overwhelming – and doesn’t necessarily reflect the way we cook on a daily basis. The app (Not)Recipes, released by Food52 last week, acknowledges this divide, and aims to bring us a new way of sharing food inspiration. (Not)Recipes is a sharing platform for images and short descriptions dishes, of the sort that you might email to a friend to let her know how to make those cookies you’ve been whipping up forever. The pictures themselves are beautiful, with filters inspired by famous chefs from different eras, and a simple hashtag system makes them all easy to search. Just don’t call it the “Instagram of” anything – users can’t follow their friends or favorite chefs, and that’s by design. Cofounder Amanda Hesser explains that they “wanted to get the message [out] that this really is about the cooking, and the social element will follow. It’s not a popularity contest.”

We still recommend hanging on to all your favorite cookbooks (we certainly will be), but consider adding (Not)Recipes to your rotation for some easy weekday inspiration. To read more, click here.

Multiple Scenarios for an L Train Shutdown, None of them Good for Business

Rumors have been stirring for awhile now about a possible shutdown of the L Train in order to make repairs, and local business owners in Williamsburg are feeling the pressure. Two possible scenarios discussed by the MTA involve either a 3-year, 24-hour-a-day shutdown, or a 7-year shutdown of night and weekend service. The MTA has yet to commit to either, and some doubt the service disruptions will be so severe, but the deadline to receive Federal relief money for damage done by Hurricane Sandy is quickly approaching.

Businesses in Williamsburg are understandably concerned, particularly Bars and Restaurants for whom nights and weekends are the worst possible shutdown times. Matthew Webber, owner of several restaurants in Bushwick and Williamsburg, says that past weekend disruptions have resulted in a 30% drop in sales for some of his restaurants. When the L train shuts down, “Williamsburg gets brutalized,” says Webber.

Some business owners, like Kevin Adey of Faro in Bushwick, don’t believe that the shutdown will happen. Since real estate developers now have a huge stake in Williamsburg, they may have the opportunity to influence the MTA’s decision and lessen the blow, possibly by expanding G train service. But without some compromise, the MTA warns that delays due to hurricane damage and increasing wear and tear could become much more commonplace.

To read more, click here.


Ravi DeRossi Turns an Empire Vegan

18712231573_877fb3734a_o.0.0.jpgRavi DeRossi, the restaurateur behind Death and Co, Avant Garden, Mother of Pearl and 12 other bars and restaurants around the city, is making a serious push to turn all of his operations fully animal-free. He’ll be starting by expanding the already vegan Avant Garden into multiple spinoff concepts, as well as closing the charcuterie-focused The Bourgeois Pig and reopening it as vegan wine and tapas bar LadyBird. All of his restaurants are in for some sort of shake-up, and it seems his mixologists won’t be safe either, as cocktail and beer lists will be purged of the often ignored animal ingredients that are sometimes used in drinks.

DeRossi himself has a long history with veganism, and feels passionately about the environmental and animal welfare impacts of factory farming. Before becoming involved in the hospitality industry, he spent many years living completely meat-free. As he describes to Eater, “You don’t realize that the average restaurateur does three times more destruction [to the environment] than the average person,” and, “If we’re going to do something to help this planet, it needs to start. It needs to be me not just preaching, but me just doing it. I’m in the position to do it.”

To read more, click here.


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