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February 13, 2009


Boy, do restaurant operators wish they could accurately declare “Only in New York” when it comes to food and nutrition issues. Now New York City health commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden wants to exert a measure of control over how the food served to restaurant customers tastes, via regulations on its salt content. And New York State Gov. David Paterson wants to gain leverage over what restaurant customers choose to drink by imposing an 18 percent tax on soft drinks. Both initiatives are framed as health-related measures, and you’d better get ready to do battle on these issues in your town if these two guys get their way in New York.
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401K balance got you down? How about sinking some cash into the initial public offering registered with the SEC earlier this month by online restaurant reservation management company OpenTable? Its revenues are way up and both the number of restaurants who offer the company’s technology and the number of dining patrons who use it have increased incrementally. Numbers aside, OpenTable has proven to work flawlessly in real-world settings and provides a terrific convenience for its customers. Yet its IPO investors will be buying the company’s future growth—something that’s hard to envision for a business that depends on the health of the full-service restaurant segment. OpenTable dominates its market, but would you be willing to bet on its prospects right now?
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