By Abigail A. Lorden, Editor-in-Chief - 09/26/2011
As the lines between marketing and technology departments continue to blur, there’s another department that will increasing rely on input from the technology brain trust to do its job: legal. A bevy of legislative issues are cropping up all over the hospitality landscape, some new and some old; but in many cases, compliance with legislative initiatives will require heavy lifting from the technology department.
For more than a year, restaurants have been watching developments associated with the FDA’s national menu labeling requirements. The public comment period for shaping the specific requirements ended in July and final regulations from the FDA are forthcoming. Concerns from restaurant groups include the timeline for compliance, costs incurred by restaurants (especially for smaller chains), and the need for flexibility. What is clear is that inventory management technology, along with digital display tools (both big boards and small handhelds), can play a major role in becoming compliant.
Meanwhile, the Department of Labor has released an application to help hourly workers keep track of wages (more on page 30). The language from the DOL is aimed squarely at helping ensure that hourly employees are accurately compensated by their employers. Given the number of hourly workers on your payroll, I strongly encourage hotels and restaurants to use labor management tools to maintain accuracy in their records.
And then there’s your Web site, which is under the watchful eye of the Feds for its compliance with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Act requires that private entities operating public accommodations (i.e. hotels) provide a Web site that in itself is fully accessible to disabled patrons (e.g. compatible with assistive technology programs for the visually impaired), and that the Web site provides information regarding the accessibility of the brick-and-mortar building itself.
HT will continue to put the spotlight on how technology can help hotels and restaurants comply with legislation. In the meantime, it’s time for IT and legal to do lunch.
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