Tag Archives: Arizona Restaurant Association

Restaraunt Week

Valley chefs prepare menus for Fall Restaurant Week

Foodies across the state wait patiently for the start of the Arizona Restaurant Association’s Fall Arizona Restaurant Week (ARW) each year, and restaurant owners view this week of good eats as the true “gateway to the season” in their respective establishments. The wait is nearly over as for 10 days starting September 18th through the 27th, diners can experience special menus at their favorite restaurants and have the chance to eat their way across the Valley, trying new restaurants and cuisine types.

During Fall ARW, participating restaurants offer a three-course prix-fixe menu for just $33 or $44 per person, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity unless otherwise noted. ARW menus allow food lovers to experience the height of culinary talent of chefs statewide.

Arizona Restaurant Association president and CEO Steve Chucri said, “Arizona’s food scene continues to thrive. We’re fresh off the success of our inaugural Arizona Breakfast Weekend, and preparing for another wildly popular restaurant week. Our local chefs and mixologists are incredibly innovative and continue to delight taste buds around the state.”

More than 75 restaurants have already signed up to participate in this highly touted culinary event, produced by the Arizona Restaurant Association.

In all, over 200 restaurants are expected to participate. From fine dining options such as J&G Steakhouse at the Phoenician and Binkley’s Restaurant to trendy hot spots such as Southern Rail, Salty Sow and Rusconi’s American Kitchen and neighborhood favorites such as Chelsea’s Kitchen, El Chorro Lodge and Marcellino Ristorante, Fall Arizona Restaurant Week truly offers something for every palette.

azbigmedia_restaurantWeek_srp2014-007

Arizona Restaurant Week celebrates evolution of Arizona’s taste

Early anticipation for Spring Arizona Restaurant Week, May 15 through the 25, shows how much of a “foodie” town the Phoenix-Scottsdale area is becoming, said Arizona Restaurant Association President and CEO Steve Chucri.

Spring Arizona Restaurant Week celebrates the Arizona food scene with more than 100 restaurants offering three-course prix fixe menus between $33 and $44.

There are currently 32 restaurants’ menus available to view at arizonarestaurantweek.com

“Arizona has always had Mexican food and another kind of Mexican food,” Chucri joked. “But it has evolved immensely over the years, especially in the past five.”

Scottsdale has been recognized as the second best “foodie town” by Livability.com, USA TODAY and publications like Forbes.

Arizona is about a decade behind other cities like Montreal, Chicago and Boston, Executive Chef Massimo De Francesca, of FireSky Resort & Spa, said.

Although in 2014, for the second consecutive year, the National Restaurant Association’s 2014 Restaurant Industry Forecast said Arizona will lead the nation in restaurant industry sales growth and projected to post the fastest growth in restaurant jobs in the next decade.

De Francesca said Arizona has all the tools to become better. The wonderful sunny weather allows for open rooftop restaurants and concepts that other cities can’t invest in all year-round.

By bordering California and Mexico, the quality of produce like vegetables and fresh fish also becomes higher.

“(Arizona) it’s diverse. There is strong southwest influence,” De Francesca said. That means chilies, dried peppers and smoked meats, he said.

California is a big window, which has an Asia meets Europe meets North America feel that also influences Arizona’s special cuisine, De Francesca said.

For example, one of De Francesca’s appetizers at the Taggia restaurant is a warm salad made of roasted corn with a spicy sauce, queso fresco, crumbled corn nuts and lime.

Apart from the obvious influences, Spring Arizona Restaurant Week’s restaurants offer Italian, Indian cuisine and even Fondue. Various restaurants will also vegetarian and gluten-free options.

If the Spring Arizona Restaurant Week has not got you excited, there is also an Arizona Breakfast Week in the works, Chucri said.

Spring Arizona Restaurant Week is really a celebration of food, family, what Arizona has to offer and affordable for those 10 days, Chucri said.

“This isn’t going to be a flash in the pan, no pun intended,” Chucri said. “This is going to be long-running and we are going to see more Arizonans embracing Arizona’s culinary fair.”

i-Vf49XG3-L

Valley Leadership announces 2015 CEO Advisory Circle

Valley Leadership, the region’s premier leadership organization, announced its 2015 CEO Advisory Circle membership.  The CEO Advisory Circle will help Valley Leadership hone its focus on meeting future leadership needs in a fast-paced, ever-changing landscape.

The nine 2015 CEO Circle leaders were selected from diverse industries for their expert perspective on leadership, and for their long-standing commitment to and understanding of the Valley.

“The CEO Circle goes beyond a traditional advisory board format,” said Don Henninger, CEO Advisory Circle facilitator, “These leaders are not only committed to the success of Valley Leadership, they are dedicated to leading the way in fostering and promoting strong leadership for our region’s future.”

Leaders will meet quarterly to discuss Valley Leadership’s programming and goals, and offer advice on how to meet the needs associated with changes in leadership.

“The opportunity to tap this level of experience and diverse perspective is important as Valley Leadership continues to lead the way in leadership development programming,” says Brad Vynalek, partner at Quarles & Brady LLP, Valley Leadership board director and alum. “Their advice will be invaluable to Valley Leadership and the greater community.”

Vynalek and Katie Campana, fellow directors and alumni, worked with Don Henninger to create the Circle on behalf of the Valley Leadership Board. 

“Valley Leadership is looking forward to receiving high-level advice from the members, which will be applied to the strategic work of the board,” said Campana, community affairs and community development officer for Wells Fargo.  “This is a key leadership project important to the future of the Valley.”

2015 Valley Leadership CEO Advisory Circle

Hon. Rebecca Berch, Arizona Supreme Court

Supervisor Steve Chucri, Arizona Restaurant Association

Dr. Michael Crow, Arizona State University

Derrick Hall, Arizona Diamondbacks

Sharon Harper, Plaza Companies

Edmundo Hidalgo, Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc.

Eileen Klein, Arizona Board of Regents

Paul Luna, Helios Education Foundation

Ed Zuercher, City of Phoenix

Don Henninger, CEO Advisory Circle Facilitator

dinner

Spring Arizona Restaurant Week returns May 15-25

Spring Arizona Restaurant Week (ARW), held May 15-25 will be a prime opportunity to check out hot new restaurants or rediscover old favorites. During the Spring edition of ARW, more than 100 Phoenix restaurants will offer a selection of chef-curated, specialty menus priced at $33 or $44 per person, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity unless otherwise noted.

Since 2008, the Arizona Restaurant Association has been delighting diners by bringing together the greatest culinary masterminds for an 11-night celebration of edible excellence. Join the likes of James Beard Award Winner Chef Christopher Gross, legendary Chef Kevin Binkley, and visionary Chef Gio Osso as they continue to put Arizona on the map as a destination for food lovers. 

“Arizona’s food scene is thriving, thanks in no small part to the trailblazing chefs, mixologists and restaurateurs who make certain that it never gets stale,” said Arizona Restaurant Association president and CEO Steve Chucri. “It’s that excitement and energy that helps fuel the dramatic growth of our industry. We’re honored for the second consecutive year to see Arizona’s restaurant industry lead the rest of the country in restaurant sales and jobs growth.”

Arizona’s food scene has officially arrived – becoming one of the country’s most dynamic culinary scenes – with Arizona Restaurant Week at its helm. Food aficionados can feast on everything from Robata “open charcoal” cuisine at Roka Akor to scrumptious eats that hail from the Northern Italian Coast at Taggia inside FireSky Resort and Spa, as well as five-star bone-in Kona crusted dry aged sirloin at The Capital Grille. With so many restaurants featured throughout the week, deciding where to eat can be a tough choice. A full list of participating restaurants and menus will be featured on www.ArizonaRestaurantWeek.com with an easy-to-use interface for searching for a favorite local chef, type of cuisine or restaurant wish list.

The twice-annual Arizona Restaurant Week gives gastronomic change agents like longtime ARW participant Michael Rusconi Chef/Proprietor of Rusconi’s American Kitchen the opportunity to roll out the red carpet for diners. “ARW is a truly a chef-driven week that gives us a chance to put our best culinary foot forward as we showcase the talents of our teams,” said Rusconi.

Don’t miss a bite: check the website often as new restaurants and menus will be added as they become available. Until then, find out all the delectable details by following Arizona Restaurant Week (ARW) on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

Restaurant Industry

Arizona Restaurant Week Returns Sept. 19-28

Arizona Restaurant Week (ARW) will return this fall with 10 nights of incredible edibles, commencing for the first time on a Friday night. Arizona Restaurant Week, Fall Edition will be held Friday, September 19 through Sunday, September 28.

During Fall ARW, over 150 Phoenix restaurants will offer specialty prix-fixe dinner menus for $33 and $44 per person, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity unless otherwise noted.

“Arizonans can be proud of the wide expansion of local dining options and culinary genius the state has experienced during the past few years,” said Arizona Restaurant Association President and CEO Steve Chucri. “Poised for continued growth, Arizona Restaurants will gross sales just under 11 billion dollars, outpacing the country in new jobs, and employing over 265,000 people this year.”

Restaurant Week gives a twice-annual boost to these numbers as foodies get set to spend their dollars and celebrate the craft that is booming in our state.

Social Media will play an extra role this season, as diners will curate their own dining experiences through interactive promotions, contests and more.

Look for a special Instagram scavenger hunt and contest in partnership with Buick that will encourage diners to dine out at as many local places as possible and to capture their adventures using #TourARW.

This year Arizona favorites like Rusconi’s American Kitchen, Posh and Roaring Fork will join newcomers like Paul Martin’s, Southern Rail and Barrio Queen for this celebrated line up to savor. A full list of participating restaurants and menus will be featured on www.ArizonaRestaurantWeek.com with an easy-to-use interface for searching for a favorite local chef, type of cuisine or restaurant wish list.

With a local food culture rich in tradition, James Beard Award-winning chefs, and the best cities in the West, Arizona is rich with home-grown flavors, top chefs, winemakers, authors, storytellers and food enthusiasts.

“Arizona’s food scene is thriving, thanks in no small part to trailblazing culinary chefs, mixologists, entrepreneurs, and restaurateurs who make certain that it never gets stale,” said Chucri.

Don’t miss a bite: check the website often as new restaurants and menus will be added as they become available. Until then, find out all the delectable details by following Arizona Restaurant Week (ARW) on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Restaurant Industry

NLRB puts thousands of small businesses, franchises at risk

Need convincing that the National Labor Relations Board is an agency in desperate need of a management change?

The NLRB, which ostensibly is charged with protecting workers’ rights and remedying unfair labor practices, has morphed into an arm of organized labor.

Consider the board’s hit parade of the last few years: There was the case against Boeing over the company’s decision to locate a new factory in right-to-work South Carolina; the Obama administration’s abuse of recess appointments to name a union sympathizer to the agency’s general counsel post; its obsession with card check, which would end workers’ right to a secret ballot in union elections; calling on employers to post notices about employees’ rights to join a union; and the pursuit of so-called snap elections, a way of ambushing employers with union elections before they can communicate their side of the argument to employees.

But now there’s another dubious distinction to add to the list, and the NLRB’s latest adventure has the potential to completely upend decades of the franchise restaurant business model.

In a late July determination, the NLRB found that McDonald’s Corp. could be treated as a joint employer with its franchisees in labor disputes. In other words, to the labor board, there is no daylight between the corporate parent and the franchisee operating his or her own restaurant.

The finding is not only potentially devastating to the restaurant industry, but to other businesses that rely on the franchisor-franchisee relationship, which affects many small businesses. It could also affect businesses that use subcontractors or temp agencies.

Organized labor, which has long sought to unionize the fast-food industry, but that has seen its influence in the private sector on the wane, hopes the NLRB decision opens the door to union organizing in these restaurants. If there’s no difference between McDonald’s corporate and the franchisee at your neighborhood outlet the thinking goes, then unions might have new leverage to negotiate over organizing and higher minimum wages because they can pressure one corporate entity rather than hundreds of small businesses.

This is bigger than a minor administrative filing by an obscure agency within the federal government. Thousands of jobs are a stake here. More regulations and mandates inflicted on small businesses make hiring more expensive and investment more elusive. Entrepreneurs who take the risk to open a new restaurant, whether an established franchised brand or an exciting new concept, face plenty of obstacles without the government throwing up new barriers to entry. If these small businesses can’t get off the ground, they can’t hire, which will only hobble the economy, not help it.

The decision will be appealed and could even end up before the Supreme Court. This is far from over.
What is unlikely to cease, unfortunately, is this administration’s seemingly endless desire to insert itself into the employer-employee relationship. In its apparent desire to help workers, the government is doing far more harm than good for the individuals it claims to protect.

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Steve Chucri is the president and CEO of the Arizona Restaurant Association and supervisor for Maricopa County District 2.

Restaurant Industry

Arizona Restaurant Week Returns Sept. 21-29

Valley food lovers rejoice! Arizona Restaurant Week will return this fall from Saturday, September 21 through Sunday, September 29 for nine action-packed and scrumptious nights.

The Arizona Restaurant Association proudly hosts this week of extravagant edibles to showcase the state’s vibrant restaurant industry. This chef-powered event sets the stage for menus and dining trends for the fall and winter months and helps put Arizona on the map as a nationally known culinary destination.

“When you think of Arizona food, you may think of tacos, burritos, menudo; but that’s not the whole story,” said Arizona Restaurant Association President and CEO Steve Chucri. “There are so many different cuisines and foods available in Arizona beyond traditional Southwestern food.”

Diners will have the opportunity to try up to nine restaurants during Arizona Fall Restaurant Week. Many restaurants have already joined forces and signed up to take part in this exciting event and the Arizona Restaurant Association is actively seeking more restaurants to participate in the Phoenix metro area and Tucson.

“We’ve got fan favorites like Beckett’s Table, Binkley’s and Lon’s already signed up as well as newcomers like Searsucker, the Salty Sow and Taggia at Firesky Resort and Spa,” said Chucri.
Other loyal restaurants like Monti’s La Casa Vieja, The Melting Pot and Vincent on Camelback never miss a season of Arizona Restaurant Week and this fall is no exception.

During Fall Arizona Restaurant Week, more than 200 Phoenix area and Tucson restaurants will offer specialty prix-fixe dinner menus for $30 and $40 per person, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity unless otherwise noted.

“Arizona Restaurant Week is a celebration of Arizona’s finest tastemakers and one of the state’s biggest industries,” said Chucri. “The twice yearly event allows us to highlight Arizona as a top culinary destination in the country.”

Fall Arizona Restaurant Week will feature everything from superior steaks and burgers to award winning white tablecloth establishments throughout Phoenix and Tucson and is sure to satisfy every craving.

“There’s something special about Arizona food. Some of our restaurants have been family-owned for nearly a century. Others have grown from new ideas and fresh ingredients,” added Chucri. “And the cuisine is just as diverse as the restaurants that serve it. It’s all on the table here in Arizona.”

A full list of participating restaurants and menus will be featured on www.ArizonaRestaurantWeek.com with an easy-to-use interface for searching for a favorite local chef, type of cuisine or restaurant wish list.

Check back often as new restaurants and menus will be added as they become available. Until then, find out all the delectable details by following Arizona Restaurant Week (ARW) on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

sales.tax

Arizona Business Community Supports HB2111

The undersigned organizations and businesses want to express their strong support for the passage of HB2111 with the floor amendment that will be offered by Senator Steve Yarbrough. This final amendment represents major concessions to address concerns that have been expressed by the city representatives.

This final amendment reflects the cities’ request for a separate online portal for the collection of sales taxes in the 18 non-program cities. In addition, the amendment reflects the cities’ demand to maintain the authority to audit single-location businesses in their city. Lastly, the amendment removes all of the changes to prime contracting tax except for the trade and service contractors.

While the Yarbrough amendment reflects major concessions to the cities that undermine some of the important reforms recommended by the Transaction Privilege (Sales) Tax Simplification Task Force, we believe this final proposal still reflects historic progress that deserves final passage.

The Senator Yarbrough floor amendment will provide for the following:

* Single Point of Administration – the Department of Revenue (DOR) will become the single point of administration and collection of TPT. However, at the request of the cities, there will be a separate online portal for the 18 non-program cities. Despite this concession, the cities remain opposed because they want to continue to require businesses making paper sales tax remissions to pay the state and city separately. Their proposal provides most small businesses no administrative relief from making multiple payments to multiple jurisdictions each month.

* Single and Uniform Audit – DOR will administer a standardized state audit program where all state and city auditors are trained and certified by DOR. Despite major concessions from the business community to allow cities to continue to audit local businesses, the cities continue to push for further changes that will undermine much needed reforms to standardize state and local audits.

* Trade/Service Contracting Reform – Service contractors working directly for an owner to maintain, repair, and replace existing property would pay tax on materials at retail and not be subject to the Prime Contracting Tax. During Task Force deliberations, the cities repeatedly conceded that this area of the prime contracting tax was problematic and should be changed. However, after almost a year of study and discussion, they have offered a change to the taxation of service contractors that provides no administrative relief and couples that change with a request that the state give the cities $80 million from use tax collections.

Arizona’s chaotic and dysfunctional sales tax system has been the subject of considerable controversy at the Capitol for over 30 years. The creation of the Task Force, as well as the appearance for the first time that the cities recognized the need for reform, gave Arizona businesses great hope that this system would finally be reformed. We strongly encourage state policymakers to pass a sales tax reform bill that is grounded in sound tax policy and focuses on reducing the extraordinary compliance costs on Arizona businesses.

Kevin McCarthy, President, Arizona Tax Research Association
Michelle Lind, Chief Executive Officer, Arizona Association of REALTORS
Bas Aja, Executive Vice President, Arizona Cattlemen’s Association
Glenn Hamer, President & CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce
Steve Macias, Chairman, Arizona Manufacturer’s Council
Francis McAllister, Chairman, Arizona Mining Association
Courtney LeVinus, Arizona Multihousing Association
Michelle Allen Ahlmer, Executive Director, Arizona Retailers Association
Steve Chucri, President/CEO, Arizona Restaurant Association
Rick Murray, Chief Executive Officer, Arizona Small Business Association
Steve Zylstra, President & CEO, Arizona Technology Council
Greg Turner, Vice President, Senior Tax Council, Council On State Taxation (COST)
Lisa Rigler, President, Small Business Alliance AZ
Todd Sanders, President & CEO, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
Tom Franz, President, Greater Phoenix Leadership
Connie Wilhelm, President, Home Builders Association of Central Arizona
Tim Lawless, Chapter President, NAIOP
Farrell Quinlan, Arizona State Director, NFIB
Ronald E. Shoopman, President, Southern Arizona Leadership Council
Scot Mussi, President, The Arizona Free Enterprise Club
Matt Beckler, Vice President, Treasurer & Chief Tax Officer, Apollo Group, Inc.
Steve Barela, State & Local Tax Manager, Arizona Public Service
Steve Trussell, Executive Director, Arizona Rock Products Association
Michael DiMaria, Director of Legislative Affairs, CenturyLink, Inc.
Gayle Shanks, Owner, Changing Hands Bookstore
Michelle Bolton, Director of Public Affairs, Cox Communications
Nikki Daly, Owner, Flair! Salons
David Karsten, President, Karsten’s Ace Hardware
Reuben Minkus, Minkus Advertising Specialties
PetSmart, Inc.
Tina Danloe, General Manager, Pima Ace Hardware
Molly Greene, Senior Government Relations Representative, Salt River Project
Les Orchekowsky, President & Co-Owner, Sierra Ace Hardware, Inc.
Ann Seiden, Administrator/Corporate Public Affairs, Southwest Gas Corporation
Joseph Hughes, Director of Government Affairs, U.S. Airways
Walgreens Co.

Glenn Hamer is president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is committed to advancing Arizona’s competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans.

province.1

Restaurants serve super-sized economic impact

Think about the celebration that occurred after Arizona was awarded  the 2015 Super Bowl.

Much of that excitement came because of the economic impact the Super Bowl will have on the state. But the restaurant industry in Arizona generates revenue equivalent to hosting two Super Bowls a month.

“Restaurants are critical to Arizona’s visitor industry – and vice versa,” said Debbie Johnson, president and CEO of the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association. “Arizona attracts more than 37 million visitors annually and dining is the No. 1 activity for those visitors. So the success of the two industries are definitely intertwined.”

Arizona’s restaurant industry, which included 8,885 eating and drinking places of business in 2011, is expected to rake in $10.5 billion in sales this year, according to the National Restaurant Association. Arizona’s restaurants also employ 262,200 people, roughly 10 percent of the state’s workforce. That number is projected to grow 15.9 percent by 2023 to 303,800 – translating into 41,600 new jobs in the industry.

“While the Recession claimed 500 Arizona restaurants, the industry that was born out of the recession was stronger and more resilient,” said Steve Chucri, president and CEO of the Arizona Restaurant Association. “From 2007 on, Arizona’s industry sales have grown from $7.9 billion to $10.1 billion (in 2012) with extremely modest growth in the hungrier years of 2008-2010.”

Chucri said Arizona’s rate of restaurant sales growth, while once the top in the nation at 6.2 percent, is starting to fight its way back, growing at a little more than 3 percent each year, boosting this industry’s sales by an estimated $400 million annually.

“I think the restaurant community has stabilized and I sense an increasing confidence in the community,” said Steven Micheletti, CEO of Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill, which has five locations in Arizona and plans to add two more in the next year. “New restaurants are being built and being opened in interesting parts of the city. There is ongoing collaboration between great entrepreneurs happening, creating some great restaurant experiences. Operators are building restaurants in all types of buildings, creating really fun dining environments.”
A lot of the growth in Arizona’s restaurant industry is coming from entrepreneurs and chefs who are giving consumers different and unique dining experiences.
“Some of the strengths in Arizona’s restaurant industry include population growth, strong tourism, unmatched lifestyle and weather, and access to good produce,” said Russell Owens, president and COO of Fox Restaurant Concepts. “With all of these factors working together, there is more appeal for great chefs to come to Arizona to offer innovative new restaurants and fresh ideas. I think we are seeing more creativity today than over the last 20 years and this will positively shape the industry in Arizona for years to come.”

That influx of great chefs and innovative ideas has become an economic engine for the tourism industry.

“Scottsdale has seen a growth in chef-driven, independent restaurants, which are fueling our culinary scene,” said Rachel Pearson, vice president of community and government affairs for the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Not only do our resorts boast award-winning chefs and restaurants, but now you can drive to every corner of Scottsdale and find unique culinary experiences from well-known chefs.”

Not only are many of the new restaurants that are popping up utilizing fresh ideas and concepts, they are also beginning to increasingly rely on local produce and products to help serve their customers.

“Arizona visitors are really looking for a unique and distinct dining experience that they can’t get back home,” Johnson said. “So trends that we’re seeing in both hotel/resort restaurants as well as off-site restaurants include utilizing local ingredients and offering menu items and experiences that provide a taste of the local community.”

Micheletti has seen an increasing shift to supporting local farmers and growers, but the “Local First” trend doesn’t stop there.
“There’s also a growing influence of local crafted beers and wines,” he said. “Guests really are reading menus and asking questions about ingredients and sourcing. It’s not just about calories anymore.”

In addition to Arizona-grown ingredients, Chucri said one of the most transcendent trends he sees in the industry is the desire for healthy foods.

“The tendency towards more healthful items for the entire family illustrates that consumers are looking to restaurants for more than an indulgent special occasion meal,” he said. “Restaurants are becoming a part of consumers’ daily lives, an extension of their family. Whether it be a compliment dish for Easter dinner, a post-Little League party, or a got-home-too-late-to-cook family dinner, restaurants have infused themselves into the fabric of families everyday lives … a trend that is certain to stick around.”