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Regulation Nation: Breaking through the red tape

Regulation Nation: Breaking through the red tape

Nation’s Restaurant News looks at the biggest legislative issues threatening your business and finds strategies for cutting through the red tape. Full report >>

Rarely has an issue roiled the restaurant industry with the force of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

With some details still unclear three years after it was signed into law, health care reform remains a question mark of enormous proportions, leaving many restaurant operators frustrated by their inability to definitively plan for its implementation and, more importantly, project its financial impact on operations.

Restaurateurs also are waiting for the final rules surrounding menu labeling, a portion of the PPACA that would require brands with 20 or more units to post calorie counts on menus and menu boards. Those regulations have been held up by the realization that regulating nutrition disclosure in an era of customization is no easy task. Nonetheless, operators will soon be grappling with that reality.

However, 2013 looks to be a seminal year. Compliance deadlines for certain aspects of health care reform are within reach. And the Food and Drug Administration said it expects to promulgate its long-awaited menu labeling rules “in the relative near term.”

And the government initiatives destined to impact the restaurant industry don’t stop there.

Comprehensive immigration reform, debate over the minimum wage and ongoing wrangling over tax reform also crowd the federal legislative stage, promising to permanently alter the business landscape.

Meanwhile, state and municipal lawmakers are churning out proposals — the topics of which range from bans on soda and packaging to credit card swipe fees and meal taxes — that also promise to add red tape to the industry’s operating environment.

With this in mind, the editors of Nation’s Restaurant News set out to examine this latest wave of issues that has been flooding the industry with a deep sense of uncertainty. We also sought to o offer a resource for ways to ease some of the pressure that a host of new measures implies.

­This special report kicks off with a dive into five of the heftiest issues promising to impact the industry: health care and immigration reform, initiatives to raise the federal minimum wage and institute paid sick leave, and menu labeling.

Along with providing an update on where each issue stands, we spotlight operators who already have integrated related solutions into their operations, as well as list some steps you can take on the road to compliance.

­The special section also explores the numerous issues and ordinances brewing in statehouses and city halls nationwide and showcases executives from across the industry discussing their foremost policy concerns. Two executives also sound off with opposing views about the industry’s role in contributing to the country’s economic and social progress.

Finally, you will find the results of a proprietary NRN survey at the end of the special section. Get a sense of what your peers think about all this potential red tape and how they expect to operate in the confines of its tightening grip.

Welcome to Regulation Nation.

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