Bed-Stuy Gains a Mediterranean Wine Bar Serving Lesser-Seen Wines in NYC

“An ambitious wine bar is now open in Bed-Stuy with a list that covers Mediterranean territory lesser explored by New York City’s wine programs.

Five Italian friends opened Speakvino at 1063 Bedford Ave., between Greene and Lexington avenues, focusing on wines from Bosnia, Macedonia, Croatia, Morocco, Albania, Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon. There are more ubiquitous offerings too, like wines from Italy, France, and Spain.

As for food, the cuisine skews Italian with touches of Spanish and other Mediterranean cuisines. Most of the menu is comprised of preserved foods served in jars, like anchovies ($9), baby artichokes ($8), and mixed Italian mushrooms ($8). There are some small plates, too, including burrata ($14), a little gem salad with avocado and Castelvetrano olives ($11), and octopus served with gigante beans, peperoncino, and celery leaves ($13). On the more substantial side, there is a simple potato gnocchi with sage, cheese, and butter ($12), as well as a thinly sliced pan-roasted strip loin with yuzu koshu and lime ($18).”

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Former Darden executive named president of Union Square Hospitality Group

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“Former Darden Restaurants Inc. executive Chip Wade has been named president of Union Square Hospitality Group, the company said Thursday.

Wade, who moves into the role officially in mid-May, fills a position that has been empty since 2015, when it was held by Jeff Flug, who stepped down after the public offering by Shake Shack, which was once a part of the New York-based multiconcept group.

In his new role, Wade (left) will work directly with CEO and founder Danny Meyer, the board and the restaurant group’s leadership team to enhance and evolve the company’s culture, drive guest experience and bolster profitability, the company said.

“USHG is growing in some pretty exciting ways right now,” said Meyer, whose group operates about 18 restaurants under various brands, from the acclaimed Union Square Café and Gramercy Tavern to the more casual neighborhood café Daily Provisions, the barbecue concept Blue Smoke and taco joint Tacocina.”

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Job Growth in U.S. Restaurants and Bars Jumps in March

Image result for Average weekly earnings were up to $427.78 per week, as compared to $425.88 per week in February.

Restaurants and bars in the U.S. added 27,000 jobs in the past month, quieting rumblings of an economic slowdown following February’s unexpectedly low job growth numbers for both the industry and the U.S. economy overall. According to the latest economic report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, March’s job growth numbers more closely align with what the industry had been reporting in previous months: 36,000 jobs added in January and 40,000 jobs added last December.

There were 196,000 total jobs added in March across all industries in the U.S., and the unemployment rate stayed at a steady, low rate of 3.8 percent or about 6.2 million people unemployed. Unemployment rates in leisure and hospitality remained slightly above the national rate, at 5.8 percent people unemployed in the industry.

Average hourly earnings in the leisure and hospitality sector remained essentially unchanged from the month prior, at $16.39 per hour. That’s up about 60 cents from March 2018’s average hourly earnings. Employees in the sector worked an average of 26.1 hours per week, the same hourly average that was reported in March 2018. Average weekly earnings were up to $427.78 per week, as compared to $425.88 per week in February.

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The Future of Hotel Dining Will Be Branded

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“Paris-based Accor is one of the world’s largest hospitality companies, with more than 4,500 places to stay (homes and hotels) in 100 countries and 10,000 dining outlets that — according to Accor CEO of food and beverage and lifestyle, Amir Nahai — generate more than 5 billion euros, or $5.7 billion U.S. dollars, in revenue on an annual basis.

And now that SBE, the Los Angeles-based hospitality group whose hotel and restaurant brands include the Mondrian, SLS, Delano, Cleo, Katsuya, and Umami Burger, is partly owned by Accor, you can expect to see more of those thousands of restaurants and bars being rebranded under SBE.

Over the next seven years, Accor and SBE plan to open at least 100 Umami Burger restaurants worldwide, as well as focus on opening other SBE dining and beverage brands such as Carna, SkyBar, and Dandelyan within Accor properties.”

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Minimum Wage Hikes in New York City Cause Restaurants to Eliminate Jobs, Cut Hours, Raise Prices

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“New York is known for its incredible food scene, but legislators in the Big Apple may have bitten off more than they can chew with the newest minimum wage hike.

The city’s mandated increase, which took effect on December 31, requires businesses that employ 11 or more people to boost wages from $13 to $15 per hour. But most restaurants operate with the tipped wage, offering servers and bartenders a lower hourly base pay and the opportunity to rake in the rest in tips, which often yields better pay overall. If workers don’t earn enough this way, employers are required to make up the difference.

That tipped minimum just rose from $8.65 to $10 an hour. A 16 percent jump is fairly punishing, considering the industry operates on razor-thin profit margins.

A new study conducted by the New York City Hospitality Alliance lends credence to the idea that substantial increases made to the tipped wage are far costlier than they are beneficial. After surveying 574 restaurants, they found that 2019 looks bleak: 75 percent of full-service establishments plan to cut employee hours, and 47 percent will eliminate jobs entirely in response to the forced minimum wage hikes. That follows closely on the heels of a dreary 2018, when 77 percent of full-service restaurants reduced employee hours and 36 percent cut jobs, both of which were also in response to the mandated wage increases.”

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New York City on sale: Deep discounts on shows, restaurants, hotels starting Jan. 21

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New York City is appealing to visitors for countless reasons, but price is not usually one of them.

But starting Jan. 21, the city will be at its cheapest thanks to a new initiative called NYC Winter Outing organized by the tourism marketing association, NYC & Company.

For the first time, NYC Restaurant Week, NYC Broadway Week and NYC Must-See Week will take place at the same time.

That will result in some of the lowest hotel rates of the year, shopping sales, theater, restaurant and attraction/sightseeing deals.

About 400 restaurants will participate in NYC Restaurant Week from Jan. 21 to Feb. 8. Diners will get two-course prix-fixe lunches and brunches for $26, with three-course dinners for $42.

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Why Restaurants Struggle to Eliminate Tips

“It’s been three years since Danny Meyer became the unofficial leader of a movement to abolish tipping at restaurants, in an effort to level the playing field for front-of-house and back-of-house employees, among other things. In the process of converting his own restaurants to his so-called Hospitality Included model, he convinced a number of major restaurateurs to adopt similar pay structures. The upside, of course, is that these tip-free models theoretically decrease pay discrepancies between people who work in the dining room and the kitchen, and don’t rely on diners to essentially supplement workers’ incomes.

But after giving it the ol’ college try, two major restaurants have returned to the old way of doing things. The Wall Street Journal reports that Agern, the Nordic restaurant from Claus Meyer, and Michelin-starred Cafe China in midtown have both returned to the traditional tipping model and have seen great results.”

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