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Count Bobulescu

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  1. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water....... The legislatures in MD, NY, & NE, are all currently considering digital services tax proposals, similar to the French tax that prompted the wine tariffs. AFAIK, NY has a flat rate of 5%, and MD has four bands ranging from 2.5% to 10%. Testimony in MD suggested, that if passed, it would likely face court challenge.
  2. Was going to put this in another forum, but since the Open Table thread is here....... I stumbled across these two unrelated sites recently, and was intrigued by Meitre. It bills itself as an "OpenTable" for restaurants that qualify to serve its diners, not the restaurant's diners... Currently, seems to be primarily LatAm focused, (Born in Uruguay, built in Ca), hints at US ambitions I wouldn't sign an agreement with an outfit that has only a web form contact on its site. I like to see a phone # and physical address. Perhaps some members here, have the elevated dining status that appears necessary to satisfy Meitre requirements? Do tell! https://meitre.com/en Cuboh seems a better deal, at least for its intended purpose. https://www.cuboh.com/ Their common characteristic is that they were both funded by Y Combinator, whatever that means.....
  3. Commentators are speculating that in mid February WTO will issue a ruling against the US for subsidies to Boeing, made in retaliation for EU subsidies to Airbus, and this will give the US cover to withdraw the threat of 100%, and end the 25% wine tariffs. Kinda seems that way with the recent announcement of a tariff postponement until at least the end of the year.
  4. A recent unsigned article by a "blue" in the Harvard Law Review, proposes what the title states, as a counterweight to the Wyoming effect. The 127 number is (I think), just an extreme example that is intended be negotiated lower (if someone to be negotiated with, can be found). I'm posting this because although it initially seemed half a bubble off plumb, it did get accepted by HLR, and is an interesting read. A 20+ minute read. Split DC Into Many States
  5. Thanks, although I'm a little suspicious of both the term "natural wine" and of some of its proponents I wish them well, and will give it a try.
  6. Great suggestion from a small importer at the USTR testimony. Target the scary yellow label, and it's siblings. making-big-name-champagne-the-tariff-target Transcript of the full testimony is on the USTR site. Before you rush to read it, it's 400 paaaages.......
  7. Pretty soon you won't be able to find a Rite-Aid. AFAIK all remaining Rite-Aids are converting to Walgreens shortly.
  8. Quick clarification. When I wrote the post above I had been under the mistaken impression that wine franchise laws were confined to 6-8 mostly southern states. There are in fact 21-22 states with such franchise laws. Here's a background piece on the topic. Wine Franchise Laws
  9. The majority of wine sold at retail from just about everywhere is in the value sector, however you define it. For sure, people won't be happy, but I don't think there'll be a huge outcry. More likely in my view, people will try something different that is tariff free, as the piece said. I find the claims of 100% retail price increases due to 100% tariffs to be exaggerated scaremongering that undermines the credibility of the speaker. Traders everywhere, and not just in the wine trade, often try to use issues such as this to try set new benchmark prices. The consumer should really only have to bear (A) the actual cost of the tariff + (B) the cost to traders of financing the tariff (5% interest?), rather than traders maintaining their percentage margins on artificially high prices, as opposed to the same nominal profit. That way, the consumer doesn't get whacked for an unnecessary additional 20-25% as the numbers below demonstrate. Take Veuve at $50 retail and using approximate 20/25/50 importer/wholesaler/retailer markups that works out to a dockside price of $22, giving the importer $4, wholesaler $7, and retailer $17 per btl. Add 100% tariff = $44 + ($22 x5% tariff financing =$1.1) = $45.1 + $4 +$7+$17 = $73. New price $79.99 discounted to $74.99. The tariff is $22, but the cost of financing it just $1.10. Why do traders need, desire, or expect to take a margin on a government tax? If $4, $7, and $17 were sufficient profit pre tariff, why is something close to that insufficient post tariff? Given that the consumer is on the hook for 100% of the tariff, the only cost to the trade is the $1.10 cost of financing the tariff out of $28 profit. You'll get no disagreement from me that distribution generally, is a cluster, and the specific franchise states, mostly in the south, such as Va, are worst of all. I don't favor tariffs, or seek to minimize their negative effect, but I do take issue with what I view as inaccurate and unwarranted scaremongering. I think too many people fall into the trap of equating a 100% tariff with a 100% retail price increase, when that is not a foregone conclusion.
  10. Here's a rational analysis of the issue from Wine-Searcher. straight-talking-on-wine-tariffs
  11. Read a report on testimony to USTR which said wine tariffs were backed by US big tech, (unsurprising if disappointing), but also backed by US cheesemakers, (very surprising and disappointing). Apparently US cheesemakers, unlike (most) US winemakers support tariffs on imported cheese. Funnily enough, neither alcohol or wine was specifically mentioned in the Federal Register notice, but there is a disclaimer saying that would not preclude them. Federal Register Notice on Wine Tariffs List of testifiers: Wine Hearing Panels
  12. They're expanding online only wine sales from 14 to 19 states. The significance is that they are moving into areas where they don't have any stores, (something Amazon tried on its own and abandoned years ago). They're partnering to fulfil. The range of wines available is less than fifty. Expanding Wine Delivery Also
  13. I too take it cum grano salis. One possible explanation for the review number discrepancy might be that the avenues have more (or a higher percentage) of corporate (if not chain) outlets, that have a bigger footprint, and more walk in foot traffic, that results in many more daily covers.
  14. 25,000 Yelp reviews confirm what I suspect most people on this forum already knew. In Manhattan, street restaurants are, on average, "better" than avenue ones. One thing that puzzled me, with so many fewer avenue restaurants, (1,500 v. 18,000) they appear to be racking up reviews at many times the rate of the street restaurants, or am I missing something? Even allowing that the avenues are busier..... Full disclosure, I have never used Yelp, to find or rate. https://blog.labsbell.com/img/StreetsVsAvenues.pdf
  15. Sure, but it's the corporatisation of commissary kitchens. I guess the intent is to dominate the industry ASAP, like the Uber model. Establish proof of concept first in the US, then internationally. One 10,000sqf warehouse with some communal infrastructure, might have 15 kitchens per, say 100,000 people, equals a lot of warehouses. A 15 kitchen operation might have 10 chain brands and 5 local/ethnics. 40 warehouses/600 kitchens to service metro DC. I doubt you can make the warehouses too big, because of a need to stay local, to avoid long delivery routes. Then market both the individual brands, and the shared warehouse delivery concept, to the local community, again with shared costs, via DoorDash, UberEats etc. I think the concept will work better in suburban than dense urban locations. Currently, they are in LA, SF, and Chicago.
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