Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Indiana Restaurant Association (IRA) says enough with the food recession blues - Fork the Recession and dine out!

No matter your age, gender or financial status, nearly everyone is giving something up in an effort to cope with the recession. An overwhelming 82% said that dining out would be easy to abandon. Discounted menus at mid- to high-end restaurants suggest restaurateurs are finding ways to entice customers back.

According to the NRA, 75% of customers said they would support full service restaurants more frequently if they offered discounts for dining on less busy days of the week. In a Restaurants & Institutions 2009 New American Diner study, approximately half of Americans say they are taking advantage of restaurant coupons or special deals more often.Restaurants from quick-serve to fine dining are responding with discounts to lure diners. Local restaurants are following this trend by creating their own discounts on three course meals, multiple dinner deals, and beverage specials.

To assist consumers find specials, the Indiana Restaurant Association is helping restaurants spread the news about their specials by listing details on the IRA website and several social networking sites including Twitter and Facebook.

Lets face it, people need to eat, and sometimes we like to treat ourselves and eat something a little above and beyond the normal fare. Even in recessionary times, consumers can only hold off for so long before they eventually give in to at least SOME of lifes temptations and finer things.

A roundup of restaurant deals and discounts to court recession-weary consumers can be found at Follow @INrestaurants on Twitter for the latest updates.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mom’s the Word! Indiana Restaurants Offer Budget Saving Deals on Mother’s Day

Making Mom feel special on Mother’s Day is a tradition that has been taking place for many years and Indiana Restaurant Association (IRA) members have taken the initiative to create special menus that will appeal to anyone who is looking to make Mom feel special on Mother’s Day weekend May 9-10, 2009 without breaking the bank.

The National Restaurant Association research shows that Mother’s Day is the single most popular day of the year to dine out, with nearly four out of 10 Americans (38 percent) doing so up from 30 percent in 1996.

Restaurants are taking extra steps in today’s economic conditions to provide Mothers with more value for their money. Here’s a sample of what just a few restaurants are dishing up for Mother’s Day Weekend:

  • Kelties Restaurant provides hands on training for families with children who need etiquette lessons. There will be Brunch with delectables such as egg dishes, fresh seasonal fruits, and homemade pastries desserts with our signature chicken strudel, fresh fish and beef tenderloin. A dinner buffet will be served with specialties such as shrimp scampi, blackened salmon, beef tenderloin and so much more.

  • Propylaeum has a vintage atmosphere and will provide a Brunch Buffet for $30.00 or $18.00 for children between 6 and 12. This extravagant buffet will included carved meats, salads and entrees, with appropriate side dishes and a dessert buffet.

  • Scotty’s Brewhouse will offer a free dessert for every mom and kids 12 and under eat free.

    “We wanted to give something special to Mom’s, so not only are we giving a free dessert to every Mom; but, we have “sweetened” the deal by also giving a free scratch off lottery ticket,” said Scott Wise, President/CEO of Scotty’s Brewhouse. “We felt, with 5 restaurants and the hundreds of moms we will see, our chances of making a few lucky families leave with a full tummy and full pocket of cash, would be a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day.”

    The Association’s Holiday Dining survey indicates that dining out on Mother’s Day is more common among larger households. Almost half (44 percent) of adults, in household consisting of three or more individuals, ate a Mothers Day meal at a restaurant last year, compared to about one-quarter (24 percent) of one person households.

    Not only are restaurants providing special meals, hotels are also helping consumers save big on Mother’s day by providing affordable spa treatments and room specials.

  • West Baden Springs Hotel is offering a Mother's Day Hotel Package starting at $349, which includes an inclusive of a manicure, pedicure and breakfast in bed. Customers will get to enjoy luxuriously appointed rooms and rejuvenate in world-class spas.
  • French Lick Springs Hotel will offer a Mother's Day Hotel Package starting at $99. It includes an overnight stay and a deluxe continental breakfast for two the next morning.

    To see the full list of restaurant specials visit

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    The Indiana Restaurant Association (IRA) is a full-service membership association with more than 1,600 member restaurant properties and industry-related services companies. IRA provides member companies the best government and public relations program, member benefits, education, and information services. Member companies can be found online at

    Monday, May 4, 2009

    Local Indiana Resource for Biodegradable Take-Out Containers?

    We recently received this question from a member restaurant and thought we'd share the answer!

    I've spent the entire day researching biodegradable take out containers. Any ideas? Our rep claims there's no call for it "around here". Seems as though .25 each is the goin' rate on the Internet. Anything local? I just can't believe no one else wants them!

    Well, search no more because Indiana Restaurant Association associate member, Acorn Distributors, carries a full line of green biodegradable foodservice products including take-out containers!

    Acorn Distributors
    Jennifer Rosenberg
    5820 Fortune Circle West Drive
    Indianapolis, IN 46241
    Office 317.243.9234 Ext. 2044
    toll free 800.783.2446
    cell 317.339.3618
    jrosenberg at acorndistributors dot com

    Sales Manager
    Dan Bellman
    317.243.9234 Ext. 2039
    dbellman at acorndistributors dot com

    Tuesday, March 31, 2009

    Alcohol Tax Increase AND Hospitality Taxes Proposed to Fund CIB Operations

    An increase in hospitality taxes is now a real threat.

    This Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee will be considering an amendment to HB 1604 which increases the excise tax on Alcohol by 100%, the food and beverage tax .25% and the innkeeper's tax 1% to help fund the Marion County Capital Improvement Board shortfall caused by the Pacers, Colts and Convention Center operating losses.

    In and effort to gain support for the idea, the anticipated $42 million increase in alcohol taxes would be distributed statewide to cities and towns throughout Indiana on a population basis for economic development initiatives. Only Indianapolis' portion ($8 million annually) of this increase would go to the Marion County Capital Improvement Board.

    Not only would this give Central Indiana the highest combined hospitality tax rate in the country, the increase in the alcohol tax would come at a time when the casual and fine dining segment are already struggling.

    Any new funding for the CIB would have to be authorized by the Indiana General Assembly before they adjourn on April 29th. We only have a few days left to let our legislators know how we feel about this issue.

    Please use our legislative action center at to contact your legislator to let them know how you feel. A typed or handwritten letter on your letterhead in your own words would be even better. Remember that you can contact your Senator and Representative where you live and where your business is located.

    Ask your employees, suppliers, friends and customers to support your business by doing the same thing.

    This is a true emergency. Please get started today - before it is too late.


    John Livengood

    Click here for a list of legislators and their hometown numbers.

    Click here to find your legislator.

    Friday, March 6, 2009

    Upcoming Hoosier Hospitality Conference Boasts New Topics and National Speakers

    Over 500 restaurateurs, hoteliers and tourism professionals will be “Creating Hoosier Hysteria in Hospitality” at the 2009 Hoosier Hospitality Conference (HHC) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Historic Union Station in Indianapolis on March 24 and March 25. This year's conference boasts exciting national speakers and hot new topics that are affecting the restaurant and hospitality industry today.

    With more than 25 industry-focused educational sessions that focus on marketing, sustainability, technology, trends, and government relations, we can proudly say that HHC is Indiana's only all industry educational and networking conference for hospitality leaders.

    During HHC 2009, special guests and industry experts will ignite excitement into the restaurant and hospitality industry. National speakers Chris Moyer, from the National Restaurant Association, and Costas Christ, from National Geographic Adventure, will give attendees the necessary knowledge to keep current with industry trends.

    Other guest speakers will present topics such blogging, branding, marketing and technology. A silent auction will take place that will benefit the Association of Indiana Convention and Visitors Bureau scholarship program, and the Indiana Hospitality & Tourism Foundation to prepare high school students who want to enter the restaurant and hospitality industry.

    HHC is brought to you by the Indiana Restaurant Association (IRA), the Indiana Hotel & Lodging Association (IHLA), the Association of Indiana Convention and Visitors Bureau (AICVB), and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD).

    View the full list of speakers, session information and register online at


    Friday, February 27, 2009

    HB 1207

    The Indiana Restaurant Association is opposed to HB 1207 but we are not opposed to providing nutritional information to restaurant customers. We support federal legislation know as the LEAN Act that would provide a uniform set of rules nationwide. Most of our members that would be affected by HB 1207 are national companies or small businesses affiliated with a national brand and they need to have the same requirements for all of the states in which they do business. The LEAN Act would cover more Indiana restaurants than HB 1207, provide more flexibility in how the information is delivered, and give small businesses protection against frivolous lawsuits. We hope the Senate will not move HB 1207 forward but will instead support our efforts to pass federal legislation that achieves the same end.

    John Livengood
    Indiana Restaurant Association

    Monday, January 19, 2009

    Devour Downtown Focus on Channel 13

    McCormick & Schmick's own Scotty Kennedy talks to Channel 13 about the Indianapolis Downtown Restaurant & Hospitality Association's exciting event Devour Downtown Winterfest taking place January 19-31, 2009!