STORES Magazine - May 2009 - (Page 72)

THE LAST LAUGH INSIDE TRACK / NCCR Chain Action NCCR holds first CEO Leadership Summit When a group of chain restaurant executives told Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that their credit-worthy franchisees were having difficulties receiving financing, he expressed surprise. The Senate Majority Whip “listened fairly intently to them,” says Jack Whipple, president of the National Council of Chain Restaurants, the NRF division that Senate Majority Whip hosted the inaugural NCCR Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) CEO Leadership Summit. In addition to Durbin, the summit featured former U.S. representative Cal Dooley, now the president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council, Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Sylvia Rowe, president of SR Strategy. They met with a veritable “who’s who” list of industry executives, including McDonald’s USA president Don Thompson; Dave Brandon, chairman and CEO of Domino’s Pizza; Doug Brooks, chairman, CEO and president of Brinker International; John Chidsey, chairman and CEO of McDonald’s USA Burger King; G.J. Hart, president, president CEO and director of Texas RoadDon Thompson house; Linda Lang, chairman and CEO of Jack in the Box; Jon Luther, chairman of Dunkin’ Brands; and Julia Stewart, chairman and CEO of DineEquity. Linda Lang, chairman and CEO of Jack in the Box One of those is the Employee Free Choice Act, otherwise known as the card check bill. Under the bill, unions would be able to organize by having workers sign cards rather than vote in secret-ballot elections. It would also call for mandatory arbitration if companies and unions cannot reach terms within 120 days. Durbin and Cooper were of the opinion that card check legislation would not pass in its current form; Durbin expressed hope that a compromise would be reached on a bill that many major corporations have vocally opposed. New political climate Union organizing, food safety reform and nutritional labeling “are issues that really impact everybody in very much the same way,” Whipple says. “It’s critical that they come together and join arms and become even more active in the whole public policy debate.” Dooley said businesses must adopt a more pro-active approach and engage legislators on issues that could impact them; the old approach of merely saying “no, no and no” will not gain any traction, he said. Durbin offered an open door to anybody wanting to voice a concern, and the industry intends “to be as pro-active as we can possibly be on a lot of public policy issues,” Whipple says. 72 STORES / MAY 2009 Federal standard The executives also discussed menu labeling. Unlike trans-fat policies, where decisions were being made on the municipal level, chain restaurants want to pursue a uniform federal standard so there can be a blanket change. “The approach that makes the most sense for everybody, including customers, is to have conformity in terms of the information that’s being provided,” Whipple says. “This is a comprehensive proposal and it’s one that we’re very supportive of. “We plan to be pro-active and try to get something passed this session,” he says. “We’ve got good bipartisan co-sponsorship in both the House and the Senate and are looking to move that legislation as soon as possible.” Another bipartisan bill is Durbin’s FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which would give the agency new authority, tools and resources to comprehensively reform the nation’s food safety systems. A recent spate of recalls “are not isolated incidents” but are the result of “an outdated, underfunded and overwhelmed food safety system,” Durbin said in seeking chain restaurant support for the bill. (The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act was introduced just a week before the March summit: NCCR continues to analyze the proposed legislation.) — Fred Minnick WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - May 2009

STORES Magazine - May 2009
Executive Editor's Page
President's Page
Facts to Chew On
What Shoppers Think
Deals "R" Us
10 Things You May Have Missed
Numbers Worth Counting
Full Price/Markdown
Retail People
Cover Story: Brand X Power
Home Improvement
Credit Where Credit's Due
Locate, Locate, Locate
New Playbook
Staying in the Fast Lane
Clean and Green
Driven to Please
Farm System
Rx for Shrink
Zeroing Out Zombies
Rogues Gallery
Ounce of Prevention
Loeb Retail Letter
Chain Action
Optimism Rocks
ARTS Update
Point of View
Retail Crossword
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES Magazine - May 2009