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Archive for January, 2015

Malik Diop Takes the Helm of Atlanta Tiki Bar, Trader Vic’s

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Malik Diop HeadshotTrader Vic’s, an Atlanta tiki bar and purveyor of Polynesian cuisine, has appointed Malik Diop as its new general manager. Diop, who boasts 18 years of experience in hotel and resort restaurant management, will be responsible for all aspects of Trader Vic’s operation, from hiring and developing staff to interacting with guests, overseeing inventory and meeting the restaurant’s financial goals.

Diop comes to Trader Vic’s from Chateau Elan, where he served as manager of the 3,500-acre resort’s seven restaurants since 2004, running the gamut from casual Irish pub fare to formal fine dining, as well as its bar and room service. Prior to that, he spent eight years as restaurant supervisor for the J.W. Marriott Buckhead, managing the hotel’s restaurant, bar and coffee shop, in addition to its in-room dining services.

“I am very excited to join the Trader Vic’s team,” Diop said. “This is truly one of Atlanta’s most iconic dining and nightlife destinations, and I feel a great responsibility not only to maintain its successful reputation, but also to help it grow and thrive.”




39th Annual Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Supply Show

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

January 27-29, 2015, Myrtle Beach Convention Center, Myrtle Beach, SC. For more information, visit Hotel, Motel & Restaurant Supply Show of the Southeast 


International Production & Processing Expo

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

January 27-29, 2015, Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Ga. For more information, visit International Production & Processing Expo


2015 Tourism, Hospitality & Arts Day at the Capitol

Monday, January 26th, 2015

January 26-27, 2015, Georgia State Capitol, Atlanta. For more information, visit Georgia Restaurant Association 


Team Hidi 3.0 – The Giving Kitchen Benefit

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

January 25, 2015, Georgia Room at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot, Atlanta. For more information, visit The Giving Kitchen.


Can Your Business Survive a Data Breach?

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

By John C. Stivarius, Jr.

From Restaurant INFORMER, 2014, Vol. 4, Issue 4

oncept For Loss Of Personal DataRecently in the news are accounts of various businesses who have been victimized by a security breach allowing intruders/hackers access to credit card information. Jimmy John’s had a potential security breach involving customers’ credit and debit card data at 216 of its stores and franchised locations. The breach allegedly was caused by an intruder who obtained the log-in information from a vendor then remotely accessed the point-of-sale systems. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro was victimized by an intruder who stole the credit and debit card information of customers for nearly eight months. These are just a few of the many examples of data breaches which seem to permeate the news.

Is your business taking affirmative steps to reduce the likelihood of a cyber attack?  There are essentially two types of attacks. One involves the point-of-sale at the location, wherein the theft occurs from locally held stored information. The other happens through the internet stored information at host locations.  The most pertinent question to any business is “Do you know where you currently stand?” You also need to be thinking about:

  • How capable is the business in the protection of the data?
  • When is the last time the data was cleaned of extraneous metadata, eliminating IP addresses, email addresses and the like?

When customers allow for their data to be stored, they will expect that the business is taking all measures and steps to protect this data. If the information is stolen, the customer will most certainly look to the business for blame. Once this happens, the business reputation and credibility is at stake, trust is reduced or eliminated and potential liability soars. It matters not that your business is a Fortune 100 company or a smaller operation.

Below is a list of some of the steps a business may take to reduce the exposure to a cyber-hacker. The list is not an exhaustive list, but suggestions to undertake.

  • Always store the data of the customer in an encrypted database. This makes use of the data much more difficult for the hacker to use it if acquired.
  • Avoid using a singular password to access any database storing customer information. Use multiple layers and require that the passwords be changed on a regular basis and frequently.
  • Check to make certain your business is running a malware detection system on the servers and workstations and take steps to ensure the applicable firewalls are up at all times and secure.
  • Clean your information. Review the currently published documents and web pages and eliminate unnecessary metadata, internal names, IP addresses, email addresses and the like. This may discourage a potential attacker since the attacker generally searches for these types of information.
  • Inform and educate everyone in the business, from the top to the bottom, to understand the enormity of keeping the information protected and secure and how to protect it. For example, initiate well-designed procedures and back them up by training and a general culture of strictness in the procedures.
  • Always approach this problem knowing that adjustments must be made. Keep your software, malware and the encryption up-to-date.  Implement some type of security controls and frequent checks.
  • Check your insurance policies to see if the coverage is available for data security breaches.
  • Have your counsel review the hold harmless agreements and make sure the clauses cover data security breaches.
  • Have a disaster plan ready to implement in the event of a data security breach.  These plans will prove very valuable in the event your business is the unfortunate victim of an attack. Document the changes you have made, the security steps you have taken and the updates your business makes.

Document the changes you have made, the security steps you have taken and the updates your business makes.

As much as businesses are attempting to reduce their exposure, hackers are working equally diligently on breaching the security.  The protections are an on-going and living necessity.

Mr. Stivarius heads the Complex Litigation Group at Elarbee Thompson Sapp & Wilson, LLP in Atlanta, Georgia.


Innovator of the Year Award Winner: Kevin Gillespie

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

From Restaurant INFORMER, 2014, Vol. 4, Issue 4

Chef Kevin Gillespie

Chef Kevin Gillespie

For Chef Kevin Gillespie, food has always been a passion.

“I grew up in a household where food was the center of all gatherings. My Granny made breakfast for our whole extended family every day,” he says. “It was something I enjoyed and wanted to be a part of.”

A former Top Chef contestant, Gillespie first won local acclaim as executive chef at Woodfire Grill. In May 2013, Gillespie opened his own restaurant, Gunshow, in the Glenwood Park neighborhood of Atlanta. The restaurant features a unique dining style where Gillespie and his team prepare both refined and rustic dishes and sends them out to the small dining room for guests to choose from. The menu is ever evolving with food that is seasonally rooted, locally focused and unlimited in its stylistic boundaries.

His efforts have not gone unnoticed. Gunshow was named one of GQ Magazine’s “12 Most Outstanding Restaurants,” in February, and Esquire magazine just named it one of its best new restaurants of 2014, just two of many that are recognizing the restaurant as one of the most innovative in the country.

An Atlanta native, Gillespie began his culinary education at the Art Institute of Atlanta. While carrying a full course load at the Art Institute, he worked part time at various restaurants perfecting his craft. After graduating with honors, Gillespie went on to hold several different positions, including chef de partie at Atlanta Grill at The Ritz-Carlton, sous chef at TWO Urban Licks and chef de cuisine at Woodfire Grill.

In August of 2006, Gillespie headed to the West Coast, where he went to work as executive sous chef at Fife Restaurant in Portland, Ore. After a year and a half there, he missed his family and friends in the South and returned to Atlanta. Gillespie came back to Woodfire Grill to continue to work for his friend and teacher Michael Tuohy, eventually getting promoted to executive chef in 2009.

Gillespie is a member of Slow Food Atlanta, Southern Foodways Alliance, Chefs Collaborative, Georgia Organics, Community Farmers Markets Chefs Advisory Board and the Society for the Preservation of Traditional Southern Barbecue.

“In general and to our country, restaurants are a symbol of prosperity and good times. They are a place people go to celebrate life, independences, choices,” he says. “Our industry is a compass that points toward things that are good and make people happy.”



TWO urban licks Debuts New Chef, Look and Space at Midtown Location

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Chef Michael BertozziTWO urban licks recently announced that Michael Bertozzi has been named Executive Chef. Formerly Sous Chef under Chef Todd Stein, Bertozzi hails from kitchens including King & Duke and Central (Montgomery).

Menu offerings will continue to showcase wood-roasted meats and fishes with a touch of heat.

In addition to welcoming Chef Bertozzi, the restaurant has also seen some major changes to its interior space. Gold leaf paint now washes over the main stage kitchen ceiling while new lighting fixtures and hanging décor adorn the walls. The Courtyard features a new “living wall,” a façade of floor-to-ceiling greenery that creates a distinctive focal point. The biggest change to the interior is the new private space, known as The Ballroom, which overlooks the main dining room.

TWO urban licks has been heating up the Atlanta restaurant scene with its “Fiery American Cooking” since its opening in the fall of 2004.



Karen Bremer Elected to Serve on the Board of Directors for the National Restaurant Association

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Karen Bremer Headshot 2015Karen Bremer, executive director of the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA), has been elected to serve on the board of directors for the National Restaurant Association (NRA). The NRA is governed by a volunteer board of directors and led in Washington, D.C. by a president and chief executive officer. On average, the board consists of 90 to 95 directors from across the country who represent every facet of the restaurant industry.

With over 35 years in the hospitality industry, Bremer is a founding member of the GRA and the past president of the GRA Board. She serves on the board of directors for the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB), the DeKalb Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Council of State Restaurant Associations. She also sits on the Industry Advisory Board of Georgia State University’s Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration and is a trustee of the Arby’s Foundation. She has been inducted to Les Dames d’Escoffier International and the International Women’s Forum. Bremer was the former owner of Dailey’s and City Grill restaurants and was a top executive with the Peasant Restaurant Group, starting out as a manager and ultimately being named its president.

Bremer has garnered numerous awards including the ACVB Member of the Year Award in 2002 for her role in founding Downtown Atlanta Restaurant Week. In 2009, Bremer received the Lifetime Achievement GRACE (Georgia Restaurant Association Crystal of Excellence) Award for her outstanding contributions to Georgia’s restaurant industry. Bremer has also been listed as a notable Georgian by Georgia Trend Magazine in 2013, 2014 and 2015.


Tin Lizzy’s Cantina Announces First CEO

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Atlanta-based neighborhood taqueria and bar Tin Lizzy’s Cantina has promoted Tory Bartlett to become the brand’s first chief executive officer (CEO). Bartlett, who has more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, was named the company’s chief operating officer (COO) in December of 2013.

In his new role, Bartlett will spearhead a strategic growth plan designed to expand Tin Lizzy’s reach throughout the Southeast. The company plans to enter into South Carolina with a 2015 opening in Greenville, as well as debuting three more Georgia locations, in Duluth, Augusta and downtown Atlanta. The plan also calls for the company to build five stores a year beginning in 2016, with new locations in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Huntsville, Alabama; Macon, Georgia; and Columbia, South Carolina, with one more still to be announced.

In addition, Bartlett will lead the company’s entry into the franchise market.

Bartlett started out as a dishwasher and cook at Hooters of America, Inc. Twenty years and several roles within the company later, including vice president of franchise operations, he accepted the COO position with Tin Lizzy’s.

Tin Lizzy’s Cantina will open in Duluth on January 27 and is the eighth metro-Atlanta outpost. Located on Sugarloaf Parkway, Tin Lizzy’s is in close proximity to the Arena at Gwinnett Center and Gwinnett Place Mall. The 5, 750-square-foot space features a custom bar and seating for 224 guests, including 72 spots on the outdoor patio.

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