Capitol Connection

Episode 6: Legislative Wrap up and Restaurant week

Your favorite podcast hosts Stan Harris and Will Dubois recap new bills, LRA, Advocacy, Work and Outcomes of the past few weeks. They continue in the back half of the program with a roundabout focused on Restaurant week in New Orleans, Wages, Craft Beer and ARP tourism spending. Tune in next time for another in-depth conversation with Stan and Will.

Testifying–what to do, and what not to do

President & CEO Stan Harris and Director of Government & Public Affairs Will DuBos start the intimidating conversation of what to do if a restaurant operator has to testify infront of a committee. Listen to hear tips on presenting to a large group, and how to send the right message to the legislature without nerves getting in the way. LRA Greater Baton Rouge Chapter Board Member Stephen Hightower, of City Group Hospitality, joins the conversation to share his experience on how taking action makes a difference.

Advocacy and protection, the best investment you can make

When you become a member of the Louisiana Restaurant Association, it is more than our workers’ compensation program. With the LRA, you’re investing in a network of expert professionals whose mission it is to advocate and protect your businesses, and personal livelihood. Our CEO and President Stan Harris explains the importance of developing a personal relationship with local policymakers, which is one of the best ways your business can become more effective.

The Ins-and-Outs of Louisiana’s Legislative Sessions

Our CEO Stan Harris and Director of Public & Governmental Affairs Will DuBos chat on this week’s Capitol Connection about how a bill becomes a law, fiscal sessions vs. regular sessions and spending vs. tax bills.

The Century Old Cocktail We’re Drinking Now

Bill Deturk is a cocktail enthusiast, host of WWOZ’s New Orleans Music Show and Liquor Manager at Rouses’s on Tchoupitoulas. This week, he teaches us about the official, unofficial cocktail of the Rex Organization, the Ojen cocktail. Ring in your Carnival celebrations and listen in to hear about the cocktail’s rich Mardi Gras history!

Red Stick Romeo

Michael Boudreaux met his wife Laura while working catering jobs at Juban’s in the late 90s. In this episode, you’ll hear a never before told story of how a habit led to a bickering match and awe between the duo. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, this is one love story that’s full of ups and downs, surprises and best of all, humor.

Keeping the Legacy Alive

Zoe Chase is the great granddaughter of the legendary “Queen of Creole Cuisine” – the late Leah Chase. In this episode, we hear her story as a graduate of the New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute and now chef at Dooky Chase Restaurant. She’s hosting her inaugural multi-course dinner on February 10, paying homage to her Creole roots while adding in her own flavors and style.

Where is she now…LRAEF Scholar Cierra Varnado?

Cierra Varnado is living her dream career as the Director of Research, Development and Quality Assurance at BEC Co-packers in Slidell. She attributes her success in part to her time at NOCCA, the John Folse Culinary Institute, University of Holy Cross and working for Legendary Chef Frank Brigsten. She also shows gratitude for being a two-time LRA Education Foundation Scholar which helped finance her degree in Culinology.

Whipping Up Advocacy

LRA Director Mickey Freiberg of A La Carte Foods is the 2022 State Whip to the NRA Public Affairs Conference scheduled for April 25-27 in Washington, D.C. In this episode, Mickey shares the importance of making the trip, behind the scenes experiences, and gives kudos to Congressman Steve Scalise and Senator Bill Cassidy. Interested in making a difference on policy that affects your business? Head over to for conference details.

Why You Must Become an Employer of Choice

The pandemic shocked the hospitality industry and caused a shortage of employees during a critical time in recovery. Restaurants are extremely short-staffed, which means restaurant owners are spending all their time working in the business and can’t be strategic. Restaurant managers and existing employees are overworked, and it all affects the guest experience. While the situation was unexpected for restaurant owners, it has raised good points about what keeps employees in the hospitality industry. Hear from the Restaurant Coach, David Scott Peters, about where as an industry we went wrong when it came to taking care of our employees, the truth behind what it takes to become an employer of choice, and how to ensure you never again burn out your employees, managers and yourself.

Supply Chain Solutions & Creative Ways to Improve Operations

Hear from Wendie Huffman, New Business Development Manager for Sysco as she discusses a topic that is all too relevant in today’s climate – supply chain solutions.

The 411 on the Employee Retention Tax Credit

Eligible restaurants can now access ERTC for 2020 and 2021 for eligible employee wages as long as these specific payroll wages and/or group benefits were not directly paid with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan funds. Employers can access up to $5,000 per eligible employee in 2020, and up to $7,000 per eligible employee for each calendar quarter in 2021. Hear from CPA Patrick Gros to help you determine if you are eligible for ERTC and what to expect from the application process.

What to do BEFORE You Increase Menu Prices

Menu engineering is absolutely awesome. You can reduce your food costs by three to seven points when done correctly the first time you use it. Right now, that probably seems like exactly what you need. But beware: menu engineering is not your secret weapon to lowering your food costs. You can’t just raise prices on your menu willy nilly. Before you can engineer your menu for max profitability, including increasing prices, there is a series of steps you must follow. Tune into hear David Scott Peters, the Restaurant Coach, provide guidance on:

  • Why menu engineering and increasing prices is the last step
  • 10 things you must have in place before increasing prices
  • The steps to take to find this information

Digitizing Your Back Office Does More Than Clear Your Desk

Adopting technology should not only give your team time back but provide real-time data to empower your business. Now, more than ever, having an in-the-moment view of your finances and operations allows you to stay nimble as our industry continues to recover. Hear from Bruce Earle with Margin Edge to hear how through technology you can: understand food & labor costs in real-time so there are no surprises at the end of the month, see changes in key ingredients and make adjustments, seamlessly maximize your offerings for profitability and create a digital central source of truth for plating, recipes and ordering.

RYRA: Take Advantage of Grants that Fund Training Wages & Apprentice Education

Did you know there are programs in Louisiana right now that can assist in offsetting the cost of training your new and existing team members? Hear from New Orleans Job 1 Center and David Emond of the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation about two specific grants available to complement your restaurant training programs.

Restaurant Youth Registered Apprenticeships: The Win/Win for Restaurant Managers and Staff

Hear from Darren Darby of Creole Bagelry and Greg Reggio of Taste Buds Management to learn how restaurant manager and line look apprenticeships create a pipeline of qualified team members.

Building a Culture That Attracts & Retains Talent

Hear from Bobby Fradella, Vice President of Training at Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar, as he discusses how to build a people-first culture that lasts – focusing on clarity of brand purpose, vision and mission. Dive into the relationships needed to live the Walk-On’s Way – WOW!

Capitol Connection 2021 – Episode 1

In this episode, Stan Harris discusses the $28.6 billion SBA-administered Restaurant Revitalization Fund which opens May 3; the third week of the Louisiana Legislature; and local industry issues in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.