Denny’s moves forward with refranchising plan

Denny’s came close to completing a refranchising program with the sale last year of 105 locations to franchisees, including a nine-unit deal that closed in the fourth quarter. The company’s 1,703 restaurants booked a 1.7% same-store sales increase in the fourth quarter. Read the Nation’s Restaurant News story here

Posted in News |
Hotel development pipeline remains robust

The hotel development pipeline remains strong, according to data from Marcus and Millichap. There are more than 1,500 hotels under construction scheduled to complete through 2023, and these projects are expected to account for 200,200 rooms. Read the National Real Estate Investor online story here

Posted in News |
Top South Korea chain chooses Seattle for 2nd US hotel

Korea’s largest hotel chain, Lotte Hotels & Resorts, said it plans to debut its second U.S. hotel—the Lotte Hotel Seattle—in June. Read the TravelPulse story here

Posted in News |
Franchisee files for Chapter 11 protection; Sonic to buy 73 units

Facing deepening cash-flow problems and faced with the potential closure of all of its restaurants, an operator of 73 Sonic Drive-In restaurants filed for federal bankruptcy protection. Read the Restaurant Business online story here

Posted in News |
What to Know for Workers’ Compensation Audit

An insurance company’s audits are a way of verifying the policy’s payroll data and job classifications are on target. This information is required to ensure that the insurance company is getting the appropriate premium for your business.

Although most people run and hide when they hear the word “audit”, this is simply the insurance company doing its due diligence by verifying payroll, making sure they have the correct job classifications, and making sure that each classification has the correct payroll assigned to it. For instance, if you use sub-contractors on a job, the insurance company will verify that these sub-contractors have workers’ compensation coverage. If they do not, it is added to your workers’ compensation, because the law requires you to provide them with workers’ compensation. Problems arise when companies are ill-prepared for the audit.

Make sure you have a really good grasp on all the key information prior to the Auditor arriving. Here are some of the key areas you should pay particular attention to:

The Payroll Audit: No overcharges. No errors.

Workers’ compensation costs are likely 20-40% of your overall insurance costs. When your insurance policy first goes into effect, your premium is based on assigned classifications, estimated payrolls (referred to as remuneration) and an experience modification factor.   At your policy’s expiration, the insurance company conducts a payroll audit and converts estimated payrolls into actual payrolls. It then assigns these payrolls to a classification. To simplify the audit process, it is designed that all mistakes or missing information default in favor of the insurance company. When jobs are misclassified, it can be a nightmare.   But this can be avoided.  Here’s an example.

A large construction company was experiencing high insurance premiums and experience mod trending in the wrong direction. The culprit was a lack of job descriptions and clarifications, which resulted in lump sum payrolls being assigned to the highest rated code on the policy. Once detailed job descriptions and separation of duties were established, it allowed all employees on the payroll to be assigned appropriate class codes. As a result, the insured annualized premium dropped approximately $18,000. Along with the premium savings, the increasing experience mod stabilized.

By preparing a complete and thorough audit package when your policy starts, you guarantee an accurate, mistake-free, time- and money-saving audit. Remember, the chance you’ll win the lottery is about 1 in 121 million–which are the same odds of you having a successful insurance audit if you’re not prepared. You want a perfect audit just as you want a perfect income tax filing.

Steps to Take in Getting Ready for the Auditor

  • Schedule the audit for after lunch, late in the afternoon, and preferably on a Friday.
  • Treat the Auditor as a welcome guest and provide him or her with a quiet, well-lit space in which to work.
  • Assign a knowledgeable, friendly staff member to work with Auditor, and escort the Auditor on a tour of your location if requested.
  • Answer the Auditor’s specific questions, but don’t offer additional information. A written “basic” description of your business or operations is a valuable tool for limiting the scope and number of questions asked.
  • Do not guess at an answer. Telling the Auditor you will send additional info as needed is the proper response when you don’t know the answer. Do not guess at any answer.

Preparing Records for the Auditor

  • Having a prepared summary showing the total payroll, summarized by class code, is the best way to achieve positive audit results.
  • Subtract excluded remuneration: (officers’ exemptions, overtime, rewards for invention or discovery, severance, etc.).
  • Verify your math is accurate and balanced to payroll records and to your prepared summary sheet.
  • Review Certificates of Insurance from sub-contractors separating labor and hard costs of supplies which should not be included for workers’ compensation.
  • Copy and secure Certificates of Insurance for all subcontractors being sure their policy dates cover the period they worked for you. Hand package to the Auditor with workers’ compensation on top, your actual payroll report/run next; then your quarterly payroll reports; sub and sub-cert information.
  • Ask the Auditor to leave you a copy of his/her audit worksheet so you have it on hand to refer to if questions arise. This is a necessity; you need a copy.
  • Ask the Auditor to explain their results/summary before they leave after the audit
    Get a copy of the Final Audit Billing
    B. Verify deposit premiums and applicable credits, discounts, use of correct experience mod
    C. If billing matches summary page, close case; if not, review Auditor’s worksheet for any discrepancies.
    D. Negotiate to close

According to the Institute of WorkComp Professionals, 75% of workers’ compensation audits are wrong. Don’t let yours fall into the “wrong” pile. You don’t have to be a Boy Scout to Be Prepared.

James Morgan began his career in the insurance business in 2006. He is Senior Vice President as well as a Certified WorkComp Advisor and Master WorkComp Advisor with Towne Insurance Agency. James’ extensive knowledge in workers’ compensation has enabled him to provide valuable assistance to his clients in many different areas including: uncovering errors, recovering overcharges, analyzing and verifying experience mods, hiring practices, safety programs, compliance issues, and managing injuries. He can be reached at


Posted in Vendor News |
New STEM Academy for High School Students

Due to the increasing demand of jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, Corona Norco Unified School District in Eastvale, CA decided it was time to start producing more STEM graduates from its district.

To achieve this goal, a new 107,000 square foot academy was built as part of the Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Eastvale, CA. The new two-building school has 18 classrooms and 13 labs for robotics, 3D printing, manufacturing, health science, medical technology and other areas. It also includes a student resource center, a research lounge, a covered outdoor lunch area and a 600-seat amphitheater. The eSTEM Academy gives ~1,000 students the opportunity to specialize in two career paths, including Medical Science and Engineering & Design.

As part of the new construction, over 35,000 sq ft of Laminators Incorporated Omega-Lite®ACM panels in Bright Silver Metallic, Coppertone Metallic and Brilliant Orange were installed using Laminators’ proprietary Dry Seal installation system.

The vivid PVDF/Kynar 500® colors add new dimension and colorfully dress the exterior of this great design. The specialty Brilliant Orange color flows perfectly with the school’s colors of orange and blue.

The Dry Seal installation is ideal for installing Omega-Lite® ACM panels and creating a high-performance, pressure-equalized wall system that compartmentalizes the air cavity and allows for drainage and ventilation. This system reduces moisture-related issues within the wall cavity.

Omega-Lite ACM panels offer a highly decorative, strong, and durable surface finish for exterior wall surfaces. Composed of a polypropylene, light-weight corrugated core between two finished aluminum sheets, these panels are non-absorbent, water-resistant and easy to maintain.

 Omega-Lite installed with the Dry Seal system passed the AAMA 508 testing standards (Voluntary Test and Classification Method for Pressure Equalized Rain Screen Wall Cladding Systems); as well as met NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 285, Miami-Dade County Product Control and Florida Product Approval requirements. Laminators Inc. manufactures high quality ACM panels that meet these stringent performance levels and provide design professionals and building owners the confidence that their cladding will withstand the most extreme conditions.

General contractor Neff Construction, Ontario, CA oversaw the new construction, including working with LPA Inc., a sustainable design architecture firm based out of Irvine, CA.


About Laminators Incorporated

Laminators Incorporated, a leading manufacturer for over 50 years, offers a complete line of composite panels for the commercial construction and sign making industries in the United States and Canada.  Laminators’ lightweight systems are exceptionally strong and durable, and provide various application solutions making the panels quick and easy for users to fabricate and install.  Laminators Incorporated is committed to providing value through high quality products, innovative application solutions and superior customer service.

Posted in Vendor News |
Greg Kasten New Hire to Lead IBS Millwork

USA Millwork  announced it has hired Greg Kasten, a recognized industry leader, to head operations in the mid-Atlantic region, as the General Manager of Manassas-based IBS Millwork, a USA Millwork company.

“We are honored that Greg has chosen to join our team,” said Patrick Dickinson, CEO of USA Millwork. “Greg’s thirty-plus years in the industry and deep knowledge brings us additional strength in the growing mid-Atlantic market. He will assume immediate leadership of the operation, as well as being a key member of the USA Millwork leadership team. Lastly brings an added dimension to our product offering with his deep experience in hospitality, having helped lead some of the nation’s most recognized casinos and hotels”

Greg Kasten was with Mortenson Woodwork in Atlanta for over 30 years, working in virtually every aspect of the business, serving as President for the last 20 years. “When I learned about USA Millwork’s growth plans for the industry, I felt like it was an opportunity to leverage my experience on a broader platform”, said Mr. Kasten. “USA Millwork has national capacity and tremendous resources to serve contractors and owners across the country. I’m excited to share Patrick’s vision. It is something unique in millwork. We are building a best-in-class company with a national footprint.”

Mr. Kasten graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.S in Wood Technology, and a minor in Industrial Engineering. He has spent his entire career in the woodwork industry, with such notable projects as Exxon Headquarters, George W. Bush Presidential Library, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, St. Regis Hotel, MGM National Harbor, Hard Rock Casinos and multiple law firms, corporate headquarters and judicial projects to his credit.

About USA Millwork

USA Millwork was founded in 2017 with the purchase of four regional leaders in millwork and case goods. The consolidated company provides planning-to-completion services for complex, large-scale projects across the country in a variety of building projects including corporate, healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, government, retail and multi-family. The USA Millwork portfolio includes Cabinets by Design (Georgia), Freelance Millwork (Colorado), IBS Millwork (Virginia), Mission Bell (California) and O’Keefe Millwork (Wisconsin). Visit

Posted in Vendor News |
Love Your Pet Day, Bring Your Pet To The Office

February is all about love, and not only on Valentine’s day. The 20th of February is National Love Your Pet Day. This day is an excellent opportunity to show your attention to your lovely pet.

To make it really special, don’t postpone your attention for the evening. Bring your pet to the office and enjoy the Love Your Pet Day all day long. And here’s everything you need to know before bringing your pet to the office.

Pet In The Office And You

Anyone who has a pet knows how good it feels to get back home to it. You step through the door and feel instant relief. That’s because pets have the ability to reduce your stress. And if you bring your pet to the office, your workday can become less stressful and, therefore – more productive.

Arnas Stuopelis, Chairman of the Board of hosting providerHostinger, says: “Nowadays people can be really harsh on themselves. Even though they are doing a great job, they tend to consider, whether they are good enough. The interesting thing is that the presence of their pets in the office boosts their self-esteem and performance. Stress is going down, and confidence is rising.”

Pet In The Office And Colleagues

Even if the pet is yours, the joy spreads all over the place to everyone. Your pet can become a conversation starter and bring you closer to your colleagues. Time writes: “Dogs in the workplace provide more social support for employees, as well as more opportunities for coworkers to interact in a positive setting.” Small talk is rarely useful, but the conversation about pets can be truly genuine, building deep connections.

Pet In The Office And Customers

If your workplace is open for the customers, keep in mind that a pet can make the business look cozier. The Balance Careers comments on this: “Allowing pets in the office can boost a customer’s perception of the business. It can help them to relax and enjoy their visit. It also tends to soften the company’s image and makes a business seem more progressive and forward-thinking.”

But First, Some Rules

Bringing your pet to the office can be beneficial on many levels. But before the visit, make sure that you, your colleagues, and space are prepared:

  • Check-in with the colleagues

Don’t take it for granted that everyone loves pets. People might have allergies, phobias, or other reasons why they don’t want animals in the workplace.

  • Check out the place

Evaluate the size and type of your pet and look around the office for possible threats. Look out for places where it’s possible to fall-in or get stuck. Look for wires and other chewable things.

  • Dedicate pet-free zones

Even though your colleagues agreed on the pet in the office, respect their right for uninterrupted work. To give people space to concentrate without distractions, dedicate pet-free zones.

  • A sick pet should stay at home

You love your pet no matter what. But your colleagues shouldn’t be forced to deal with a sick pet. It can frustrate them. And if they have their pets back home, there is a risk of transferring the disease. So, if your pet is sick, pass on the idea to bring it to the office.

  • Supervise your pet

People can be willing to play with your pet, but that doesn’t mean that you can relax and forget your pet for a while. You are responsible for both: your pet and office-space well-being. So supervise your pet throughout the day.

  • Clean up after your pet

A new place full of unknown people can be stressful for your pet. And that stress can reveal itself in the form of unpredictable defecation. Be prepared for it, and clean it as soon as possible, so your colleagues or clients shouldn’t deal with that.

You have just enough time to get ready for the upcoming celebration. Talk with your colleagues, pet-proof your office, decide on pet-free zones. And bring your lovely pet to the office to celebrate this Love Your Pet Day all day long.

Posted in Vendor News |

The forebearer of TM (DWS) complete line of  tactile warning products ADA compliant for visually impaired or handicapped pedestrians original RediMatTM, is applied on both asphalt and concrete.

Now a part of the proprietary product family of Inc constructed of extremely durable, the is surface UV protected, glass-filled polyurethane and Mar-Bal. (Mar-Bal: Chagrin Falls, OH), DWS has advanced the innovative, flexible RediMat’s proprietary pre-applied adhesive system, that delivers some of the industries’ quickest installation (less than 10 minutes) and drastically reduces labor time and expense–but not at the expense of durability.

Paving-focused contractors, distributors, states, and municipalities system Transport, Retail, Universities/Education, etc.

Advanced Property / Installation Profile: will benefit from the multi-surface adhesive Health Care-Disability, Rail-across a myriad of markets and applications including: Parking Structures, RediMatTM.

TM (DWS) complete construction and safety portfolio, RediMat’s proprietary formula is a flexible, UV treated composite comprised of the following specifications:

Complimenting Detectable Warning Systems

Dome Spacing: 2.35” Inline

Compressive Strength: 30,000 psi
Taber Abrasion: (1000gms/1000 cycles) 150mgs

Slip Resistance: .90
Sizes From: 2’ x 3’ to 3’ x 5’ and 10’ radius wedge Hardness: 90 (Shore A)

Notably, RediMat’s flexible polyurethane material conforms to uneven surfaces, and is unbreakable–it will not chip, crack, or splinter. Engineered construction also features a beveled edge for easy pedestrian access.

Radius tile is available in a “wedge” shape ideal for rounded intersections requiring a radius system. Directional mats are also available and popular for applications along bike paths and train stations–directing pedestrians to the train itself. Available colors (integral throughout) include: Safety Yellow, Brick Red, Black, and Gray.


Engineered for both concrete and asphalt, RediMat offers the easiest installation of any surface applied detectable warning in the industry via their proprietary pre-applied “peel-and-stick” adhesive system. Simply remove the protective backing, peel-and-stick, then roll the mat to ensure a secure bond.

From start-to-finish, this installation typically takes less than 10 minutes–saving costly man hours.

RediMatTM Advancements / Conclusion:

In early 2020, Mar-Bal, Inc. will introduce an enhanced RediMat
product to the market. The new RediMat will incorporate a mesh reinforcement providing even more durability. Combining its’ current flexibility with the improved durability make RediMat an excellent choice for use in high pedestrian traffic applications, harsh climates, and challenging installations.

Anthony Lignetta, Mar-Bal’s Director, Propriety Products, also referenced some of RediMat’s more prominent clients stating, “We’ve done essential installations for key clients including Disney, Apple and numerous transit operations including the New York City Transit and Amtrak locations”.

Known as ‘The One-Source Solutions Provider’, privately held Mar-Bal has three state-of-the-art U.S. manufacturing plants in Ohio, Virginia, and Missouri– producing everything entirely turn-key. The economical DWS products also feature ease-of-installation, consistent delivery, and unparalleled customer service.

both composite and flexible materials for either cast-in-place or surface applied applications

including the following brands:

RediMatTM / AlertCast® / AlertTile® / Cast IronTM

For more information on Mar-Bal’s line of DWS products please visit:

Corporate Profile: Detectable Warning Systems is part of the Mar-Bal, Inc. proprietary family of products. Headquartered in Chagrin Falls, OH, Mar-Bal, Inc. has been an innovative leader in the custom composite, molding and material manufacturing industry since its founding in 1970. For over four decades Mar-Bal, Inc. has manufactured and engineered quality, customized parts and materials while delivering unmatched client cost-effectiveness through superior customer service and the Total Value Commitment. Mar-Bal, Inc. operates manufacturing facilities in Ohio, Virginia and Missouri.

Posted in New Products |
Arriscraft modern SAWN finish for thin stone products

Arriscraft, manufacturer of naturally-made products that emulate quarried stone, announced today a new Sawn finish available in its Thin Building Stone products, including Coastal, Midtown and Stack. Arriscraft is the stone products group of General Shale, the North American subsidiary of Wienerberger AG and a leading manufacturer of brick, one of the world’s oldest green building materials.

“We’re very excited to offer the new Sawn finish, which is a smoother, sleeker alternative to our traditional split-face finish,” says Marta Zonneveld, Marketing Manager. “Demand for our thin-clad products continues to grow throughout North America and this new finish is an inspiring option for modern residential and commercial designs that favor straight lines.”

The Sawn finish is currently available on Arriscraft’s Georgia thin building stone products (all of which are also available in Canada). This unique finish will enhance the clean aesthetic of a coursed installation, available for Midtown thin stone, in which one stone size is laid continuously for a contemporary look. And, this simplified finish will transform the traditional ledgestone look of Stack (ashlar pattern) and Coastal Series (ashlar pattern with a mortar joint). All Arriscraft thin building stone products are well-suited for interior applications as well, and the Sawn finish is perfect for modern spaces – both residential and commercial.

 Thin Building Stone Sizes and Colors:

Coastal Series – 2-1/8″, 3-5/8″ and 6-1/8″ face rises; lengths 4″ – 23-5/8″, five standard colors.

Midtown – 2-1/8″, 3-5/8″ and 5-7/8″ face rises; lengths 4″ – 23-5/8″, five standard colors.

Stack – 2-1/8″, 3-5/8″ and 5-7/8″ face rises; lengths 4″ – 23-5/8″, eight standard colors.

*Corner units are available for all products to create a full-bed look.

Arriscraft’s Natural Process technology uses only natural materials (plus color pigments) and replicates how stone is created in the earth. This proprietary process creates stone with the natural aesthetics and durability of quarried stone, plus the convenience of standard installation and unlimited supply.


Arriscraft manufactures a vast range of premium stone for commercial and residential projects, including full-bed Renaissance® Masonry Units and Building Stone, Thin-Clad adhered and clipped veneers, Adair® Limestone, and cast accessories. Designers can select from a truly comprehensive line of styles – from old-world to contemporary – in natural colors, with custom applications available.

Headquartered in Cambridge, Ontario (62 miles/100 km west of Toronto), Arriscraft is the stone products group of General Shale, North America’s largest brick, stone and concrete block manufacturer, supplying a wide variety of masonry materials for residential, commercial and specialty architectural projects.

General Shale operates from 14 manufacturing locations, 26 retail stores, and a network of over 200 partnering distributors across the U.S. and Canada. General Shale was founded in 1928 and is headquartered in Johnson City, Tennessee. For more information about General Shale, visit For more information about Arriscraft, visit or contact Arriscraft at 800-265-8123 or send us a request at

Posted in New Products |