Governor Signs Two of WRA's High Priority Bills
The WRA's Third Party Delivery Consent bill (Act 75), and the Omnibus Alcohol Bill (Act 73) were signed by Governor Evers on Wednesday, December 6. Both of these bills have been a high priority for WRA in 2023.
Third Party Delivery Consent
Wisconsin is the 14th state to enact measures relating to how Third Party Delivery Companies interact with restaurants. At the request of the WRA, Senator Pat Testin and Representative Alex Dallman introduced this new law to curb third party delivery company business practices that emerged during the pandemic that are harmful and costly to restaurants.
This law ensures:
Alcohol Laws Reform
Act 73 (the Omnibus Alcohol Bill) brings many needed updates to Wisconsin's alcohol statutes. It clarifies what is now considered policy interpretations, makes some common industry practices legal and provides a more prominent place for alcohol law interpretation and enforcement at the state agency level.
Here are the main provisions of the bill that triggered WRA support:
This year’s What’s Hot Culinary Forecast draws on the expertise of more than 1,500 culinary professionals who were asked to rank 120 items in 7 categories:
The What’s Hot Culinary Forecast presents the top 10 Hot Trends overall, the top trends in each category, trends the pros see as emerging in each category and macro trends shaping menus, operations and marketing.
Is your menu trending? Download your free copy of the report today!
It is the time of year we all count on to promote our businesses, particularly our spirits, wine, and beer sales. As people start feeling more festive, they want to consume, and we want to be the first to offer them a drink. As we prepare for the Holiday rush this year, let’s not forget that we want to keep are guests safe and prevent over-service. When you serve alcohol, you know the risks. Risk lawsuits if you over-serve. Risk lives if you serve a drunk driver. Risk your livelihood if you sell to a minor.
That’s why there's ServSafe Alcohol training which focuses on important issues like gauging intoxication levels, measuring drinks, checking proper identification, dealing with difficult situations and more.
With ServSafe Alcohol training, your team can let the good times roll while practicing responsible alcohol service.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has released its final joint employer rule, broadening the conditions under which two businesses might be considered jointly liable for legal issues or organizing campaigns. This rule does not only impact the franchise restaurant model but will also impact all restaurants that contract for services like cleaning or lawn care. The National Restaurant Association and the Wisconsin Restaurant Association strongly oppose the NLRB’s final rule.
NOTE: In late November, the effective date was changed from December 26, 2023 to February 26, 2024. Click here for more info on the date change.
Previously, joint employer status was largely contingent on an entity's “direct and immediate control” over the key terms of another organization's employees. The 2020 Final Rule provided clear boundaries, granting certainty to industry participants.
The NLRB's latest update expands the joint employer standard. Now, entities can be jointly classified by "sharing or co-determining" essential aspects of employment terms. This change encompasses both indirect influences and reserved controls. Entities identified as joint employers are obligated to participate in collective bargaining with the union representing their shared employees. Furthermore, they're potentially liable for each other's unfair labor practices and become vulnerable to union pressures in the event of labor disputes.
Expanding the Scope
The implications of the rule aren't confined to explicit, direct relationships. Circumstances where an entity impacts another’s employees through intermediaries or merely possesses (but does not exercise) control over employment conditions can now indicate a joint employer dynamic.
The franchise business model is squarely in the crosshairs. While the 2020 Final Rule, under the "direct and immediate" standard, provided a conducive environment for the industry to flourish, the current iteration neglects the industry's concerns. In the National Restaurant Association and Restaurant Law Center’s (RLC) comments to the proposed rule, they emphasized that, at the very least, the rule should clarify that it does not encompass franchise agreements or other clauses tied to legitimate business reasons, such as brand maintenance and product quality. Regrettably, our suggestions weren't heeded.
This is not just a minor regulatory adjustment; it's a foundational change. The rule's lack of clarity could spur extensive legal challenges and increased liability risks. Amid these unprecedented challenges, the National Restaurant Association and RLC are exploring all avenues, including potential legislative and legal actions, to restore a practical standard.
Littler-Mendelsohn Assessment of Final Rule
National Restaurant Association Statement on the 2023 Joint Employer Final Rule
NLRB Final Rule: Standard for Determining Joint Employer Status
NLRB FACT SHEET Joint-Employer Standard Final Rule
The WRA's Third Party Delivery Consent bill (AB 294/SB 290) unanimously passed both the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly on Tuesday, October 17! The bill is now available for the Governor to sign. WRA staff has met with the Governor's policy team encouraging him to sign the bill as soon as it is available.
At the request of the WRA, Senator Pat Testin and Representative Alex Dallman introduced these bills to curb third party delivery company business practices that emerged during the pandemic that are harmful and costly to restaurants.
This bill ensures:
For more information on this bill and WRA’s legislative priorities, please email Susan Quam.
The Wisconsin tourism public relations team is looking to gather information on unique culinary offerings in Wisconsin.
Please share information on any of the following:
Email your submission to the Wisconsin Tourism PR team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Request for Information: Unique Culinary Offerings"
The email must be received by 5 PM (CST) Friday, October 20th to be considered for this opportunity.
When submitting, please indicate:
The IRS recently announced that it is pausing acceptance of new Employee Retention Credit submissions through at least the end of the year. The reason for this pause is to prevent fraud and manage the backlog of nearly 600,000 pending applications.
Unfortunately, the ERC has been targeted by less than reputable companies and the IRS is seeing some fraudulent applications. This is why WRA is working with Adesso Capital—an established, reputable, vetted company that many other state restaurant associations are working with as well. Adesso's experts are well-versed with all aspects of the ERC and specialize in working with restaurants. So far Adesso has helped Wisconsin restaurants claim nearly $12 million in ERC dollars through our partnership.
What Does This Pause Mean for Restaurants?
Over the last few years, as food, labor and property costs have increased, a new trend has emerged to help offset the cost of accepting credit cards called Surcharging. By now, you might have experienced this practice in restaurants and retail stores, but there still lies confusion around the Surcharging rules and who enforces them.
In the State of Wisconsin, it is legal to charge a surcharge to credit cards as long as the customer is notified in writing prior to checking out. It is against card brand rules to add a surcharge to sales completed by debit card, regardless of using the debit card or credit card network. You must also apply the same surcharge amount to all cards and cannot offer a cash discount in conjunction with surcharging. In short, it must be one or the other across the board.
Starting April 15, 2023, Visa imposed a maximum of 3% surcharge rule for all credit cards to help recoup some or all of the card processing costs. Visa’s decision to reduce this from 4% to 3% is due in part to an increase in surcharge related violations and confusion around the rules.
What would happen if we chose not to follow card brand rules?
Visa employs secret shoppers as well as a public facing document for violation reporting. If caught, a cease and desist letter is sent, followed by fines up to $10,000 PER OCCURENCE. If the business or business owner continually repeats the offense, Visa can remove their ability to accept Visa cards permanently.
What actions do you need to take?
If you are currently surcharging, ensure your point of sale can detect debit vs credit cards so that a surcharge is not mistakenly added to a debit card. Also, ensure that your surcharge does not exceed 3% to the customer.
Finally, update your in store and/or menu signage to reflect this change and create transparency for the customer.
Special thanks to Heartland Payment Systems for providing this information.
Questions? Email or call the AskWRA Team at 608.270.9950
On occasion the Department of Revenue's Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Unit confiscates contraband alcohol beverages. The DOR is authorized to sell the confiscated product to the highest bidder. Many times, bottles sell well below wholesale price.
This sale consists of 2,561 bottles of Taxed Intoxicating Liquor.
Bids for the entire lot will be accepted from either a wholesale permittee or persons licensed to sell wine at retail (Class A or B Liquor License). Items within the lot may NOT be bid on separately.
Sealed bids must be received at 819 N. 6th St., Room 408, Milwaukee, WI no later than September 25, 2023. Bid opening at 9:00 am on September 26th, 2023.
Successful bidder must pick up product by October 20, 2023.
You hope it never happens to your restaurant, but it’s important to be prepared if disaster strikes. Pre-planning and a good blueprint for what to do if a fire breaks out can have a big impact on the safety of your employees and guests and the ability of your business to recover quickly. The National Restaurant Association recently released a new guide in their series of restaurant-specific disaster preparedness guides.
Always Ready: Fire is a great resource for restaurants. Take a look to make sure you’re doing everything you can to be prepared in the case of a fire.
Check out their Always Ready: Natural Disasters guide for great information on preparing for and recovering from natural disasters. The National Restaurant Association also has mini guides on floods, tornados, severe winter storms and wildfires.
For more useful guides and restaurant operations information from the National Restaurant Association, check out their Resource Library.