Are You Adopting a Service Charge Model to Help Raise Wages?

As lawmakers continue to increase the minimum wage in states and cities across the country, many hoteliers and restaurateurs are implementing service charges and tip pools in order to meet rising costs and help workers earn consistent and livable wages. If your company is considering making such a move, you will want to do your homework to avoid the negative headlines, legal complications and financial burden that can accompany improper implementation of service charge or tip pool policies. Today’s post will focus on service charges.

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HSMAI Lodging Chief Digital Officer Executive Roundtable

This year’s HSMAI Lodging Chief Digital Officer Executive Roundtable was held on December 8, 2015 at Washington, D.C.

For those of you who attended, or did not attend the Roundtable, my presentation, “Distribution Parity: Where Do We Go From Here?”, is available below. It features an overview of recent worldwide parity developments in the online distribution world.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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2015 HFTP Annual Convention and Tradeshow

2015 HFTP Annual Convention and Tradeshow was held in Bellevue, Washington from October 21-24.

For those of you who attended, or did not attend the Convention and Tradeshow, my presentation, “Who Moved My Minimum Wage?! (The Future of Tips & Service Charges)”, is available below. It features topic of understanding tips and service charges and how they may be used to comply with varying minimum wage laws.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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MPI Oregon Chapter Event: What’s Hot and What’s Not in Group Contracting Presentations

For those of you who attended, or did not attend the MPI Oregon Chapter event held in Portland, Oregon on October 20, my presentations are available below.

The presentations feature a review of the current top ten group contracting challenges that my national hospitality team is facing today.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Meeting Planners Perspective

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Supplier Side Perspective

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FDA’s Menu-Labeling Update

Knife_fork 2015 on chalkboardSince their official unveiling in December 2014, the FDA’s final menu-labeling rules have given rise to a multitude of questions from hospitality businesses who wonder how to comply or whether they must comply at all. The FDA, in turn, appears to be trying its level best to provide enough time and guidance to ease these businesses’ transition to the new rules. First, the FDA extended the deadline for compliance by a full year from December 1, 2015 to December 1, 2016, citing the agency’s extensive dialogue with chain restaurants, grocery stores, and other members of the hospitality industry.  Continue Reading

Credit Card Fraud Liability Shift is Here

Most credit and debit cards in the U.S., and the point of sale terminals and ATMs that read them, still use “magnetic stripe” technology. Magnetic stripes are obsolete and relatively insecure, allowing fraudulent practices such as “skimming” (acquiring cardholder and account data by “reading” the strip, and then making fraudulent transactions or counterfeit cards). Magnetic stripe-based technology also does not support secure data transmission through contact or near-field contactless interfaces, which is seen as impeding the emergence of fully mobile cardless payment modes in the U.S.  Continue Reading

Sharing is Daring under Browning-Ferris

Collective bargainingBernice Johnson Blessing is an Associate in GSB’s Labor and Employment, and Hospitality and Corporate Law practice group.  She is also the newest member of the hospitality team and has had a distinguished career in leading human resources teams for hotel management companies and major hospitality brands for more than 15 years. You can reach Bernice at bblessing@gsblaw.com or 206.816.1465.

From franchisers and companies hiring workers through staffing agencies, to participants in the so-called “sharing economy,” companies and individuals today enter into a variety of contractual arrangements to reduce costs and to maximize available capital, flexibility, talent and efficiency in delivering goods and services. The recent decision of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., 362 NLRB No. 186 (2015), may change how many of these relationships function, and even, whether some of them are now too risky for some participants. Continue Reading

The 14th Annual Hospitality Upgrade CIO Summit

For those of you who attended, or did not attend the 14th Annual CIO Summit held in San Diego, California, below is my presentation, “The Blame Game”, which examines common technology procurement challenges associated with identifying the myriad of parties responsible for providing the desired systems or services, and provides recommendations for ensuring that when things go wrong, someone is ultimately responsible.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


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Swag: What Can Your Hotel Restaurant Accept for Free?

Cork ScrewEmily Harris Gant is an alcoholic beverage attorney, and an Owner in GSB’s national Hospitality, Travel, and Tourism Group. You can reach Emily at egant@gsblaw.com or 206.816.1454.

A distributor is knocking on your hotel restaurant’s door, offering key chains from a hot new distillery for your customers. A brewery just dropped off coasters for use in the restaurant’s bar. And a winery offered cork screws for your sommeliers.

As a responsible retail licensee, you know that most states tightly govern the relationships among liquor retailers, manufacturers, and distributors.

But where’s the line? What kind of “swag” and other valuable items can your hotel restaurant accept for free without running afoul of the law? To find out, read on. Continue Reading

From Bad to Worse for Wyndham

Lawyers often say “bad facts makiStock_000050678972_Largee bad law”. Combine that with weak legal arguments and, well, things can get really bad, really fast. That’s precisely what happened to Wyndham yesterday when the Third Circuit affirmed a federal District Court decision that the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has authority to regulate cybersecurity under the unfairness prong of § 45(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act. While commentators may disagree on the result from a legal or policy perspective, one thing is for certain, it was a bad result for Wyndham. The decision rejected in no uncertain terms Wyndham’s argument that the FTC lacked authority; and not kindly. Continue Reading

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