Posts Tagged ‘good news bad news index’

Grease Trap or Grease the Wheel- NBAT-The Kinder, Gentler, City Agency Offers Help for New Food Businesses

December 29th, 2010 No comments

The daunting task of negotiating the maze of city agencies has gotten easier. As reported in the New York Times article of December 28, 2010, before opening, a new food business might have to face up to 11 different departments, and secure up to 30 different permits, registrations, licenses, and certificates, and pass 23 inspections. The New Business Acceleration Team helps new restaurateurs through the jungle of the permitting process.

According to administration officials, the 200 establishments serviced so far, have opened, on average, 10 weeks faster than planned. Nice, considering how little free time is often offered in a new lease. Currently the team is comprised of four inspectors, plus supervisors from agencies that issue permits, like the Depart of Health, Department of Buildings, Fire Department and Landmarks. The hope is that at one point there will be a single restaurant license that would replace all others. A long range goal is something like a Mayor’s Office of Hospitality.

NBAT works with qualifying businesses to schedule and coordinate most required inspections and, when appropriate, to schedule multi-agency inspections on the same day. For example, NBAT works with the Bureau of Fire Prevention to ensure the timely submission of plans and equipment documentation as well as provide inspections regarding range hood devices and other hazardous installations. NBAT inspectors are also trained to conduct Department of Environmental Protection grease interceptor inspections ensuring that grease traps are correctly sized to handle grease discharged by cooking and kitchen equipment. NBAT works with the Depart of Health to ensure that all food service establishments are properly permitted and operating safely. NBAT, and the Department of Buildings, work together to ensure the safe and lawful use of buildings and properties while facilitating the issuance of Certificates of Occupancy and Place of Assembly permits.

The ideal participants in this program are generally; new restaurants, bars, bakeries or butcher shops seating 50 people or less. Qualifying bars must serve food. However Batali’s mammoth Eataly found a way to be serviced. While a new venture, it is hardly a small place, and ownership is hardly inexperienced. As always, there is a way around certain limiting requirements. Therefore I suggest all who are opening a new food business to seek this valuable help. For complete information, as well links to the specific city agencies involved, go to:

Good luck- get picked and get open quick.

The Good News/Bad News Index-Retail Sales Rise Two Months in a Row

March 7th, 2010 No comments

Upbeat reports about the economy and retail in particular, continue. In both February and March articles the Times reports positive results.

NY Times February 12, 2010-“Surprising Strength in January Retail Sales”

Sales at retailers were unexpectedly strong last month, suggesting consumers were feeling a little more comfortable about spending, which could improve prospects for first-quarter economic growth. Retail sales rose 0.5 percent as consumers stepped up spending not only on essential goods but on luxury items as well, the Commerce Department said on Friday”

NY Times March 4, 2010- “Despite Storms, Stores Beat Expectations with Relatively Strong Gains”

“ Despite fears that snowstorms in February would dampen sales, the nation’s stores posted their strongest results on Thursday since late 2007, suggesting the beginnings of a broad recovery in retailing. Nearly every major chain turned in robust figures, beating analysts’ expectations and recording the sixth consecutive monthly sales increase. Even long-struggling stores and sectors came back from the dead.”

Using the Wall Street yardstick that the market predates the economy by six months the, good news/bad news index seems to indicate that stores might see real gains for Back to School selling in August. Eighteen months ago the papers were littered with stories indicating the likelyhood of a possible depression. The bad news indicator stood at 100%. The pendulum began to swing back about 6 months ago. Here and there, some positive reports appeared. Now the anecdotal evidence seems to point to a fifty fifty mix of hopeful versus frightful. Nice! My guess is that on the ground, store owners in the City might soon get some real evidence of this change in perception. Sales should start to increase. Perhaps, in a few months, business might actually look good to some store owners. And optimists always, they will look to expand, taking advantage of increased availability and lower rents.