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MAY 30, 2014

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Food Handler Certification Requirements Effective July 1, 2014 


The Illinois Food Handling Regulation Enforcement Act (410 ILCS 625), amended by SB1495 and passed into law on August 27, 2013, establishes Food Handler training requirements in Illinois. Beginning July 1, 2014, if you work in a restaurant in Illinois and prepare, store or serve food, handle food equipment, food utensils, or food-contact surfaces you must have a ANSI accredited Food Handler certificate within 30 days of hire. This includes most restaurant jobs, including servers, chefs, head chefs, head cooks, cooks, bussers, bartenders, dishwashers, hosts and hostesses who handle food and supervisors, such as the general manager or managers. Managers who already have a Food Service Sanitation Manager Certificate do not need a Food Handler certificate. Click here for more information on Food Handler requirements. 


The law does not require employers to pay for an employee's time and expense to take the training and test. The ServSafe Food Handler Certificate belongs to the employee, is transferrable between employers, is valid for three years and is accepted everywhere in Illinois.

Go to and use the discount code EMPLOYEE20 to take the online training in English or Spanish for $12.00. Certificates can be printed upon completion of the 90 minute course.   


Buyer Beware: There are many training programs available online that are not approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health and will not pass an inspection. Use the NRA's ServSafe for your training needs - the industry leader and a trusted partner.  








Beverage Tax

On Tuesday, the beverage tax, HB 397, lost in a vote during the House Revenue Committee meeting. The IRA successfully worked with lawmakers in Springfield to oppose this bill.


Minimum Wage

On Wednesday, a proposed City ordinance was introduced which would increase the minimum wage in Chicago. 


For large employers -- businesses reporting more than $50 million in yearly revenues -- the minimum wage would increase to $12.50 per hour 90 days after passage and to $15.00 per hour one year after passage. Additionally for large employers, the minimum wage would increase annually based on cost of living adjustment increases beginning January 1 following the first anniversary of passage.


For small to mid-size employers -- businesses reporting less than $50 million in yearly revenues -- the minimum wage would increase to $12.00 per hour beginning one year and 90 days after passage, increase to $13.00 per hour two years after passage, $14.00 per hour three years after passage, and $15.00 per hour four years after passage. Additionally, the minimum wage would increase annually based on cost of living adjustment increases beginning on January 1 following the fourth anniversary of passage.


For large, small, and mid-size employers, tipped employees would receive 70% of the established wage rate.    


The IRA remains vigilant on the minimum wage issue.  Mayor Emanuel has established a Minimum Wage Working Group to research and make recommendations on the minimum wage issue. IRA President & CEO Sam Toia, along with Aldermen Will Burns and Carrie Austin, SEIU's Matt Brandon, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce CEO Theresa Mintle, and Tanya Triche, vice president and general counsel of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, are members of the committee.


BACP Offers Free Business Workshops 

The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection continues to offer free workshops every Wednesday and Friday at City Hall in Room 805. They are open to the  public and cover a variety of topics. If you are looking to start or grow your business, do not miss this great resource. Click here for the June schedule.






Meet the Chairman with Ken Raskin




Please join us for our next industry event, 'Meet the Chairman', sponsored by Heil & Kay Insurance, SimplexGrinnell, and Society Insurance.  


The event is Tuesday, June 17, from 8:00 - 9:30am at Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen, 1141 S. Jefferson.  Email for more details.



White Castle Celebrates 

National Hamburger Month


On Thursday, IRA member White Castle at Addison, Kedzie & Elston hosted Eric Fine, Director of Sales & Marketing (pictured above), for a National Hamburger Month Promotion. Regional Vice President, Michael Guinan, and store General Manager, Manny Thakkar, trained Eric and his son, Asher, on how to produce 30 sliders in 4 minutes and 30 seconds. For more information on the iconic White Castle brand and its National Hamburger Month click here


Ride 2 Recovery

You are invited to join UnitedHealthcare for Ride 2 Recovery: Honor Ride Chicago on Sunday, June 8 at 8:00am at the Evanston Subaru of Skokie! The Ride 2 Recovery Mission is to improve the health and wellness of healing heroes worldwide by providing a life changing experience that can impact their lives forever.  


Click here to register and for more information.  






Kendall College Tuition Partnership




The Illinois Restaurant Association is pleased to announce a partnership with Kendall College. As a result of this venture, Kendall College will extend a 20% tuition reduction for IRA members statewide on degree programs in business, culinary arts and hospitality. Employees and families of IRA members will also be eligible to benefit from this support in their pursuit or completion of a degree in several disciplines.


For more information please visit  






Have Summer Hiring Needs? Hire Trained ProStart® Culinary Students! 

Students study a two year culinary arts and hospitality management curriculum in high school. Hire a trained student workforce that want a career in the industry. Many have ServSafe Sanitation certification. You will also be helping students gain valuable on-the-job training needed to earn National ProStart Certification. To learn more, please contact Kathy Summers (312) 380-4147 or  Thank you for your support!

Help our Future Industry Leaders! Support College Scholarships for Culinary and Hospitality Students 

The IRA Educational Foundation awards scholarships to culinary and hospitality management students pursuing college degrees and certifications in the restaurant industry. The Foundation offers matching funds for every contribution to ensure that the scholarships are widely available to students. To make a donation to the IRAEF scholarship fund please contact Kathy Summers at (312) 380-4147 or





Food GeniusJohnny O'Hagan's, Loquacious Catering


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33 W. Monroe St., Ste. 250 | Chicago, IL 60603


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