Joint-Employer Ruling Update and P.F. Chang’s Joins ezCater

The TGIF edition of MRM’s Daily Bite features the latest on the “joint employer” ruling from the NLRB, ezCater and P.F. Chang’s, Pizza Boli’s, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of New York and Bite Squad.

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Joint-Employer Ruling Applauded

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) voted 3-2  to reverse its own 2015 ruling that waste management company Browning Ferris Industries could be considered a joint employer with Leadpoint Business Services, a staffing agency it subcontracted, even if it had only indirect or unexercised control over Leadpoint’s workers. The 2015 ruling contradicted guidelines followed for more than 30 years that said a company had to have direct control over the actions of a subcontractor or franchisee’s employees in order to be a joint employer.

Today’s vote overturned the Browning-Ferris ruling and reinstated the previous standard requiring direct control.

The National Retail Federation welcomed the vote to reverse a controversial expanded definition of a “joint employer” adopted during the Obama administration that has increased businesses’ exposure to lawsuits.

“This is an important move to restore the common-sense definition of what constitutes this type of employment relationship that stood for decades,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said. “The board’s 2015 decision created an impossible scenario where one business could unfairly and improperly be held accountable for the actions of another business. Today’s vote puts an end to those harmful and unnecessary changes that exposed companies to almost limitless liability.”

The action comes just over a month after the House voted 242-181 to pass the Save Local Business Act, legislation supported by NRF that would have overturned the Browning-Ferris decision if the NLRB had not acted. 

ezCater Teams with P.F. Chang’s 

ezCater is partnering with P.F. Chang’s adding all 212 of its U.S. locations to ezCater’s online platform. P.F. Chang’s joins more than 150 restaurant chains on ezCater’s platform. 

Off-premises dining and catering have been a growth area for the restaurant industry, which overall has experienced negative month-to-month same-store sales for the better part of the past two years, according to the Restaurant Industry Snapshot from Black Box Intelligence. In contrast, business spending on catering has grown more than 30 percent in the past three years to become a $22 billion market, according to data from foodservice research firm Technomic.

Restaurant industry veteran Jim Rand has spent more than a decade building catering operations for national brands and recently joined P.F. Chang’s as VP of off-premises dining to lead the company’s catering and off-premises strategy.

“Partnering with ezCater is an easy and effective way to grow catering revenue,” said Rand. “ezCater quickly added all of our U.S. locations to its platform and we began receiving orders immediately. In the last three months we’ve seen meaningful growth in our catering revenue through ezCater. The ezCater platform has allowed us to quickly reach a large corporate customer base over a broad geographic area, which would have taken longer had we done it on our own.”

Over 60,000 restaurants and caterers partner with ezCater to reach a nationwide customer base of businesspeople, including customers from more than 90 percent of the Fortune 500. California Pizza Kitchen, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, and Fazoli’s are among other brands that recently joined ezCater as partners, adding 300 Potbelly Sandwich Shops, 200 California Pizza Kitchen locations, and 100 Fazoli’s restaurants to ezCater’s nationwide network. These restaurants join longtime chain partners like Firehouse Subs, Dickey’s Barbeque Pit, and Honeybaked Ham.

“We’re thrilled to be adding such notable brands like P.F. Chang’s to our partner network,” said Victoria Brady, VP of caterer partnerships at ezCater. “We take pride in building good relationships with all of our restaurant partners and love that we can help them grow their business. ezCater’s unparalleled national reach makes our platform particularly ideal for any brand looking to drive business across all locations.”

Pizza Boli’s Update

Pizza Boli’s, which opened its first store in 1985, now has more than 75 locations in Maryland, Virginia,Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia to go alongside a new website.

“The focus of everything we’re doing in our stores and online is to satisfy our customers: those who have been part of the Pizza Boli’s family for decades, and those who are just discovering why ‘we deliver more’ isn’t only our slogan, but it’s also our promise,” said marketing director Maroula G. Mavrophilipos, adding that key improvements and additions that customers can look forward to enjoying in the coming weeks and months include: 

  • A colorful and clear new website that displays flawlessly on all screens and devices.
  • A new and larger menu based on feedback from customers.
  • A re-invented online e-club that offers more special offers and promotions than ever before.
  • A new loyalty program called “Boli’s Rewards” that lets customers earn their way to free food with every purchase.
  • A new app (iOS and Android) for fast, easy and secure mobile ordering.
  • New gift cards that allow Pizza Boli’s fans to give a gift that they know will be appreciated and enjoyed.
  • A creative new logo that thoughtfully echoes the past, embraces the present, and points to the future.
  • An exciting new store design that features modernized esthetics, and a more engaging and stylish decor — but without diminishing Pizza Boli’s signature fun, relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere. 

Added Mavrophilipos: “The things that our loyal customers love about Pizza Boli’s — such as our incredible variety, commitment to quality and great service — haven’t changed, and will never change. The many exciting developments underway position us to deliver even more happiness and satisfaction over the next 33 years — and well beyond that!”

Additional details on Pizza Boli’s new offerings will be announced in the coming weeks. For all other information, visit

Southern Glazer’s Opens Port Elizabeth Distribution Center

Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of New York, the New York division of the largest North American wine and spirits distribution company, upgraded Port Elizabeth, N.J. facility is now open and serving customers throughout the New York Metro market. The facility was originally a storage center for the company and has been repurposed and updated this year to augment existing distribution operations located in Syosset, N.Y.  It will immediately enable Southern Glazer’s to expand its production capability in the market by millions of cases, improving customer service and supporting growing demand throughout the New York Metro area.

“The Southern Glazer’s team has worked tirelessly to transform this facility into a world-class distribution center,” said Martin Crane, EVP and General Manager of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of New York.  “It was an important and much needed investment that will enable us to improve our performance and better deliver on the promises we make to our customers. We have not only increased our capacity by twenty-five percent, but are also now in a better position than ever to support what we expect to be continued growth in this market.”

The 286,000-square foot Port Elizabeth facility features the latest distribution automation technology and equipment, including state-of-the-art storage, conveyor, and sortation systems. It also includes expansion capabilities to handle additional capacity as volumes increase The Port Elizabeth distribution facility will work in coordination with Southern Glazer’s existing 350,000-square foot Syosset distribution center.

“On behalf of the Southern Glazer’s New York leadership team, we want to thank our dedicated employees and the support of both local and NY state officials, who enabled us to complete this major project quickly and efficiently,” added Roy Kohn, VP of Operations for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of New York.  “We’re continuing to assess our long-term needs for continued expansion in New York.”

Bite Squad Unlimited Rolls Out

More customers will have the opportunity to try out Bite Squad Unlimited, the company’s new subscription-based service that gives users free delivery, no matter how many times they order, for one monthly payment. Following an invite-only beta test this fall, enrollment in the service is now being offered to select customers during the checkout process on the Bite Squad website.

“We can see that food delivery is becoming more and more ingrained in our customers’ daily lives,” said Bite Squad co-founder and CEO Kian Salehi. “We’re working to make the ordering process as easy and worry-free as possible. With Unlimited, customers no longer have to deal with delivery fees – they can simply order as many times as they want and enjoy the convenience of the service.”

Bite Squad Unlimited is designed to provide increased value to customers who order delivery more than twice per month. With a monthly payment that varies by city and location (up to $9.99), customers can order as many orders as they like – all day, every day – with no individual delivery fees. All partner restaurants on the Bite Squad platform, within a four mile radius of a customer’s delivery location, are available with an Unlimited subscription.

“This is a big win for everybody,” said Salehi. “It gives us a more predictable and sustainable revenue source, and it gives substantial cost savings to customers who want more frequent deliveries.”

The company expects to roll out broader availability of Unlimited in early 2018. Founded in the summer of 2012 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Bite Squad has partnered with local restaurants across more than 30 metropolitan areas.