NC Spirits Association

In the Mix NC Hospitality News 5/5/15

Get your registration code for the N.C. Restaurant & Lodging Expo

Registration is now open for the 2015 N.C. Restaurant & Lodging Expo, Sept. 21 & 22 at the Raleigh Convention Center. This expo will include educational sessions, networking opportunities, and exhibits by companies whose goods and services can make your business run more smoothly. Registration is free to NCRLA restaurant & lodging members who use a special code. To obtain your code, please contact Karen Mann at or 919-747-2205. 

School calendar bill passes house; start & end dates unchanged

House lawmakers passed school calendar legislation this week that notably did not alter the permissible range of August start dates or June end dates for K-12 public schools.  Instead, House Bill 164 would give local school districts the ability to spread out the state's requirement of 1,025 hours of classroom instruction each year over fewer than 185 days and would allow them to vary the number of instructional hours in a school day or the number of school days in a semester.  The legislation would also direct a legislative committee to study school systems that use such flexibility to hold first semester exams prior to Dec. 31 of a given school year. 

Read the WRAL story. Read the News & Observer story. Read NCRLA's position on the K-12 public school calendar.

Panera Bread becomes first national restaurant company to share list of unacceptable Ingredients

Panera Bread on May 5 shared progress on its commitment to remove artificial additives by publishing a list of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives that the Company has eliminated or intends to remove from its U.S. Panera Bread® and St. Louis Bread Co.® bakery-cafe food menus by the end of 2016. Panera is the first national restaurant company in the U.S. to publicly share a comprehensive list of ingredients that will be removed from or never appear in its menu items. Read more. 

Celebrate National Travel & Tourism Week

NCRLA joins other tourism partners across North Carolina in celebrating National Travel & Tourism Week, May 2-10. Restaurant and lodging businesses all benefit from the impact of more than $20 billion in visitor spending that occurs annually in communities all across the state. And, this weeklong celebration comes as the state gears up for the all-important travel season.

“Approximately 35 percent of all travel in our state occurs during the summer season, and more than 50 percent of all visitor spending in North Carolina occurs in restaurants and lodging properties,” said Lynn Minges, NCRLA President & CEO. “These sectors provide jobs for 11 percent of our state’s workforce. We’re forecasting solid growth across all sectors, and we look forward to continuing to make a positive impact on North Carolina’s economy.”

From now through May, join the conversation by following @USTravel and @ncrla on Twitter and using #NTTW2015. 

Learn more about the impact of the lodging and restaurant sectors on North Carolina's economy.

Hotel booking scams cost Americans up to $220 million per year

Hotel booking scams are on the rise partly because 1 in 3 vacations is set up online, with many hotel and airline reservations punched in on those tiny, hard-to-read smartphone screens.

Now a hotel trade group is asking Congress and the U.S. attorney general's office to take action on the problem, which may be bilking 2.5 million travelers each year.

"If you book the room online you may not find out there is a problem until you show up at the front desk," said Maryam Cope, vice president for government affairs at the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Read more. 

Nearly half of Americans to celebrate Mother’s Day with restaurant meals

As the most popular holiday of the year to dine out, Mother’s Day will entice nearly half of Americans to dine out or order restaurant takeout or delivery on May 10. New research from the National Restaurant Association also shows dinner as the most popular meal period to dine out, and that six in 10 consumers who plan to celebrate the occasion by dining out will do so at a relaxed, casual dining restaurant. The NRA has a detailed graphic on where and when various demographics plan to dine on Mother's Day. See the graphic here.  

Create memorable dining experiences for guests with food allergies

What are you doing to improve the dining experience for guests with food allergens? Most people’s best memories are shaped by food and beverage occasions, and diners with food allergies shouldn’t have to have different expectations, says Chef Gary Jones.

Jones, the culinary dietary specialist for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, should know. The company’s 565 food and beverage locations serve 78 million meals a year. Last year, it received 650,000 special dietary requests.

To ensure diners with food allergies have as “magical” experiences as any other guests at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, Disney uses a high-touch, custom and individualized approach.

The first step: a dietary-request process. Disney encourages guests to share any food allergies when they book dining reservations at one of its parks or resorts. It also encourages them to speak with a chef or manager when they arrive. Read more.