April 6, 2018: How the Restaurant Industry Is Dealing With an Employee Shortage, Why Networks Still Want Awards Shows Despite Ratings Decline, Fox Sports and Genetic-Research Look to Help U.S. Soccer Fans Root for World Cup Teams

By Ian Zelaya April 6, 2018, 8:43 AM EDT

1. HOW THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY IS DEALING WITH AN EMPLOYEE SHORTAGE: With the restaurant industry facing a worker shortage, restaurants are getting creative when it comes to finding and keeping employees. The New York Times: “In 2017, the National Restaurant Association reports, 37 percent of its members said labor recruitment was their top challenge, up from 15 percent two years ago. With low profit margins leaving little room to do what most businesses do in tight labor markets—increase wages—restaurant owners are having to find other ways to attract and hold onto workers. They are offering incentives, like repaying culinary-school tuition for their chefs. They are hiring former prisoners as kitchen assistants, and snapping up employees whom competitors have fired. They are trying to retain employees with tequila-tasting seminars, flexible schedules and a faster pipeline up the ranks. ‘I think the assumption is, the industry has to continue to evolve in terms of the work force it is trying to appeal to,’ said Gordon Lambourne, a spokesman for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. ‘People want flexibility, they want some growth defined for them.’ The growth in dining out is clear. The nation added 15,145 restaurants, a net increase of 2.5 percent, just between the third quarters of 2016 and 2017, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. … The demand for highly skilled help is especially acute in Washington, where a boom in restaurants run by creative chefs is outstripping the region’s labor force. Zagat named Washington, once considered a second-tier city in the culinary world, as the nation’s hottest food city in 2016. Established players from around the country have moved in, like the chef David Chang of the New York-based Momofuku group and Stephen Starr, the Philadelphia restaurateur behind the Washington hot spot Le Diplomate. Danny Meyer, the New York restaurant mogul, is on his way with an outpost of Union Square Cafe.In November, the last month for which data is available, food service accounted for half of all net job growth here, a 7.5 percent increase over the previous year, according to the Department of Labor. Restaurant industry experts say the recent crackdown on undocumented workers has sent a further chill through the business. Dishwashers and other low-wage restaurant workers have long been recruited from the nation’s undocumented work force, but many restaurateurs are wary now of going to that well.”

2. WHY NETWORKS STILL WANT AWARDS SHOWS DESPITE RATINGS DECLINE: Collectively, the 2018 telecasts of the Golden Globes, Grammys, and Oscars saw an 18 percent decline in viewership from 2017. But despite the decline in viewership, networks still see value in broadcast live awards shows. The Hollywood Reporter: “Hot takes from the #MAGA peanut gallery called it a referendum on Hollywood elitism. Industry insiders have another explanation. The exodus of younger viewers is now impacting even event TV, while staid producers and unexciting nominees are scapegoats in network conference rooms. But even that narrative can't quiet the fight for broadcast rights. And the Globes and Emmys are currently up for grabs. ‘These things are still incredibly important to broadcast television,’ says Rob Mills, senior vp alternative series, specials and late-night at ABC Entertainment, which has the Oscars through 2028. ‘It's important to lock them in long term.’ The Oscars still are the crown jewel of ABC's calendar—a promotional platform that just helped relaunch American Idol and Roseanne—despite a 54 percent decline in adults 18-to-34 since 2014. (See more stats below.) While some blame audience fatigue this year on months of Harvey Weinstein and the sexual harassment fallout, just as many call out the lack of mainstream hit films to lure back younger fans and the masses. Predicts an optimistic producer, ‘Nominate Black Panther for best picture and you'll see a turnaround.’ The Grammys broadcast is likewise locked up by CBS through 2026, not that it doesn't suffer from its own relevance issues. Viewership for January's show took a noticeable turn when the telecast trotted out Hillary Clinton and Patti Lupone.”

3. FOX SPORTS AND GENETIC-RESEARCH LOOK TO HELP U.S. SOCCER FANS ROOT FOR WORLD CUP TEAMS: When the United States failed to qualify for this year's World Cup, most U.S. soccer fans were left without a favorite team to root for. Fox Sports and genetic-research firm 23andMe are looking to change that with a new marketing initiative that will help fans pick another team to root for based on their ancestry. Advertising Age: “Set to launch Thursday on the FS1 program 'The Herd with Colin Cowherd,' the 30-second 'Root for Your Roots' spot features the exploits of international stars Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Lionel Messi (Argentina) and Neymar (Brazil) as they're cheered on by their supporters. 'You're connected to the World Cup,' the spot's narrator intones, as the montage of athletes and aficionados unspools. 'You may not speak the language or have visited the country, you may not know their heroes, but we're all connected to a World Cup nation through our DNA.' The spot closes with a tune-in reminder and a call to action: 'This summer, root for your roots. Watch the FIFA World Cup on Fox and let Fox broadcast sponsor, 23andMe, help you find your team.' The 'Root for Your Roots' campaign was cooked up by Wieden & Kennedy New York late last summer as a contingency plan in the event the U.S. team failed to book passage to Russia. Wieden's initial idea was to target the millions of Americans who don't know where their family tree was originally planted. According to Robert Gottlieb, executive vP of marketing, Fox Sports, the broadcaster's in-house research discovered that 58 percent of fans who could not pinpoint their ancestral origins said they would watch more of the World Cup tourney if they did know from whence they came. Then it was a matter of getting 23andMe onboard with the idea."


BALTIMORE:  The 143rd Preakness Stakes will take place May 19 at Pimlico Race Course. The 10th annual Budweiser InfieldFest will be headlined by Post Malone, Odesza, and 21 Savage. 

BOSTON:  Royal Sonesta Boston has partnered with the Sneaker Museum to host a pop-up sneaker exhibit in the hotel lobby from April 13-May 6. The exhibit is being held in conjunction with the Boston Marathon and ArtWeek. 

LAS VEGAS:  The Consumer Technology Association (C.T.A.) has promoted Karen Chupka to executive vice president of C.E.S. Chupka has worked for the C.T.A. for nearly 30 years.  

LOS ANGELES:  This year’s Unicef Ball will take place April 14 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The event will honor actress Salma Hayek, former U.S. Ambassador to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Nicole Avant, and Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos. Keegan-Michael Key will host the event and Pharrell Williams will perform. 

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

NEW YORK:  The inaugural New York edition of the Teen Vogue Summit will take place June 1-3. Speakers will include Cecile Richards, former vice president Al Gore, and civil rights leader Dolores Huerta. 

The New York Times’ inaugural TimesTalks Festival will take place April 13-15 at TheTimesCenter. The event will present live editions of the paper’s columns Corner Office and Table for Three, and its podcast The Daily. 

The Time 100 Gala will take place April 24 at Frederick P. Rose Hall at Lincoln Center. 

NYC & Company has appointed Lisa Tejeda director of tourism development for Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market. The organization also has promoted Trudy Singh to regional vice president of sales for the Mid-Atlantic region; Lisa Lopez to regional vice president of sales for the Midwest; and Cory Rosenberg to director of sales for the West. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

TORONTO:  This year’s Redpath Waterfront Festival will take place June 22-24. The festival will include performances by Aqua Cirque. 

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C. will host a St. John pop-up shop April 7-8 in the hotel’s Capital Room. 

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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