Connections for Success




Is Your Restaurant Ready for a Second (or Third) Location?

Are you thinking about expanding your restaurant? Is now the time to open a second location? Opening a second (or third) location for your restaurant is not a decision to be taken lightly. This article provides a few considerations restaurant owners should take before they map out their move for expansion.


City of Chicago Extends Amusement Tax to Satellite TV Services

Over the past few years, the City of Chicago and Cook County have enacted two new taxes that directly impact restaurants and bars. Last fall, we reported on Cook County’s penny-per-ounce tax on sales of sugary drinks, which will take effect on July 1, 2017. On the entertainment front, the City of Chicago’s “Amusement Tax,” originally implemented in 2015, left many restaurateurs and bar owners less than amused, as a tax was placed on streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu and Spotify, as well as cloud computing services to which many subscribe. Now, the City has extended that same Amusement Tax to cover satellite TV services. This article provides a play-by-play on how the tax works.


A Prix Fixe Serving of Best Restaurant Management Practices
Robert Swenson

Restaurant Week just arrived to showcase more than 300 Chicago area restaurants. Prix fixe menus of $22, $33 and $44 are offered for breakfast lunch and dinner. In honor of the festivities, our latest Restaurant Group blog is here to serve up a prix fixe menu of best restaurant management practices. Rather than an appetizer, main course and dessert, we will discuss regulations, finances and taxes.


Delivering Lessons Learned in Cuba to the Restaurant Industry
Robert Swenson

In November, I traveled to Cuba for a week-long vacation with my wife and another couple. I departed the United States with an open mind and not really knowing what to expect. The trip was a mind blowing, amazing experience that is hard to put into words. This article shares three lessons that I learned about life in Cuba and relate them to the business of running a restaurant.


New Tax Leaves Cook County Restaurants Feeling Unsweetened
James Pellino

As Illinois and its counties continue to look for more ways to generate revenue, local legislators have turned their attention to taxing items deemed unhealthy to its citizens. Cook County is no exception, as a new sugary drink tax was recently approved by Cook County Board members and will take effect in July 2017. This article analyzes how this tax works and its potential impact on local restaurants.


Is Your Restaurant Prepared for the New Overtime Rules?

The Department of Labor’s new overtime rules will take effect on December 1, 2016. So, if you have been putting off crunching the numbers, it is time to take a hard look at your restaurant’s operations, determine the impact of the new overtime law on your bottom line and evaluate your options.


Best Accounting Practices for Restaurants
Thomas Pierce

While a big focus for restaurants revolves around the food, service and atmosphere, owning and operating a successful restaurant really starts with good accounting. Countless restaurants close their doors every year because the numbers were ignored or not given the attention that they deserve. While the accounting function is not the most exciting part of owning a restaurant, it is certainly one of the most important aspects that should be taken seriously. This article presents a handful of best accounting practices for owners and managers of restaurants of any size.


Charitable Contributions of Food Inventory
Robert Swenson

The rules regarding charitable donations of inventory, specifically food inventory, have fluctuated over the years. Recently a tax law was enacted that made the deduction for food inventory permanent and enhanced it. Previously non-C Corporations and taxpayers that were not required to track inventory did not receive an enhanced deduction. Now, all types of taxpayers can get a deduction of an amount somewhere between their cost basis and the fair market value of the food they are donating. This article will give you the details you need to know about charitable contributions of food inventory.


City of Chicago Raises Minimum Wage Effective July 1, 2016
Kenneth Kobiernicki

In recent years, the number of restaurants — both national chains and local establishments — that have faced wage and hour lawsuits have been on the rise. Therefore, it is imperative that restaurant owners pay attention to the rules that dictate how employees, especially tipped employees, are to be paid under federal and state law. This Restaurant Group blog explains how the City of Chicago’s recent raise in the minimum wage will impact both employer and employee.


Whipping Up a Social Media Strategy for Your Restaurant
Christofer Georgiou

Social media is a great way to connect with current and potential customers. The active user base certainly shows a world of opportunity. According to its 2015 Annual Reports (Form 10-K) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Facebook and Twitter boast an impressive 1.04 billion daily active users in December 2015, and 302 million monthly active users in the three months ending December 2015, respectively. In our latest Restaurant Group blog, discover ways you can take advantage of various social media tools to help promote your restaurant.

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