House Bill 4099 – The New Smoking Ban Bill

26 01 2009

Doesn’t it figure?  I just put a post up this afternoon about the smoking ban bill not being filed.  A few hours later, I get a comment on that post with a link to a Flint Journal story.  The bill was introduced last Thursday and sent to the Commerce Committee.  Today, the bill was filed which is why it just showed up on the Legislature’s website. 

HB 4099 differs from the bill introduced last year because it is a total ban on smoking…including casino’s and cigar bars.  That was a big issue a few months ago.  The Detroit legislators don’t want and probably won’t let the bill pass without an exemption for the casinos. 

To me, a ban with the those two exemptions is acceptable.  I don’t like it.  I think if the casinos are exempted, then bars (not any place that serves any kind food) should be exempted as well and I don’t want to see that.  Exemptions start a slippery slope and everyone thinks they should be an exemption.  It’s not a matter of Big Brother telling you want to do as the tobacco lobby will try to tell you.  I can’t think of any other thing that people are allowed to do that makes others physically uncomfortable.  If smokers had an ounce of respect for people around them, this wouldn’t be an issue, but most smokers feel like it’s their god given right to make everyone around them uncomfortable.

I wouldn’t expect this to move pretty fast.  In the overall scheme of things, this bill isn’t high priority.  Michigan has bigger problems than a smoking ban and I would guess they will drag it out to the next election.  You don’t want people to forget that you voted in favor of the ban.  It’s one of those social issues that get people on both sides fired up.





Press Release – Big Boy Names New CEO

26 01 2009

From a Big Boy Restaurants Interntaional, LLC press release…..

WARREN, Mich. –  Keith E. Sirois, a food service industry leader with 35 years of experience, was selected as chief executive officer of Big Boy Restaurants International, LLC. Sirois, 57, begins his new role Monday, Jan. 26, at company headquarters in Warren, Mich.

The appointment, announced today by chairman Robert Liggett Jr., completes a national search and four-month transition while board member Jim Jensen served as interim CEO.

Big Boy strategic planning and operating responsibilities now will be overseen by a business veteran whose career spans multiple restaurant concepts — including family dining and QSR. His most recent positions were at Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, where Sirois was president and CEO of the publicly owned franchisor and owner-operator of an 800-store dual brand system.

“We’re very fortunate to add Keith Sirois, a seasoned, successful restaurant chief executive to our leadership,” Liggett says. “He brings hands-on knowledge of franchise and company-owned restaurants, as well as a strategic vision and leadership for continuing our growth initiatives at Big Boy. Keith has an impressive record of sales growth, franchise development and team-building.”

Big Boy is an enduring icon of Americana with a widely recognized brand symbol holding a double-decker cheeseburger. The company is pursuing aggressive growth in new and existing markets. In California, where the first Bob’s Big Boy opened in 1936, a location with a drive-through lane is planned in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey — a prototype for a new customer service option. Read the rest of this entry »





Kellogg Testing New Box Design

26 01 2009
The new boxes Kelloggs is testing in the Detroit market

The new boxes Kellogg's is testing in the Detroit market

I got an e-mail about a pilot program taking place in Detroit.  Battle Creek based Kellogg is conducting a six month test with a redesigned box at Kroger’s and Walmart’s in the Detroit area designed to save shelf space.

Kellogg Co., the largest U.S. cereal maker, has reconfigured the size of its boxes in an effort to sell more Froot Loops and Special K at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kroger Co. stores in Detroit.

Kellogg is replacing cereal at 40 Wal-Mart and Kroger stores with shorter, deeper containers that hold the same amount, Kim Miller, vice president of morning-foods marketing, said in a telephone interview. The six-month test starts today.

[snip]

After several years of research, Kellogg reduced packaging by 8 percent for the test, wagering that consumers who lack kitchen storage will buy cereal in smaller boxes, Miller said.

Consumers put cereal boxes “on top of refrigerators, on countertops, lying down and on their sides,” Miller, 43, said today from Battle Creek, Michigan, Kellogg’s hometown. “Retailers are taking a similar direction, trying to optimize shelf space.”

They’re not shrinking the amount of cereal you get, they’re just shrinking the box and getting rid of all that empty space.  The interesting thing is Walmart is encouraging companies to come up with new packaging ideas that save space and are rewarding companies that do so with premier display space.  The new packaging won’t cost you anything more…at least yet..





Mid-Michigan Dining on Facebook

26 01 2009

I just created a group for Mid-Michigan Dining on Facebook…I know you all have Facebook pages, so join the group and get some discussions going!  Follow the link below or on the sidebar and make sure you tell your friends about it!

Mid-Michigan Dining on Facebook!





What’s Up With the Smoking Ban?

26 01 2009

A few weeks ago, I posted a press release fromincoming Representative Paul Scott (R-Grand Blanc).  In that release, he said he was going to introduce a smoking ban on the first day of session which was on January 14.  I had been checking the Legislature website looking for the bill, but hadn’t been able to find it, so I e-mailed Rep. Scott to find out what the hold up was.  I got an answer today.

I am going to introduce the smoking ban bill as soon as possible. The legislature hasn’t read in any bills yet but hopefully I will be able to during session on Feb. 3rd. 

If you would like to look up what I’m going to propose you can go onto the legislature website and look up Bill Number 4163 for the 2007-2008 session.  The bill proposed by Brenda Clack is the same one I am introducing this year.
OK, so hopefully we’ll see something filed next week.  Then the legislature can sit on it again two years until election time.




Name Change Doesn’t Hurt Biggby’s Growth

26 01 2009

The State News did a profile on Biggby founder and MSU Grad Bob Fish.  The only real newsworthy thing is almost an after thought in the lead. 

Fortunately, the name change didn’t stunt the growth of the company. Biggby has doubled its store numbers every two years since Fish began franchising stores in 1999. The company had its best year ever in 2008, opening 35 new stores across the Midwest and Southeast.

I know how hard change is for people.  I still don’t like to call Comiskey Park US Cellular Field.  It’s just not right.  To me, Beaner’s is an obvious reference to coffee.  It was the only thing I thought about when I heard the original name of the coffee franchise.  J actually had to clue me in as to why Beaners could be offensive.  Then, just last month, I figured out where the new name came from.  Duh…

Anyway, the thing I really wanted to write about today was Biggby’s ability to adapt.  The thing I absolutely LOVE about the franchise is that there is no set model on how the stores have to look.  I love the store in Holt that’s put in an old building or the store in downtown Lansing.  Biggby doesn’t have to go into the same, boring, building every time.  Outside of major cities, all the Starbucks look exactly the same.  What will help Biggby grow is being able to use existing buildings.