May 2010
Business Meal Tax Deductions
Prior to 1993, the Federal Tax deduction rate for business meals was set at a reasonable 80% of the total cost. Since then, the rate has been set at a lowly 50%, creating a vast distinction between all other business expenses which are set at 100%. Many small business owners and restaurateurs see this disparity as a cause for complaint.  
The National Restaurant Association in conjunction with many members of Congress, have been lobbying to have the percentage restored to its original rate of 80% which would help ease the pockets for many who utilize dining as a critical means for conducting business. Representatives Shelly Berkeley of Nevada and Daniel Inouye from Hawaii, have been leading the legislation within the Senate floor to allow for the original rate to be reinstated. 
 In addition to the already long list of positive outcomes associated with increasing the Business Meal Tax Deduction rate, the most prominent being the generation of $18 billion for the economy and an almost $6 billion in business meal sales, according to the National Restaurant Association. "Increasing the business-meal deduction is critical to small and independent business, especially in foodservice, travel, tourism, and entertainment...It would also immediately help stimulate the economy." states David Koenig, the Association's Tax and Profitability Director.
The National Restaurant Association urges restaurateurs and small business owners to voice their opinion on the Business Meal Tax Deduction, and support the bill which would once again increase the meal deduction to 80%, and help to stimulate the economy and generate more business for the restaurant industry.
Vine Restaurant Spotlight; 
                                   Locanda Del Lago
Commonly regarded as one of the pioneers for introducing Las Angeles to the passionate culinary flavors of the Bellagio region of Northern Italy, Locanda Del Lago pride themselves with creating unique Italian food with a flare. Utilizing fresh ingredients available at the local Santa Monica Farmers Market, Chef Roberto Maggioni is notorious for marrying local flavors with recipes steeped in true Italian and Spanish Tradition. As Owner West Hooker states, "Our menus are rooted in the authentic quality cuisine of Lombardy...the best specialties of Lake Como and the availability of locally grown LA spices, fruits, and vegetables."
Lago also specializes in producing a multitude of specialty drinks which can be found on their artisan cocktail menu. They feature freshly squeezed pure fruit juices with the combined flavors of top shelf liquors such as Papagayo Rum, 4 Copas Tequila, and Tomato Vodkas. These wonderfully crafted drinks are intended to compliment and enhance the versatile flavors of each meal. 
Embarking upon their 19th year, Locanda maintains their position as one of Santa Monica's favorite places to dine. Meticulous combination of casual and comfortable atmosphere coupled with their creative and authentic menu, Locanda is a destination sure to please. (Directly translated, Locanda means "Inn Of The Lake"). Directly off the Santa Monica Pier with a patio overlooking the sidewalk passersby, Locanda remains steadfast as a go-to spot for locals and tourists alike. 
                                                           Locanda Del Lago
Locanda Del Lago
It's easy being Green
Most everyone has become keenly familiar with the term 'going green' and the impact that it has on the overall welfare of our compromised environment. However, what does this mean in the workplace and what are the implications for abiding by such standards? Aside from the known environmental benefits, are the financial gains businesses are experiencing when adhering to these greener ideals. So much so, that the National Restaurant Association has recently piloted their 'Greener Restaurants Recognition Program'. The program's ideology is to help restaurants practice environmental sustainability while showing them how they can save money in the process. As President and CEO of the NRA Dawn Sweeney states, "We listened to what our members wanted; a flexible, effective and affordable program to help them do the right thing for the planet and for their businesses."
In a recent article in American Express OPEN forum titled, "30 ways to go green in the Office", author Nora Dunn discusses simple everyday guidelines for which to live by. The majority of the changes addressed involve easy solutions which when implemented and practiced consistently, create a significant and vital impact on both the environment and your pocketbook.  And while recycling as well as conserving printing consumption, has long since been regarded as a significant factor in lessening one's carbon footprint, what beyond the obvious can companies do to help better achieve responsible environmental stewardship?  Some of these ideas may surprise you.
According to Nora Dunn of Wise Bread, a personal finance company focusing on helping people reap the most from their money spent, the most significant exertion of office power is consumed by office equipment that is powered off, but still plugged into an outlet which has an active power source. Additionally, eliminating screen savers altogether and choosing the alternative method to set monitors to power off when not in use, can save companies a significant amount of money and in turn,  reduce  your environmental impact. 
Several other options for saving money while "going green" in the workplace include purchasing remanufactured or refurbished ink and toners, using machines which offer 3-1 options such as a printer, fax, and copier all-in-one to reduce the toxic output, and buying items such as food and equipment in bulk to help eliminate the repetitive costs associated with multiple shipping costs and help the planet overall.
The good news? Whether your company is prepared to convert all procedures and practices to align with the 'solutions for sustainability' program by the NRA, or you are only prepared to implement a few of the methods for a greener output, one fact remains true; the positive effects will be felt both in the air and on your bottom line. 
In This Issue
Vine Restaurant Spotlight: Los Angeles
Is Going Green, Going Mainstream?
A checklist for Greener Solutions
Green Checklist  
*Buy recycled paper products
*Use smaller fonts to reduce # of pages printed
*Change printing defaults to 'Draft mode' to use less ink
*Install motion sensors to reduce unnecessary light usage
*Take advantage of natural light when applicable
*Use hand dryers over paper towels
*Use environmentally friendly cleaning products
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Dates to Note:

* Vine Solutions will be closed in observance of the following Holidays:
*Memorial Day: May 31st
*Monday, July 5th (Following the 4th of July)
Karsson Bartlett
Vine Solutions, Inc.